What Would Happen If Everyone Was Loyal To Each Other?
What does it mean to stay by friends through thick and thin? What does it mean to have each other’s back? What does loyalty really mean? Is it possible that being loyal to our values can be in contradiction to being loyal in our relationships with others?
The Dictionary definition of loyalty is “being fully supportive to someone or something.”
At Cultures of Dignity we build on this definition in two ways:
- True loyalty: Supporting someone when it’s hard, unpopular, and may cost you in some way.
- Forced loyalty: Supporting or agreeing with someone even if they are doing something you don’t agree with or know is wrong.
In our families, our friendships, our work environments, among other parents, or in our own social media communities, we may catch ourselves acting in ways and saying things we really don’t agree with. We force out a laugh when a coworker says something inappropriate instead of communicating what we really think. We ignore a social media post of a friend or family member that makes us uncomfortable. We stay silent when a close friend is making poor decisions in relationships or with drugs and alcohol.
At Cultures of Dignity, we aren’t proposing that we run around being each other’s thought-police or micro-managing everyone else’s behavior. However, if people we know are taking away someone’s dignity, we need to be loyal to the higher value of treating others with worth and do something. Otherwise, we are acting like the archetype of a teenage group that can’t say what they really think or feel to the members of their group.
Just as we ask high school students, we need to ask ourselves these uncomfortable questions…
Do I agree with what I am seeing or what my group is doing?
If I don’t agree, is it possible to go back and tell people in my group what I really think?
What is the worst outcome if I tell people I disagree? (True loyalty)
What is the worst possible outcome if I stay silent? (Forced loyalty)
It’s difficult to admit all of this. But if we don’t, we aren’t living in accordance with our values and we allow group dynamics to guide our thinking and behavior.
There’s way too much group-think in the world. Let’s do something about it. Let’s be loyal to the higher cause of treating ourselves and others with dignity.