When Attachment and Authenticity Collide
We are all familiar with the obvious survival needs: Food, clothing, shelter. Equally important, but less acknowledged are attachment and authenticity. When these two needs align, we love and feel loved. Acceptance, freedom, kindness, and honesty flow freely. When they don’t or are in competition, we are left with everything from general happiness to depression and anxiety to suicidal ideation and social conflict.
Take, for example, the LGBTQ kids in my hometown. It’s a highly conservative, religious area that rejects scientific understanding of sexuality and gender. When LGBTQ are “in the closet,” i.e. living inauthentic lives, they suffer from double and triple the rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Let that sink in. Being inauthentic, especially in such a fundamental way, leads a child to thoughts of ending their life.
On the other hand, when these kids come out, they risk their lives in another way. They give up the attachment to their families and community. Hate crimes and homelessness among the LGBTQ kids have grown exponentially in the last five years. In my little county in Florida, there are over 1500 homeless LGBTQ youth. 1500 children left to fend for themselves, left hungry and alone in a world that would see them dead rather than allow them to be themselves. The suicidal ideation suddenly makes more sense!
If you have ever felt, “not good enough,” shame or suicidal thoughts that you do not understand, then you have felt the pain of the conflict between authenticity and attachment. Resolving these conflicts is essential and fundamental to our sense of well-being and ability to survive. To be good enough is to survive.