Happy Mani’s Day
I always have a little twinge of guilt when I write about fidelity or loyalty. I have had an affair. I am not proud of it but it happened. I can’t say that all of it was bad either as the reasons I did it were real and in some ways could be justified as I felt at the time loyalty was harmful to me in a lot of ways. My loyalty to my wife was harmful because it seemed to benefit her far more than it did me. It led to a passive-aggressive relationship. My sarcasm is usually playful but at the time with her, it could be biting and it was the same the other way.
As an atheist, fidelity has a give and take to it. For a long time, I felt love was to sacrifice even to the point of being loyal to a fault. If anything has changed it has the realization that the person I need to love the most and be loyal to the most is myself. I am all I really have no matter what others may do. The blind loyalty expected of Christians I now see for what it is – the groundwork to use people for your own ends by playing on their loyalty. Pride is removed in Christian loyalty which means you can make people do anything because they have no honor and no shame.
Fidelity under Asatru, however, is different. It has honor as its foundation so no amount of loyalty should robe you of your pride. If anything fidelity should either build your pride and thus lead to greater honor or it should cause you shame when you fail so you work to make it right and truly a two-way street. Above all, there is no demand to sacrifice your loyalty to yourself – ever.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”
The need here for me was to change my expectations of loyalty to myself. If there has been one struggle that is affecting all my relationships it is the fact that sometimes I have walked away because I still have my pride and I will not deal with people who do not respect it. I will not tolerate disloyalty, even from myself, and the challenge is to know when that is happening.
What I want is to restore my sense of honor and loyalty to myself. I do not want compromise to the point where I am in any relationship that has all the benefits or even most of them are going one way – away from myself to the other person. Mutually beneficial is what I am after here; where loyalty is the strength of those relationships.
The problem is I can usually rationally see what needs to be done in each relationship. I have done the infamous INFJ door slam to several people but it takes a lot for me to get there. Mostly though I don’t want to cause pain to others because I get a feedback loop emotionally. It’s kind fo bitch to know how far you can go before the negative emotions of others start to affect you emotionally. Reasonably, I can see each relationship and know what to do or should do. It is the emotional lines in the sand I don’t want to cross that can get in the way.
The wisdom is never let loyalty to be slavery to the other person. Someone who cares about you and is loyal to you will want you to be free and not want you to be their slave. If they cross that line too many times it might be time to let go – self-respect, honor, and fidelity to self are far more important than any relationship.
Fidelity is important to me and mostly the shift caused by the crisis and becoming an atheist has been to be a person who is loyal first to himself and then everyone else. My moral philosophy and my loyalty to it and myself are the central things in my life. Every other relationship needs to build that loyalty to myself or respect it, or I am going to have a problem with it.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.