Updated: Apr 8
According to the Google dictionary, loyalty is described as “a strong feeling of support or allegiance.” Other words to describe loyalty include dedication, faithfulness, devotion, support, and love. Loyalty is essential in healthy relationships. In my opinion, loyalty is foundational to maintaining closeness. Without it, the relationship might crumble.
In my family, loyalty is not only expected but it's natural because we are close-knit. We are automatically loyal because of our love for one another. My family and friends never have to question my loyalty because my actions prove that I am. However, as I grow older, I realize that loyalty, from others, can be fleeting.
When I entered my fifties, I found my voice and decided that life was too short for me to be loyal to a fault to those who do not deserve my time or energy. Also, I realize that sometimes people come into your life for a season, and when the season is over, just let them go, which brings me to a trying situation with a family member.
Six years ago, for the first time, I met a family member face-to-face at an event. I had spoken with the person over the phone but never actually met them until the event brought us together. I heard some things about the person from another family member concerning activities they were involved in and was warned to be careful and make my own assessment. Through conversation, a few things that immediately stood out to me about the person were manipulation, narcissism, and toxicity.
After several conversations with the person, I had a final moment of reckoning with them. At that point, I had enough of their manipulative ways. I let them know that I was not going to put up with the manipulation any longer. I thought that would help them understand and appreciate that I love myself too much to allow people to take advantage of my kindness. As the saying goes, people sometimes take your kindness for weakness.
Fast forward to the present day, the manipulative ways of that person did not go away. Their futile attempts to get to me started coming through my close family members. Someone triggered me to look at something on Facebook. When I did, I realized the person unfriended me but decided to keep certain members of my family as their friends on Facebook. I believe the person kept certain family members, as their Facebook friends, to write messages to them that I would definitely see. Therein lies the manipulation attempts. At that point, I felt the need to block the person from my phone contact list to protect myself from this person’s poisonous ways.
I show loyalty in various ways to people. When someone needs to talk with me, I give my undivided attention to them. I’m willing to help people when I can. My life has been about service to others because I believe we are blessed to be a blessing. I’m careful about what I say to make sure I don’t speak in a manner deemed unkind. I am known as my family’s mediator if disagreements need to be solved. I carefully review my words to make sure I don’t say anything that can be taken out of context. However, too often, I allowed myself to be spoken to in a way that many people would not accept. This is a new day, and I will no longer allow myself to be mistreated by anyone whether they’re family or not.
Thanks to God, I can discern situations. I can see problems as they come and understand the intention of people. I believe discernment and intuition are given as protection from those who intend to harm others, including those who possess manipulative, selfish, toxic ways. I am thankful for the ability to see things as they are.
The gifts of discernment and intuition bring me back to the concept of loyalty. I take how I show loyalty to my family and friends very seriously. I expect it to be reciprocated, but sometimes that doesn’t happen, which hurts.
Because I am a positive, forward-thinking person, I believe it is necessary to remove toxic people from your life. If you see toxic ways in people, do not feel bad removing yourself from that. I decided my health and well-being supersedes anyone else’s need to try to manipulate me and spew their toxic venom. Life is too short for that.
I have come to understand that the toxic person did not have a problem with me as long as I allowed them to manipulate me. The moment I took back my power, I was viewed as a threat. That action caused the person to attempt to get to me through my close family members.
There is danger in people who display manipulative behaviors because they’re often jealous of the person they’re attempting to manipulate. Be mindful to protect yourself from that behavior.
Ultimately, when I think of loyalty, I think of Jesus. From a spiritual standpoint, Jesus showed his loyalty when he gave his life for humanity. Many people were disloyal to Jesus, leading to the culmination of the events that led to his death. As loyal as he was to people, unfortunately, it was not reciprocated to him by many people.
My understanding of loyalty is clear. I will continue to be dedicated to my family and friends who deserve my loyalty. However, I am mindful that it will not always be reciprocated. When that happens, I will make sure that I protect myself first over everything else.
The moment you take back your power from a manipulator, understand that you may become the manipulator’s enemy. You become their enemy because you no longer allow yourself to be abused by their behaviors. It’s important to understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel known as FREEDOM!
When you eliminate toxic people from your life, you gain your freedom. When you’re free, burdens and weight lift off your mind, body, and soul. You feel lighter, more energetic, and able to take on anything. Nothing can stop you and you feel good about yourself.
I decided that I will not allow my well-being to be sacrificed by allowing manipulative and toxic people to take up residence in my mind, body, and soul. Give yourself permission to take back your power today and claim your freedom! You owe it to yourself.
Live, laugh, love, and pray.
God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,
Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson
“Empowering, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting your mind, body, and soul!”