Be Loyal To The Absent
It’s human nature to be negative. We tend to notice the things that are wrong with a situation and to focus our energy on the negative things, when we really should be magnifying and uplifting everything that is good about a situation or a person.
I learned this lesson after I was in my first year of marriage and heading off to Colorado to start a life with my new bride. I was lucky to find a mentor in a man that took an interest in me and my future. He was a successful businessman, a Christian, and in a successful and committed marriage. He took me aside one evening. “Erick, there are couple of things I need you to understand. First, never talk negative about your wife with other people. It’s not good for your marriage and you will only make yourself look bad. Next, learn to always be loyal to the absent.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Never talk negative about another person with others when that person is not present. First, you will make the others around you uncomfortable, because they will wonder what you say about them when they are not around. Second, it will eventually degrade your relationship with the person you are talking about, because you will feel guilty when you are with them.”
“What do I do when someone else talks negative about someone?” I pushed the topic.
“Walk away, you probably don’t want to associate with that person anyway.”
It was simple advice, but advice that is hard to follow nonetheless. People frustrate me sometimes and it can feel good to complain to others about an issue I have with someone. Tearing a person down, can make us feel that we are building ourselves up. We can find common ground and make connections with our coworker by talking behind our boss’ back, but in the end, no one wins and eventually it comes back to haunt us.
I know I have to work on this and catch myself before I throw out a negative comment about someone when discussing an issue with my friends. It’s a lifelong challenge that I’m willing to take on, because I understand the importance of encouragement, loyalty, and faith.
If you have a problem with someone, have the courage to approach them directly. I wish I could say that I follow this policy every time. I don’t, but it’s my goal. This area of my life is a work in progress, but I’m committed to follow through with it and become a person that people can trust. In the end, I realize there is someone probably speaking negative things about me. However, I know there are many that are refusing to do that to me and are remaining loyal in spite of myself. Those are the people I want to associate with and that is the person I want to be. How about you?