Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Personal Loyalty

At eighteen-years-old I left for college and started learning about myself in ways that I didn't anticipate. One such lesson came as I paid more attention to my grocery shopping habits. While getting things like toothpaste and dishwashing detergent I was immediately drawn to certain brands. I became interested in the reasoning behind my automatic choices, but the only answer I came up with was that I bought what was familiar to me. I had no personal loyalty to any of the brands I chose beyond mirroring my parents' shopping habits.

Thinking of my imposed brand loyalty led me to consider my choices outside of the grocery store. If I'd been willing to purchase household items solely because it's what my parents bought, what other decisions had I surrendered? What other areas of my life had I let the past choose for me? What else was I loyal to without even realizing it?
Your childhood experiences greatly influence how you live as an adult. Fortunately, you have the option to repeat or repel and learn from your past. As you create normalcy for yourself, your partner, and/or your child(ren), it is wise to consider what types of loyalties are influencing your behavior.

You may have grown up in a balanced, healthy environment. In that circumstance, recreating as much of the positivity you experienced is ideal. For most, though, there are portions of your experiences that will require a bit more work. Having a parent who expressed more criticism than concern does not mean that you are destined to be in relationships with critical people. Make another choice. A parent leaving does not dictate that you will always be in relationships with unavailable people. Make another choice. An abusive past does not equate to an abusive future. Make another choice.

You have the option and responsibility to exercise loyalty to characteristics, actions, and people who make you feel the most supported, cared for, and loved. You no longer have to be loyal to what someone else selected for you. You now have the power to choose. Replace mindless, repetitive choices with intentional ones. You cannot control what has already happened, but you can positively shape your future by developing and strengthening personal loyalties that are most beneficial to you and for you.

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