Is there a difference between Loyal and Faithful; or are they two sides to the same coin?
Can someone be loyal without being faithful, or faithful without being loyal?
Loyal and faithful are words in English language that have similar meaning. Many people use these words interchangeably as if these words are synonymous. Though the two words are used in place of one another in many contexts and hold subtle differences.
If you look in the dictionary, both ‘faithful’ and ‘loyal’ show very similar definitions, even showing that the two words are relatively interchangeable.
Loyal: Faithful to one’s sovereign, government, commitments, obligations. Faithful to a leader, party, cause or to any person or thing conceived as deserving fidelity, vows or allegiances.
Faithful: Loyal, constant, reliable, trusted, true to one’s word, promises, vows, obligation and allegiances.
Loyalty is earned through past kindness, friendship, experiences and commitments that have been laid out in the past. You become loyal to a brand or product because it showed its quality, just as you are loyal to individuals in your life, based on the experiences you’ve been through together. It is our capacity for loyalty that binds us together.
Faithfulness, is what reaches back to us from the future. Faithfulness is based on a promise or a hope, it hasn’t happened yet, you need believe that it will. We cannot live solely for the sake of what has been, but for the hopeful vision of what can be, what will be… that hopeful vision is Faith, what is still to come.
So, apply that back to my original question, the answer is YES, there’s a difference between Loyal and Faithful. Loyalty is what has been earned based on the past, Faithfulness is the hope for the future. Now, can someone be ‘loyal’ without being ‘faithful’; yes, again. You can have loyalty to someone, based on their past dedications to you, while simultaneously believing that that they may not be capable of being faithful in the future. Just as such, you can believe that someone can be faithful, in the future, without ever having a past loyalty to them.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, my life seems to be in a constant state of mess, and I have a lot of doubts for my future. These doubts have led me to down the rabbit hole, which is what has prompted this post. I question the loyalty and faithfulness of my relationship. I know that my SO is ‘loyal’ to this family, will do anything that needs to be done. I know that I can call on him when I need help, if our son needs something, he does it… I have no doubts whatsoever that in the event of need, he will be there, he is ‘loyal’ to us. I am almost 100% certain however, that he’s not ‘faithful’ to us. I don’t believe that it is within his capacity to be ‘faithful’. He is incredibly narcissistic and requires a lot of validation. That narcissism often drives him to find validation and attention in places that would be considered ‘inappropriate’ by most people. Which then begs the question, should it matter? If you know that you can count on someone 100% to be there when you need them, to share the day to day obligations of your life, is it important whether they may not be 100% faithful? I’m finding that loyalty doesn’t have a gray area… it’s black or white, you’re either loyal or you’re not; while faithfulness has a multitude of gray shades. What one might consider infidelity, another may not.
Technology and social media have made it so easy for people to present themselves in any way they want to be seen. It has turned the better portion of society into narcists, constantly seeking likes, hearts, views. Only ever presenting the very best version of ourselves that we want the public to see. When in reality the truth is we are not filtered or glittered, angled, groomed or made up 99% of the time. We have all become so encompassed by what other people think of us, that we have forgotten the value of loyalty and faithfulness. These two words again, are so different, but yet the same. Why do we allow these ‘inappropriate’ actions create doubt in our relationships? Social Media likes, are today’s modern, “look buy don’t touch” – Shouldn’t the earned actions of past loyalty hold more weight than the doubt of faithfulness brought on by a false reality of people we don’t even know?
I honestly don’t know the answer, I don’t know if one is more important than the other, I don’t know if I even care. I do think that what is important to one person won’t matter to another. I do know that I value the loyalty of those in my life. I know that proven behavior of consistency and reliability of their allegiances holds more weight than trying to predict someone’s future behaviors.
As adults, we have the ability to design the life we want, no two friendships, no two relationships, are the same. We all possess free will, to choose what we allow for ourselves. While I see myself as both a loyal and faithful person, that doesn’t mean that my SO or my friends are. It’s a matter of comfort. Ultimately, what am I willing to accept for my life? Maybe I’m okay with only having loyalty, and leaving faithfulness in the gray area.
Like I said, a rabbit hole…