When I first asked Annie Emmanuel to write a blog for my #YourBlogOnMyBlog Series commemorating my Decade of Blogging, she balked at the idea.
Yet, I am someone who believes we all have stories to tell, each story unique and each story significant because every singular experience is part of the life of the person completely distinct and different from others by reason of who that person is, what they have lived through and how it affects them.
A story can be as simple as that, it constitutes the building blocks of a blog.
So, we worked through her reticence, with private conversations on Twitter and eventually a long-distance call from Canada on my birthday that lasted 90 minutes.
I knew she could do it and for someone who hardly every writes, this is an example of someone who has stepped completely out of their comfort zone of presumed inability to do something that shows amazing innate ability that we never really discover of ourselves except through challenge, persuasion and application.
For this alone, I am grateful to Annie for taking up this task and that is before you have read this beautiful piece about loyalties.
Annie writes from Canada. She shares her random thoughts on Twitter with the handle @buddlies4real. I hope you enjoy reading this piece as I did.
Loyal to a ‘fault’
Sitting at my computer, trying to pen my thoughts in celebration of Uncle Akin’s decade of blogging, I grab a glass of hot chocolate, my favourite drink, pull my blinds and watch as the snow falls; I reflect on the series of events that have happened to me in the past couple of months. The issue of loyalty in relationships comes to mind.
I realized those that loved me and were loyal to a fault, they are ready to go the extra mile to ensure I am happy, sometimes do so at their own expense. They would stick out their neck for a friend, no matter what.
Even though I don't appreciate them enough, they are always there for me, loyal to a fault, a virtue I cherish a lot.
While growing up, I remember my mum would always tell my dad to be wary of the level of kindness and love he shows to people. “Very soon, you will give out both of your eyes and you won’t have any to see, then you will become a blind man”, she would say to him.
“You will be led by the hand, with no one offering to spare you any of their eyes”, she’d continue.
I think I inherited that level of kindness. Some people are loyal to a fault, just as my dad was kind and loving to a fault.
In the course of my lessons in life I discovered loyalty as a strong virtue and a strength which everyone would not always possess.
To acquire this virtue, we really need to be conscious of it, make it a part of us, and live it out in our everyday life. That's the only way it can become a part and parcel of us. The same goes for other virtues such as kindness and love.
An incident during my teenage years comes to mind. A friend of mine and myself agreed to excommunicate another ‘friend’ that had offended us both. Alas, while I was away on vacation, she resumed communication with her. When I got back, they had even grown tighter than before. I felt quite bad and as a teenager, I stopped talking to both of them for years! LOL!. Petty, huh? I remember telling my friend off and decrying her lack of loyalty to me.
Looking back at that today, I realize I have probably behaved in a similar way to people that love me and thinking about it makes me feel remorseful.
We cannot pretend to be loyal if it is not part of our daily life. Same way we cannot pretend to be kind and show love if it is not part of us.
Loyalty is like a bond, it could also have social angles.
Parents love kids who are loyal to them, spouses want partners who are loyal to them, the government wants citizens who are loyal to it, and even God wants us to be loyal to Him.
Loyalty is deep and complex. Its terms and conditions represent a covenant.
Though I am not always loyal, I consider myself a work in progress, working at that aspect of my life, something I believe some of us are doing as well.
I cannot tell you how many times, I have gone back and forth, how many conversations I have had with my friends, on this topic.
I have gained a wealth of knowledge and much experience in a variety of areas as a result of having a loyal friend.
I will also want to use this medium to tell my friend that I do love him and appreciate him.
So, is there some relationship between loyalty and love? Well, loyalty is a sense of commitment and dedication while love is a feeling of affection. I believe loyalty, same for love and kindness, needs to be reciprocated, for it not to become a sort of servitude.
I can say that I have experienced loyalty from a loved one. But on the other hand, I am probably guilty of not always being loyal to those that love me.
And if loyalty is not reciprocated, it induces dissatisfaction and fatigue, coupled with elements of deception and being taken for granted.
The good news? Almost anyone can learn Loyalty.
We can learn to be loyal, grow it to become a behaviour.
Loyalty keeps parties together and focused on the same goal.
And sometimes, I ask myself if there’s really any connection between love and loyalty.
If you love someone, does that make you automatically loyal to that individual and vice-versa?
I’m sure I will find an answer soon.