This week I’ll say a little word on an issue redundantly close to everyone’s heart: love. I know, bad joke.
Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone at least pretends to want to love. The prevalent theory goes, if you love someone, then you should show it. Naturally, then, the biggest and splashiest displays of affection are the ones that get the most attention. So let me say a few words about loyalty.
There is what is seen and what is not seen. In economics, we see (and pay attention to) the effects of a broken window, or maybe a war, in stimulating economic growth. What we don’t see is the lost economic growth when the money is sunk into replacing a broken window instead of being spent for more useful purposes, or how a country’s economy might have flourished by producing more creative things, rather than fueling destruction.
So it is with love. Focus too much on the big fancy roses, dinners, public declarations and whatnot, and you might miss the constant, steadfast dedication of being trustworthy and loyal. That peace you feel knowing you won’t be cheated on? That took a lot of love. The daily lack of problems and complaints from your special friend? Lots of patience and self-sacrifice involved there. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you have someone you can count on to be there for you through thick and thin, for better or for worse, whether you’re being nice and thoughtful or a complete jerk? The fruit of eternal dedication, endless hard work, and love so strong it exhausts the heart on a regular basis. That is true loyalty.
The problem is, loyalty has a terrible PR department. It’s awful at seeing to it that its efforts are appreciated. So it’s up to us all. To that person in your life who has oh-so-quietly been constant and loyal, make him or her perfectly aware of one thing: that there is nothing more precious to you in the world.