Loyalty to yourself
Dr. Wayne Dyer believes that if you are what you do, then when you do not, you are not. Do you take your job responsibilities more seriously than your personal or family responsibilities? On the other hand, do you find it difficult to relax and clear your mind of job-related matters?
If you answered yes to the above, you are very likely in that category of victims who have placed loyalty to an institution above loyalty to themselves and personal fulfillment.
Dr Dyer stresses the importance of you as a living, breathing human being. “Nothing is worth devoting your life to at the expense of your own happiness. The doctrine of loyalty to things and institutions is a victimising one which you can challenge and banish from your view of the world.”
Freedom, as we know it, is not limited to being free from the domination of other people. Being independent of domination by things, jobs, companies, and other man-made institutions, is just as important.
Some people fight vehemently for their personal freedom in their relationships with family and friends. They demand to be respected as individuals and refuse to be told how to run their lives. But ironically, they are complete slaves to their jobs, to the institutions they are paid to serve. They often find themselves unable to regulate their own time, and so have almost no say in how their daily lives are conducted. They are seldom at peace with themselves. Their minds are always racing. They never have any energy to devote to anything but their employment duties. Yet these people claim to have attained their independence from being owned.
THE MISUSE OF LOYALTY
Loyalty does not mean slavery. You can be faithful to any organisation and devote yourself to its goals and tasks with honesty and integrity without becoming its servant. The most important person in the world, to whom you should be unswervingly loyal, is yourself. “You only have one life,” says Dr Dyer, “and to let some business, or other institution, control it is particularly unwise, when you consider that so many alternatives are available.”
Loyalty is misused when people are given less importance than profits, and when the human spirit is sacrificed for the name of good old “Anything, Inc.”
How you use your loyalty is totally up to you. You can make your own happiness and responsibilities to help and love others in your family the most important things in your life. You do not have to explain to anyone, but you can begin to make your life work around the concept of loyalty to yourself. Very likely, you will discover that it makes you even more productive on the job and a lot more pleasant to be around.
Dr Dyer believes that any executive who cannot leave his desk does not belong behind the desk at all. “But you are the executive of your own life, and you can actively plan to use your own time in ways that are loyal to your chosen institutions, but which also lead to your happiness, health, and most important, fulfillment.”
Dr Dyer opines that the misuse of loyalty is literally a killer. “It will fill your life on this planet with stress, tension, anxiety and worry, and put you in your grave long before your time,” he laments.
He discerns that the things that really matter to you will always be pushed aside in favour of some task which “must” be accomplished yesterday; and all this push-pull, wear and tear will be defended in the name of your duty.
You must understand that you are the biggest victim of all when you misplace your loyalty in the name of a task, profits or your duty. Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the importance of world justifies.”
Indeed, institutions ought to be built to serve man, rather than the other way around. In fact, companies do not exist at all in the REAL world, the world of man. If you take people from institutions what remains will be machinery, empty factories and offices, file cabinets filled with reports – useless equipment. People are what make institutions work, and since you are one of those people, all your institutional involvement ought to be directed at improving the life of people—and most important among them, yourself and your loved ones.
COMPETITION VS. COOPERATION
Institutions thrive on competition. They are in the business of “outdoing the other guy,” and so they work very hard to addict everyone in their power to the competitive mind-set. Institutions set up specific machinery to infuse the correct spirit of competitiveness in their duty-bound devotees. Reward systems are built in to ensure that people will sacrifice themselves to outdo each other for promotions and “status.” Individuals are taught to look over their shoulders for “the other guy who wants to take over.” Running an institution requires a great deal of competitiveness in a capitalistic culture. Oh yes, it is a competitive world out there. But you as an individual can compete effectively within the institutional framework without mistakenly carrying that heavy emphasis on competition to extremes, and most destructively, into your own personal life. If you get carried away with competition, you can put terrific pressures on your family to be the way you are, and to compete with everyone else in their lives. While the results of heavy competition are everywhere evident in our modern buildings, our superhighways, our sophisticated electronics, and so on, it exacts immeasurable costs in human terms.
Peter Cohen believes that when you come down to it, all competition is behavior. A piece of behaviour that builds on the need of individuals to be faster, cleverer, richer than the next person. “Everybody forgets that despite its undeniable advantages competition is a wasteful process. That every winner comes at the cost of a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand losers. This is where most societies are at: we talk of COMPETITION as if we had never heard the word COOPERATION. We refuse to see that too much pressure does not move people; it kills them.”
Cohen’s observation conveys a very telling message. You can truly victimize yourself, your spouse and your children, by giving excessive competitiveness top priority in your philosophy or behavior. Schools which demand all “A’s” from students, and force them into sometimes vicious competition with each other, may produce a few shining lights—but are those shining lights of heat and pressure what you want for yourself? So what if everyone else looks up to you as the very best? If you need that recognition for your own ego strength, then you are being fulfilled by the approvals of others rather than from within, and this is one of the surest signs of insecurity and low self-esteem. But even worse, if your worth as a human being is dependent upon your doing things well, being on top, outdoing everyone else, then what will you do when the cheers stop and you are no longer on top? You will collapse because you no longer have a reason to feel worthy. All human beings are worthy of life, and can be happy and fulfilled, without having to look over their shoulders at other people for their self-worth. In fact, fully functioning people are not interested in doing things better than everyone else; they look inward for their life goals, and know that competition will only dwindle their efforts to accomplish what they uniquely desire.
Remember, in order to be in a state called “competition” you must have someone else in the picture for comparison; and when you have to look outside yourself to assess your own position or worth, then you are not in control of your own life. Look inward rather than at how you measure up to the other person. It is possible for you to function very effectively in any pressure-cooker situation and refuse to get steamed up about it. You have the capacity to undo any tensions that are part of your life.
BY CAPT SAM ADDAIH (RTD)