I used to think loyalty was pretty simple – you stuck by your friends no matter what. But there has been recurring theme in my life, since childhood, spotlighting the fact that I have no control over someone else’s free will. No matter how much I love someone, I can’t stop their bad choices. (And just to be clear “bad” to me just means ego-based or selfish, not morally wrong.)
I am definitely a proponent of boundaries. Unconditional Love requires strong boundaries in conditional (human) relationships. I think where I got lost on that one is thinking that once people are on a path, they stay there. This just isn’t true. People wander around quite a bit, and some never return to their original course.
Is loyalty about following them down the spiral? Is it about reminding them of who they were or could be? Is it about holding their space in my Tribe until they return? Or is it more fluid than that? What if loyalty was a dynamic force, and not carved in stone? Unconditional Love only flows out, but loyalty requires presence and action, much like respect. Loyalty is a relationship and requires boundaries, like any relationship. Enter accountability.
Accountability requires personal responsibility and awareness. In my experience, once someone chooses an ego-based path, awareness drops off almost immediately, so personal responsibility doesn’t stand a chance. Once they are ego-bound, they become the classic narcissist, totally asleep at the wheel. It doesn’t even matter if I point out exactly where the fork in the road was, they can’t hear it. At that point they only feel judged due to my sudden lack of support. Enter guilt.
I have always felt terrible about those of my Tribe I have lost along the way, even though they were the ones who left me. I have felt betrayed and abandoned, but also guilty, like I should still be there for them. The guilt comes from an old warrior ideal of never leaving a fellow soldier on the battlefield. But they aren’t injured… they chose this new path… we aren’t even on the same battlefield anymore. This is why I need to reexamine my thoughts on loyalty.
Maybe it is simply disrespectful to expect people to remain who they once were. Maybe they were never those people at all, only a projection of my own mind. Maybe it’s okay to let people come and go, not just in my life, but in my Tribe (Inner Circle). Maybe the concept of loyalty has very little use at all, and really only Love matters.
That I can do. I can completely Love someone, and bless them on their path, even if it is in the opposite direction. I don’t feel obligated, in any way, to guide them, or stop them, or wait for their return. I just wish them well, and let them go. Hmmm…
To any of my Tribe who are now on another path: I love you, I wish you well, and I thank you for all the time and adventures we had. In deepest gratitude, I release you to your chosen path. And so it is.