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Is there ever a time when loyalty could hurt? Loyalty the glue that bonds relationships together. Without loyalty it is difficult to have a friendship at all. Many of the Avengers are profoundly loyal to each other. Steve Rogers and Bucky come to mind as prime examples. But as for Vision and Tony Stark—I believe their loyalty to each other is dangerous.
Vision is a mix of human and machine, the body made by Ultron and the consciousness created by Tony Stark. Vision is loyal to Tony, mostly since half of his identity is made from Jarvis, Tony’s artificial intelligence butler. In Captain America: Civil War, he sides with Tony, not necessarily because he believes that what Tony believes is right, but because of loyalty. He does what Tony wants because they’re friends.
There’s an ongoing saying that we become who we spend time with. We tend to pick up our friends’ character traits—from their way of speaking to their morals. But loyalty shouldn’t mean conformity. Our friends shouldn’t define our beliefs.
After Bucky was turned into the Winter Soldier, he completely changed from the loyal best friend of Steve Rogers to a cold-hearted killer. If it wasn’t for Cap’s loyalty and perseverance in their friendship, he probably would have continued down a dark path. One of the most powerful scenes in Civil War for me was when Cap grabbed onto the helicopter and pulled it back onto the landing pad. He was not going to let Bucky go. He was not going to give up on him, and in the end, his influence won Bucky over.
Throughout my life, I have let my friends influence me. Whether that change was positive or not depended on the people I associated with on a regular basis. When I spent time with girls who were more concerned about appearance and popularity than about the next Narnia movie, I felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to say anything to make them dislike me; at the time, I desired their approval. When I hung out with my atheist friends, I found myself beginning to question some of my beliefs. When I’ve spent time with my friends who believe in encouraging others, who love many of the same things I do and also accept our differences, I’ve felt more positive and free to be myself.
The reason I let myself be influenced by others? I want to be liked. I want to please. Therefore, when I’m around other people I try to fit in. I don’t like criticism and I don’t want to upset anyone by contradicting them. As a fiercely loyal person, I will stick by someone who considers me a friend no matter what. Sometimes this is good. Other times, not so much.
In the past, I’ve clung to relationships that I needed to loosen my grip on. Loyalty is a strong trait, but it can damage me if I feel it for the wrong reasons. My loyalty has been a strength for friends who’ve been hurt in the past, who feel abandoned because of their circumstances. I believe it’s important to stand by your friends even when it becomes hard, when they’re facing difficulties and they need someone to lean on. I can be that someone.
I want to influence those around me in a positive manner like Cap did for Bucky. I want to help my friends in their struggles. I want to be loyal to them and not let them go easily. I want them to know that I’m not going to give up on them without a fight.
Though loyalty can hurt, it is a sound virtue when used wisely. And there, I think, lies the heart of the matter: wisdom. I can use my past mistakes, my desire to please others when I should be standing up for my beliefs and opinions, to inform my future loyalties. While Vision’s loyalty comes from debt and gratitude, Cap’s comes from wisdom; Cap’s is the kind I want to emulate, so I can use my loyalty as a strength, as a way to build others up and stand firm.