Apr 16

Two Perspectives on Loyalty

Dr. Amit Nagpal, New Delhi, India, and

Dr. Janet Smith Warfield, Florida, USA


Dr. Amit Nagpal’s Perspective

The “L” alphabet probably has the most difficult and confusing terms. Love and loyalty are two of them. It is easier to be an opportunist than to be loyal. But loyalty pays you in the long run. It inspires trust, it creates a reputation and it contributes to your personal brand.

Some people even say love and loyalty are the same. So what is the meaning of loyalty? What is the definition of loyalty?

What loyalty means to me

When I say, my friend is loyal to me, it generally means;-

  • He considers my enemies as his enemies.
  • He will not backbite against me.
  • He will protest or argue or defend if someone criticizes me.
  • He will be a friend in need.
  • He will not publicly complain, even if he has a grudge against me and rather discuss privately.
  • He will stand by my side, even if my parents criticize me and will share his opinion with me in private and try to be non-judgmental and yet give me friendly advice or tell me if I am wrong.

Loyalty – another misused word

Should we commit violence and murder in the name of loyalty? Some people cut their fingers in India when their political leaders lose the elections. Is this loyalty? Does being loyal mean emotionally overwhelmed and unstable?

If a man commits murder to loot a person to save his ailing mother, is it loyalty? Many Hindi (Indian) films have similar dilemmas. Were those Indians who were loyal to the British Empire traitors to the nation? I am leaving for the readers to decide. Nothing is right or wrong. Our inner voice knows what is wrong and right in that particular situation.

How do we learn loyalty?

I think we learn loyalty mainly from our parents and their behavior. Of course, perceptions and behavior relating to loyalty among friends, relatives, siblings and teachers also influence us. It is also possible you may be influenced more by your grandparent than your parent and he/she being your role model becomes the role model for loyalty too.

Clash of loyalties

A woman should be more loyal to husband or parents? The question is as difficult to answer as whether an Indian NRI in USA should be more loyal to India or to United States. My personal opinion is to be equally loyal, for the native country, you have emotional loyalty and for the country of residence, you need to have logical loyalty (it is feeding you and in India we say, you have to be loyal to the salt). Over a period of time if the husband is very caring or the country of residence gives you a very caring environment, you will develop emotional loyalty to husband or the country of residence.

True loyalty

The most difficult loyalty is the loyalty to truth or God. It is easier to be loyal to human relationships but difficult to stay loyal to the right, to the truth or to the conscience.

Our inner voice also wants us to be loyal to truth. But it is easier said than done.


Dr. Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant, passionate Blogger, and Motivational Speaker based in New Delhi, India. He specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is “Take Charge of your Life and your Brand” He writes a Blog, “The Joys of Teaching


Dr. Janet Smith Warfield’s Perspective

Dr. Janet Smith WarfieldEncarta Dictionary defines loyalty as “a feeling of devotion, duty, or attachment to somebody or something.” But who is that “somebody” or “something” to which we feel devotion, duty or attachment? And to what extent should we carry out that devotion, duty and attachment? And what do we do when we experience a conflict of loyalties? These are not easy questions.

As children, we are very attached to our parents, regardless of whether they are loving or abusive. We have little choice, because we depend on them for our food, clothing, and shelter.

As we grow, we begin to make friends. Why do we choose some over others? Isn’t it because we meet each others’ needs and we feel comfortable in each others’ presence? Here there is a reciprocity of loyalty.

As we reach adulthood, we begin to look for a mate. How do we decide who is worthy of our loyalty for a lifetime commitment? If we choose well, we marry someone who is kind, loving, sensitive, strong, compassionate, and communicative – someone with whom we can build a true marriage of values. If we make a mistake, we choose someone who has affairs, doesn’t carry his or her share of responsibilities, and isn’t there for our children.

And how do we handle a conflict of loyalties? Our parents want us to study medicine and become a doctor. Our spouse wants us to study law. Our heart tells us our happiness lies with art.

We don’t always know when we first meet a new person how loyal and trustworthy he or she will be. It is only when we feel betrayed that we realize we chose to place our loyalty with someone who didn’t deserve it. Do we stay with this person for the sake of loyalty, or do we leave a relationship where loyalty is not mutual?

What about loyalty to our country? A young man is drafted to fight for his country and trained to kill other young men. In some countries, his only choice is to kill or be killed. Is this the proper place to put his loyalty? Or should he become a conscientious objector? Becoming a conscientious objector may be a far more courageous choice than being loyal to a dictator.

William E. Gladstone wrote, “… in freedom you lay the firmest foundations both of loyalty and order.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”

Perhaps our first loyalty should be to ourselves and whatever God or Higher Power or Universal Energy we believe in. Be true to yourself and you will be loyal to those people and causes that have earned your loyalty.


Dr. Janet Smith Warfield serves wisdom-seekers who want understanding and clarity so they can live peaceful, powerful, prosperous lives. Through her unique combination of holistic, creative, right-brain transformational experiences and 22 years of rigorous, left-brain law practice, she has learned how to sculpt words in atypical ways to shift her listeners into experiences beyond words, transforming turmoil into inner peace. To learn more, see www.wordsculptures.com, www.wordsculpturespublishing.com, www.janetsmithwarfield.com




6 Responses to “Loyalty”

  1. Harvey Austin says:

    Loyalty shows up to me as a high level of existence and is not so trivial as to require that we ask “Loyal TO whom or TO what?” We are always loyal to that which we hold dear, just as we are committed to what we hold dear.

    Shakespeare said it best for me, “To thine own Self be true. For then it shall follow, as night follows day, that one canst be false to no man.’

    Dr. Nagpal… your first personal requirement of a friend’s loyalty that ‘my enemies are his enemies’ occurs for me as a profound misunderstanding of the concept.

  2. Annette says:

    This was a good article for me to read tonight as I struggle with the ‘loyalty’ I feel to my mother who is unstable and who brings emotional harm to our family. Do I remain the ‘little girl’ who is loyal to the mother who fed, clothed and sheltered me? Or do I shift my loyalty to nurturing and caring for my spirit and my higher ‘self’?

    I have personally struggled with these questions for most of my adult life. As a child, I didn’t have a choice. Or a voice. As an adult, I have both. So – my question to myself this evening is “Who am I loyal to?” and “How do I compromise my spirit when I choose to be loyal to my mom – instead of honouring my inner wisdom?” and maybe even more profoundly “Who am I being when I allow my loyalty to my mom to influence my thoughts, feelings and actions?”

    Perhaps the answers to these questions will help me take the next step in my own personal development and discovery. And maybe even bring some peace to the inner conflicts I feel in the presence of my mom.

    Many blessings and thanks,
    Annette Sharpe

  3. Nancy Oakes says:

    We come from different worlds and different cultures. My heritage is Cherokee, (Smoky Mountains, Tennessee USA) There is no word for loyalty. The people were expected to honor our culture, ceremonies and ancestors. Having that strong connection to Mother Earth my ancestors knew nothing else. The elders led the people in daily practice of devotion to the Creator and our ancestors who prepared the path before us. Faithfully the medicine people taught, unbeknownst to them, loyalty to our Cherokee culture and the original creation story.

    Many centuries later an elite few connected the word loyalty to an allegiance to feudal lords, government and dictators. Convincing young men to join them, giving up their lives in battle, while these same elite obtained wealth and power. Demanding an oath of loyalty and instructing no questions asked, millions have perished. It soon became lawful or unlawful depending on your loyality to certain religious organizations, royalty, monarchs and dictators.

    We have been separated from our Creator by “Evil Ones” who would deceive us. We are born free to develop loyalty to our Creator. We must not continue to commit ourselves to any person, or organization, government or dictator that keeps us from being honorable and understanding our purpose for being on this blessed planet.

    Perhaps they will have to rewrite the meaning of the word, loyalty (I call loyalty a verb-conveys an action-an occurrence) as we evolve into a new consciousness. Loyalty is an action of love and respect for all creation, cultures and a full understanding of our commitment to nurture, care and protect this planet for all the people and for all those coming.

  4. Shibshakti says:

    When i got your mail on this, the first thing that came to my mind was – in freedom you lay the firmest foundation of loyalty – and after reading your blog, i am happy and reassured to find the same feeling in Gladstone.

  5. Dr Amit Nagpal says:

    Harvey, “my enemies are his enemies” is a narrow view of loyalty but majority of the people perceive it this way. This is my opinion though I also believe we need to come out of this narrow mindedness. Nancy has put it beautifully,
    “Loyalty is an action of love and respect for all creation, cultures and a full understanding of our commitment to nurture, care and protect this planet for all the people and for all those coming.” We need to evolve to this level.

  6. Nancy Oakes says:

    From my heart to yours, I am so grateful to be able to communicate with you.
    I believe many have already evolved and are in transformation , intwined together. For all those on this journey we shall have a celebration day 12-22-12. Much love to all my brothers and sisters.
    my website is http://www.lovetothelight.weebly.com
    Thank you
    Nancy Oakes,

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