Loyalty is important in all relationships, not just romantic ones.  It factors into your business life, your friendships and, quite significantly, yourself.  However you define it in your own life, the benefits of loyalty are unlimited.

In business, I believe that loyalty deserves respect.  Whether you’re a long-term employee or a genuine referral source, your business relationships gain value from your loyalty.  And it’s reciprocal.  A loyal business relationship will better your career opportunities and send the right message within the workplace.

Friendships also thrive through loyalty, bringing deeper connection and good karma.  The unconditional loyalty of a close friend can offer you comfort and peace in times of stress.  (Unless, of course, the welcome mat of your loyalty has become worn, which might mean it’s time to end the friendship and move on.)

The benefits of being loyal (faithful)  in a romantic relationship are obvious.  It’s a major factor in making the relationship endure, and it’s generally of equal importance to both partners.  As a divorce mediator, I can tell you that the lack of loyalty in a marriage is one of the primary reasons my clients come to me when they’re ready to call it quits.

Those of us who follow professional sports display loyalty to a team.  Take a look around Las Vegas these days, and I guarantee you’ll see a Golden Knights emblem pretty much everywhere.  Die hard fans of the Chicago Cubs received the ultimate reward for their loyalty at the end of the 2016 World Series.  If you’re loyal to a particular team, or to your alma mater, you are definitely not alone.  You always have others who share “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

On the other hand, sometimes we have misplaced loyalty.  How many of us have remained loyal to a business or to a service provider even after we’ve felt dissatisfied or disrespected?  Case in point, I once had a car wash guy who did a crummy job.  I didn’t have the time to find someone new, so I kept paying him month after month even though I didn’t like the work he did.  Sometimes, I suspect, staying loyal seems less messy than switching.   You also don’t run the risk of pissing someone off.  It happens, and if you’re beating yourself up about it, either accept it or change it.

Which brings me to another important aspect of loyalty — the loyalty we have for ourselves.  Being true to ourselves is significant in knowing ourselves, understanding our feelings, and honoring our principles.  So why is this important?  Being loyal to yourself means accepting who you are and not trying make changes in order to please someone else.  When you’re loyal to yourself, you have given yourself permission to be authentic and real.  In other words, your true self.  And most significant, being loyal to yourself allows you to treat yourself gently.  Yes.  Treat yourself gently.  I know, I say that a lot.