With relationships, there are always some things we try to hide—as if they don’t exist—in what I like to call our ‘emotional closets’. We do this while telling ourselves how things will get better and hoping for the situation to change. I am here to tell you that this is a bold face lie. Every incident and emotion you have swept into the closet only stays there and rots….and with all things that decay, the stink will come out.
One of my closeted rotting situations concerns ending or demoting relationships. Now, this is not limited to romantic relationships… the stink also wafted throughout friendships, family and even business relationships—there is no discrimination. In my past, I have swept things under the rug, allowing them to fester longer than they should have. This would include tolerating condescending remarks as part of an individual’s personality traits, accepting that a person’s actions were somehow caused by me, and trying to overcompensate or cover for other’s shady behavior. I did this because I had fooled myself into believing that they really held my/our best interest at heart and I was convinced of the importance of having someone to be there for me the way I had been for them.
But therein laid the problem… I was doing it for the wrong reason. Yes, it is good to treat people the way you want to be treated. However, by not holding them accountable for their actions and by not standing up for myself, I was teaching them what I would allow/accept. I was clearly being more loyal to them than to myself, and that made no sense [especially to the older, wiser, with a touch of gray woman I have become].
Recently, I came across a video clip from the talk show Steve, hosted by Steve Harvey. During the ‘Hey Steve’ segment of the show, he answered an audience member’s question on what to do about a friend who did not appear to be as supportive to her as she had been to them through their many years of friendship. Steve Harvey Loyalty has an Expiration date” Youtube video The clip is just a little over 2 minutes long, so I am going to place it in the blog post for you to hear the response from Mr. Harvey himself. I love his answer! He summed up what has plagued and is plaguing many relationships, friendships and businesses. I can definitely relate to the audience member, as I have been in the same position of being there mentally, physically and even spiritually for persons who appeared genuine, only to find out that their loyalty had expired [nicely worded by Steve Harvey] or never really existed.
For me to say that I never received signs would be a lie… I think they were always there. From the raised eyebrow, to the distant and side glances, the quick mentions on how I was doing too much, or the sarcastic comments wrapped with humor but laced with venom. They were clearly exhibited. As the self-crowned queen of sarcasm, I am embarrassed that I didn’t quickly spot the lame attempts at being savage. Instead, I chose to remain loyal in relationships that no longer nourished my emotional, spiritual, and educational growth. But my crown has aged now and thank God I no longer remain blind. Maybe I would have learned faster if someone had told it to me straight, just as Steve Harvey told his audience member. Within seconds he revealed that, in her blindness, she did not realize that Loyalty has an expiration date. While she was trying to be a good person and remain loyal to her “friend”, her friend’s loyalty to her had ended. “Sometimes you are loyal to people long after their loyalty has expired for you.” Mr. Harvey’s point was so simple and yet so profound. Some people may have been in your life for a long while, but that does not mean that they are destined to remain there. Yes, you may have had moments together and shared experiences, but that does not mean that you are supposed to share all your future experiences.
I think his message was very clear, crisp and straight to the point. But, just in case some of you have become excessive hoarders and have stuffed a bit too much into your emotional closets, here are some reasons why we should feel comfortable with the expiration of loyalty. Though there are many reasons, today I am going to focus on just four:
- If someone does not want to be in your life, or if their presence becomes toxic for your life, then it is best for you to throw that expired relationship out the door. I know you may think that my phrasing is a bit cold [do remember that I don’t speak in fluff], so let me try it this way… I think it is in your best interest for you to call it quits to the rotting emotions [perhaps that’s easier to accept and swallow]. At the end of the day, you are holding onto the memories of what you wish it could be. They don’t respect you Boo-Boo, let them go.
- Sometimes the attack comes from within your inner circle. Blood, duration and location are not characteristics that determine loyalty. Judas was loyal to Jesus up until he betrayed Him. He worked just as hard and saw all the miracles as the other apostles. In fact, he was responsible for their accounts [and if you are like me, you don’t trust any and anybody with your money]. If someone decides that they are not for you anymore, you need to be willing to accept that and walk away. Trying to win them back with favors, gifts and overextending yourself will not work because they will only want what you can offer and not you as a person…do you really want that type of person in your life?
- There will be times when you will have to be the one who needs to give up the loyalty ghost. Some people will never leave you. They don’t care what your intentions are, they are going to hold on to you forever. Don’t be misguided into taking their presence for loyalty. The reason they are in your life is not to elevate you or to grow with you, but to use you. They know you will never let them struggle, and they won’t have to work as hard as they should to achieve what being with you will provide. Essentially, if you are to stay loyal to this type of person you will become their enabler, safety net, and life support since they know you will always be there to pick them up and carry their weight.
- You will be okay without them. Staying in a negative situation where you keep people in your life to avoid being alone or out of fear of what others will say is insulting to God. By holding on you are, for all intents and purposes, telling God that you don’t have faith in Him and that you think He was a liar when He said that He loved you. Because if you had faith that God really loved you and would provide for you, you would know that He would surround you with all the help and support that you need. So, if you are more concerned with what people say and being alone…. I guess you need to take up that issue with God, I’m sure He is ready for that conversation.
So, if this blog post feels a little too familiar and my four reasonings makes sense to you, do yourself a favor and send this blog post to the person who you need to cut your loyalty to. Now, if you receive this from someone, don’t jump to conclusions. Let your conscience be your guide. They are either trying to help you in your own personal situation or they are bidding you a rotting loyalty farewell… I’m just saying.