Loyalty is one of those complicated subjects that can touch a nerve. It is like a two-edged sword; it can help us and make life worthwhile and also hurt us. Loyalty is an important subject that is worth thinking about because issues around different types of loyalty are part of our basic social fabric and always have been.
Loyalty comes in many flavors and means different things to different people. Ideas about loyalty have changed as we humans have changed. Here are five different types of loyalty used in human culture:
- for some, loyalty is an absolute whether it is loyalty to a tribe or religion. Loyalty under these circumstances means loyalty not only overtly to the group, but also the beliefs, practices and expected behaviors. Since groups that seek absolute loyalty create dependency in their members, escape can be difficult.
- loyalty demands can manifest in rules and role requirements that have nothing to do with the individual’s abilities. These kinds of demands can feel like a kind of rejection of the individual, a yoke of slavery to group norms.
- for others, loyalty is extremely conditional. This is the type of person who operates on the “what have you done for me lately?” premise. The point of view of this kind of loyalty is economic rather than institutional.
- others think everyone deserves at least some loyalty since we are all “in this” together. The point of view of this person is universal.
- another type of loyalty is loyalty based on the inherent dignity of all living creatures, a kind of transcendent and transpersonal loyalty. This is the most spiritual kind of loyalty.
Getting A Handle On Different Types Of Loyalty
Highly sensitive people have a challenge with loyalty that others may not have. Since HSPs love very deeply, it causes them to act on values that others may not have. If I were to characterize HSP loyalty, it would be of the universal and spiritual kind. Unfortunately, this brand of loyalty may not be valued or reciprocated by others causing an HSP serious emotional pain.