Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | June 27, 2011

Loyalty and Betrayal

I’ve posted previously that one of the aspects of tai chi leadership is engendering a sense of loyalty. I’ve tried to put this into practice at work, in teaching students, in my relationships with friends and family. We do this by being loving, trusting, helpful, building people up instead of tearing them down, and being forgiving. We also have a high sense of awareness to see the larger picture, to see the larger scope of things, and by eschewing the desires of the ego, which leads us to using others instead of being in a healthy relationship with them.

Feelings are hurt the most when we think we have been betrayed by the people we trusted the most.

So how do we cope with it when we have engendered loyalty and we feel it has been betrayed? I’m thinking about this. Do we go to the movie the Godfather and fix it that way? Do we cut people out of our lives forever, do we hold grudges forever? Is our ego so assaulted that we turn loved ones into enemies? Do they deserve to be? Isn’t it perhaps the biggest sin to be a benedict arnold, to betray someone, to turn on someone, to be the dog that bites the hand that feeds it?

Some realizations about this. A lot of people will do something disloyal because they don’t know any better. Sometimes they do things with the best of intentions, sometimes they are motivated by emotions and selfishness and greed. I think there is still hope of communicating, forgiving, growing and moving on in these instances. We must also be aware of how much the feelings of betrayal are based on ego desires. Maybe the person didn’t listen to you because what you wanted wasn’t the right thing. Blind loyalty is not the goal. True loyalty is. Forgiveness is an amazing quality that works.

Unfortunately, there may be times in our lives when someone truly does betray our trust intentionally, when they are looking to hurt us, when they don’t care about us anymore. I’ve never believed really in vengeance or revenge. I’ve seen too many movies for that. But I do believe in justice and balance, and there may be times when we need to remove someone from our sphere or circle. It is sad, but tai chi is not all softness. It is soft and hard. And sometimes there may be an occasion in our lives when we must be hard. Tai chi practice helps to develop the inner wisdom to discern.

We all want love, we all want loyalty. By creating tru, tai chi esque relationships, we protect ourselves from most betrayals because they are based on truth, love, trust, and compassion.

Being loyal is also important. It’s hard to expect it from others if we are not loyal ourselves. And, of course, the biggest temptation to not being loyal is again the desires of the ego.



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