Have you ever committed to yourself that you’d make a big change but then found yourself not following through? 

You planned to work on your new website for three hours this week, but then barely touched it. Or you promised yourself that you’d reach out to five different yoga studios about hosting your new class, but you never made the call. Or you told yourself you’d stop eating sugary snacks, but found your hand reaching for the cookies as if in a trance.

Regardless of your specific circumstances, you felt like invisible forces were holding you back. As if there was a great big rubber band pulling you back from your goals.

If you hold yourself back from success, you may have hidden loyalties that you have yet to address.

But what are hidden loyalties?

If part of you is resisting your commitment, this part is likely consciously or unconsciously loyal to something or someone who helped make you who you are today. If you follow through with your commitment, the part fears that you’ll lose your connection to who or what you’re loyal. It’s afraid of losing your sense of belonging within the borders of the group that have held you safe. It believes that it would be worse to be disloyal to these people than to take the risk to stay true to your commitment.

And the truth is, sticking to a commitment is risky business. Keeping a commitment to grow yourself requires loyalty to something in the future, something you have yet to experience. It takes courage to consciously end a way of being in the world— a project, a job, a business, a relationship— when you don’t know what you’ll get in return.

Our loyalties can go back generations and be completely unconscious.

For example, when a loved one dies before their time, the family members who survive may suffer from “survivor’s guilt.” They feel compelled to stay with the dead and sacrifice any peace, success, or happiness out of loyalty to the fate of their family members. This pattern can go on for generations, with next generations being unconsciously loyal to a grandparent or great-grandparent they never met.

Survivors guilt is one of the many reasons why it can be hard for folks who are engaged in social justice work to allow ourselves to experience joy. Many white folks bear the guilt of knowing that their families benefited from the deaths of African slaves or the systemic oppression of black folks for centuries since. And, descendants of slaves or others who’ve died at the hands of racism can feel the pull to honor their ancestors’ deaths by sacrificing their own happiness.

What we often don’t realize is that we honor our ancestors’ fates— and the fates of the victims of our ancestors— when we commit to living life fully. We’re called to hold the paradox and work to rectify the injuries of the past without sacrificing the  joy of the present.

So, how do you let go of a hidden loyalty?

There are often many steps to letting go of a hidden loyalty, but it is often enough to bring the loyalty to the light of conscious awareness. The more aware we are of what we’re at risk of losing and what we’re willing to let go of, the more capable we are of following through with our commitments.

With that in mind, I invite you to think of a commitment that you’re struggling to follow through with. Then, ask yourself the following questions:

  • To whom or what would you be unfaithful if you went ahead with your commitment?
  • What are you willing to lose to say yes to your commitment?
  • To whom or what are you committed to saying yes?
  • To whom or what are you ready to say “no” or “not anymore?”
  • How will you resource yourself to stay true to your commitment?

I invite you to give yourself time to ponder these questions. Relinquishing your loyalty to someone important to you is a big deal. And choosing to follow a commitment when you don’t know what’s in store is one of the most courageous acts there is. 

Please know that I’m sending lots of en-courage-ment your way, and if you’re longing for more support, please feel free to reach out.

Much love,



Forgot Password?

Join Us