The Act of Self-Loyalty
The Bushidō code is a combination of 8 different core virtues that directed the samurai on how to live. I have researched these virtues and have adopted and blended them into the context of the time we are now living. I have also discovered that focusing on these 8 virtues is a pathway to finding Work:Life Harmony for ourselves and living a life with more overall satisfaction.
I will be writing 8 different articles, one for each virtue: Justice, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Honor, Loyalty, & Self-Control. This is Article #7, Loyalty.
Loyalty requires intention
I used to have a hard time looking into my own eyes in the mirror. When I discovered the challenges I had, it occurred to me that I had a much bigger problem than I originally thought. I wasn’t just disloyal to myself, but to those around me as well.
Since that time, I have done the work to reflect regularly on how I am showing up for both myself and others. Showing gratitude to those around me, and honoring the journey that I have been on has become commonplace.
Once I took the initiative to practice self-care, I realized I had been ignoring my needs and wants in the past. This realization was the first time I acknowledged that I was sacrificing myself for others.
And, when they couldn’t figure out telepathically that I needed something as well, I’d get angry. I did nothing to let them know what I needed, but I did let them know that I was mad. It truly was a miserable way to live.
You might be thinking that’s an exaggeration. Well, I can tell you this is pretty much how the last several years of my first marriage were. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and as a result, I wasn’t happy with the person I saw in the mirror.
I wasn’t showing myself any sense of Loyalty at all by ignoring what I needed. I wouldn’t behave this way toward a friend or family member; so why was I okay with treating myself this way? I don’t know if it would’ve changed the outcome of my marriage, but I think I would have been an entirely different person in the end: much more self-aware.
If building loyalty to self requires intention, I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few ideas on how you can build more of it. These are some ideas that I practice regularly but I am sure that there are others. Let me know if you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them.
3 Ways to Build More Loyalty to Self
1. Routine — Have a morning routine where you can do small things that bring you joy. Whether that is enjoying a cup of coffee in your favorite mug, sitting down to read a book, or writing your next novel. Find time to do some small things that help you be more like yourself. Having my alone time in the morning while the world still sleeps at 4:30–5:30 a.m. is a magical time for me. It is when I do my best thinking and writing.
2. Hobbies — Invest time in yourself to do more of the things that you enjoy. If you like going on a run, make sure to set time aside to do that. If you can’t wait until the next time you can climb a mountain, schedule it now. If you’ve been waiting to take a pottery class but want to experience making something with your own hands, stop procrastinating and go do it.
3. Nature — Make it a point to commune with nature. If you have a park nearby, go and spend some time there. Look at the simplicity and the complexity of the plants that grow there. Run your fingers along the bark of a tree or the leaves of a plant. Feeling the life of the plant in your hands reminds you of the fact that everything is connected. The tree to the ground, the river to the ocean, the student to the teacher, even you and I. It is all connected.
If you’d like to learn more about Loyalty or the other 7 virtues of the Bushidō code check out my book Always Improving: Lessons from the samurai