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Beyond the Warmth of the Herd


We are born wired for both attachment and authenticity. As children, this often requires us to compromise our authenticity so we can remain attached, connected to our source of love, nourishment and safety. We do this because as dependent children our well-being – even our life can depend upon it.

As adults however, we no longer need to compromise our authenticity to be connected, yet it can often feel like we do need to compromise. In fact, our desire to feel connected can have a strong influence in even the smallest things in life, such as the following scenario:

“You want to grab dinner tonight?” 

“Sure, I’d love to.” you might reply.

“You feel like Italian or Thai?”

“Whatever you want.” you reply.

A simple response right? Except that the response,  “Whatever you want.”, is a phrase you have learned to compromise or avoid authenticity to feel connected. When we grow up afraid to say, “Neither, I feel like sushi.” you are bypassing an evolutionary step in becoming a Functional Adult.

One of my favorite quotes has always been, “I would rather be hated for who I am, then loved for whom I am not.” It seems crazy to feel that simply by saying, “Sushi”, connection to the other could be threatened. But that’s how childhood trauma lives in us – and acts out. I have a theory that we are all stuck at the age where we felt least loved. Perhaps take a moment now to harken back to some of your childhood memories. Such a trauma disrupts the courage to embrace our authenticity.

And though many seem to struggle with this evolutionary step of integrating both authenticity and attachment in our Functional Adult, simultaneously in the culture, there are more and more examples pointing to those who have made this step gracefully. 

For example, you may look to the entertainment industry with an artist like Lizzo who defies cultural definitions of what a woman in the public eye should weigh, or seventeen year old Grammy winner Billie Eilish who was fortunate to have parents who recognized that their child’s authentic nature needed to be home schooled to cultivate her creativity. 

It is also hard to ignore some of the profiles in courage we have witnessed on the world stage in the last several months. The Royal Couple, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry would step away from their inherited duties and move to another continent. A bold step of authenticity and love that seemed to defy gravity. Then there are the patriots who were willing to testify and speak their truth, such as Lt. Col. Vinman and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who both lost their jobs. And Senator Mitch Romney was willing to risk losing his connection to his party and a criminal president to stand in and speak his authentic truth.

They all risked losing connections and careers –  but will be connected in a deeper and more meaningful way to our collective humanity.

They were all willing to risk being hated for they are rather than loved for whom they are not.

You may not have been subpoenaed to testify against a president or be a juror at his impeachment trial and cast the only guilty vote of your party , but every one of us encounters situations where to stand in our truth might cause exclusion or disconnect from the security our tribe, family, and love. 

Whether it’s being born into an intrusive culture where your business is also the business of everyone in your family, requiring you to take a stand for privacy and choices that honor you, or even needing to cut off a toxic family member. It may come up in the workplace when you need to take a stand to be paid your full worth, or to speak a firm “No” to unwanted sexual advances.

There’s an invitation floating in the culture right now to defy the magnetic pull and comfort of the warmth of the herd, in exchange for the hot flame of what is true for you, to live in integrity. 

I find this issue quite prominent in my practice lately. May you heal the trauma that stands in the way of your authenticity. May you have the courage to answer the invitation when it calls you to walk your talk.

#irelease #functional adult #attachment #authenticity

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