How Betrayal can be a Higher Form of Loyalty

loyalty - dogs

“I take things like honor and loyalty seriously. It’s more important to me than any materialistic thing or any fame I could have.” ~Lloyd Banks

Would you consider yourself a loyal friend?

If so, to what are you most loyal? To the friendship? Or to the person you are friends with? Do you see the difference? The friendship is what you get out of being a friend. It’s the relationship. It’s where you receive the benefits of that relationship–the memories, the fun, the heart-to-hearts, the shoulder to lean on, and so forth.

The friend, on the other hand, is the person. It’s who you have the relationship with. It’s who they are and who they strive to be. It’s their inner selves and inner potential. It’s their values and goals and dreams and possibilities.

But loyalty to the friend may at times require disloyalty to the friendship.

Why? Because you would hold your friend to a standard that honors their potential. You would respect their highest selves. You would serve their noblest dreams and protect their integrity to their highest values. You would value their hearts, minds and their souls, even when your friends don’t.

You would be willing to violate a trust to do what is best for your friend even if it permanently damages the friendship.

Wouldn’t telling someone in the position to do something about a friend’s suicidal thoughts, thoughts that were shared confidentially, be paying deeper respect to the person than the friendship? Wouldn’t risking the friendship to honor the friend be a more noble kind of loyalty? What if a friend confided in you that she was going to hurt someone for her gain. What would you choose to be loyal to?

Choosing loyalty to one, then, would necessarily mean disloyalty to the other.

When you do what’s in the best interest of a friend, even if on some level you are betraying their trust, you are being loyal to the best in that person. Sometimes we have to sacrifice some of the happiness our friendships provide, and sometimes even the friendship itself, to honor the person we share the friendship with.

That, to me, is a higher kind of loyalty worth the risks inherent in the betrayals it may one day call on us to make.

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