We all know the phrase “divided loyalty”. It suggests that one’s feelings toward the object of loyalty (whether that is a thing, a person, a country, a culture or an ideology) have in some way been split or fragmented. That one is trying to hold differing opinions which are causing some sort of personal division – of time, attention, perception of value or something similar.

At a deeper level, divided loyalty could be considered akin to the social psychological theories of cognitive dissonance, but I won’t go that far here.

Recently I have felt on the receiving end of the divided loyalty of others. Of course this is a perception on my part, but it is bringing up some pretty raw feelings of anger, frustration and, in some ways, sadness. It also means (to me) that change is afoot in these relationships, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I had noticed the negative feelings but wasn’t quite sure what they were associated with. Then this photo came across my desk and the language to explain what was going on fell into place.

I wanted to go out and hub a puppy!! Unfortunately, the only four-legged creature around here is the cat and, while she can be affectionate, cats are not necessarily known for being “loyal” (unless you are holding a bag of Temptations).

So the next best thing is to remind MYSELF of my own loyalties – to self, significant others, my spirituality and integrity, to the welfare of animals and so on.

Because, as always, I cannot control others and whether they are ‘loyal’ to me or not.

I can, however, control my own loyalties. They need not be divided.

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