Today, I discuss the virtue of loyalty, what it is, and how to find loyal people.
Table of Contents
- What Is Loyalty?
- How Do You Find Loyal People?
- You Need Loyal Individuals In Your Life
What Is Loyalty?
“If by my life or death I can protect you, I will.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Loyalty is the virtue of remaining committed to an idea, person, or group regardless of the difficulties involved in your commitment. When you are loyal to an idea, you defend it no matter how unpopular the idea is. When you are dedicated to a person, you stand by them even when the mob is on the attack. When you are loyal to a group, you uphold their values.
Loyalty is crucial. Being able to stand by an idea, person, or group ensures the stability of what you are defending. If you crumble at the slightest attack, you cannot protect what is essential. Any barbarian or bully can scare you away without the slightest pushback. Then, they will destroy who or what you value.
Loyalty To Vice Is No Virtue
You are loyal when you are loyal to what is virtuous. Being faithful to what is arbitrary, meaningless, or evil does not make you righteous. It makes you weak.
For example, it is not virtuous to be loyal to a drug addict by funding his addiction or making excuses. You can be devoted to a struggling friend but only by pushing him to be his best self. You are not helping anyone when you support their vices over their virtues and call it “loyalty.”
Remember, virtue is not arbitrary, crass, deviant, or comfortable. If your allegiance promotes any negative attributes within you, then you are not virtuous. Your vices rule you.
How Do You Find Loyal People?
“We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.” – G.K. Chesterton
Loyal individuals will stand with you when the mob attacks or keep you focused on your virtuous goals. Therefore, defense, community, and accountability are the significant benefits of surrounding yourself with honorable people. However, finding these individuals and earning their trust is easier said than done.
Thus, we will discuss how to develop loyalty within yourself before seeking out loyal individuals.
Be Loyal To Your Virtuous Self
You must be loyal to and honest with yourself. Firstly, you have to remain committed to becoming the best version of yourself. This version pursues goals, practices generosity, remains emotionally stable, shuns vice, and creates a sustainable life. These goals are easy, but you must stay loyal to them.
Secondly, you must practice honesty. If you are always lying to yourself or playing the fool, you cannot trust your intentions. Lacking self-trust means you cannot trust others, and they cannot trust you.
How can you commit to your virtuous self? Understand and practice the 13 virtues. Accept your fallibility as a human but never excuse it. Seek comforts when appropriate and when they’ve been earned. Remove yourself from what drains your vitality and purpose.
Show Loyalty To An Idea
“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” – Confucius
Once you are loyal to yourself, you must commit to an idea. An idea includes a belief system such as individualism or an economic system such as capitalism.
Individualism is true. I am loyal to the reality I own myself. And I will argue the best way to resolve the world’s issues is to focus on improving the individuals within a society. I will vehemently defend individualism against collectivism even though such defense has cost me friends, family, and my job.
But that’s the point of loyalty. You must stand for an idea that is right even at the cost of your comforts. The more significant the belief, the more you must give to defend it.
Why is it important to defend an idea? It is challenging to fake loyalty to a virtuous idea. Virtue requires your entire being, and you must make many material and physical sacrifices to pursue your best self. Very few people follow a virtuous path out of jest or to deceive. Therefore, when you show others you are willing to defend an idea, they are more likely to trust you.
Be Committed To Others
Lastly, you must show others you are loyal to them by being committed to their wellbeing and success. You must commit without expectation.
Accept you will be stabbed in the back at worst and disappointed at best. People, including yourself, are rarely consistent. Trust but verify. When you do commit to someone, don’t give them everything. Start slow and allow this slow process to protect you while you build a relationship.
Start small by helping a friend move or showing you are a good listener. In time, breach more challenging subjects such as politics, religion, or family. Whenever someone seems shady when discussing essential issues, then look elsewhere. An individual incapable of discussing important topics cannot give you the loyalty you will need.
Over time, these interactions will give way to more significant favors: babysitting the kids, borrowing a car, or even starting a business together. Creating loyalty takes time. But if you invest in virtuous individuals, you will have a community to defend you.
You Need Loyal Individuals In Your Life
“Your friends will believe in your potential, your enemies will make you live up to it.” – Tim Fargo
As an individual, your path is difficult. You must improve yourself to reach the goals you have set. The best way to accomplish your goals is to have a community at your back. Therefore, invest time in others, and when you do find loyal people, never let them down. You do not want to face the evils and struggles of the world alone.
- Who are some of the best people in your life? What makes them so good to and for you?
- How do you treat virtuous individuals in your life? Do you treat them well or poorly?
- What are the qualities you look for in a friendship? Do you have these qualities yourself?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume. *Image credit to Unsplash.