Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


23 Comments

A Gifted Multipotentialite in Germany

” At 19, I was so, so utterly lost. I had no idea what to study in college, who to be, what to do. Everyone else felt like by choosing a major, their life was taking shape and finally starting for real. I felt like by choosing, I had to accomplish the impossible.”

Luisa is now 26. She wrote to me about her struggles in school trying to decide what to study when she had so many interests. “I have basically been having a recurring existential crisis over what subject to study, who to become. How for years, I have been working on maybe, somehow, some day, not being devastated about not being able to become everything I could see myself becoming one day. I wanted to study: chemistry, physics, mathematics, music, Latin, philosophy, medicine, psychology, writing, and so much more…”

(photo brooke cagle, unsplash)

She did not know she was gifted until a college counselor suggested she take an IQ test. The result put her on the road to reading everything she could find about giftedness.

“I was struggling to think of myself as gifted because I didn’t fit the idea of it that I carried with me. I did have many friends, I was sociable, kind, I enjoyed watching soccer, taking walks in the woods, drinking coffee with my friends, shopping for nice dresses–in short, I was nothing special. Of course at the same time, in many other ways, I was an absolute weirdo. But I disregarded that fact when thinking about who or what I would have to be to fit the gifted criteria.”

It took a lot of research to convince her. She wrote to me that finding out about rainforest minds changed everything. “…sometimes I felt like you understood what’s going on inside my brain better than I did. Things, little by little, started to make sense…”

Luisa began to be more self-accepting as she was able to see she was not alone, that her struggles were due to the complexities of her rainforest mind, particularly her multipotentiality. But she continues to grapple with career decisions and the pressure to choose one thing, her worries about the roads not taken, the what ifs, “this raging desire to go somewhere else, be something else, be everybody or, even better, be nobody.” She expressed gratitude for her good life. But the multipotentiality frightened and exhausted her.

“…In so many other aspects of my life, I am so perfectly fine with my oddities, intensity, and my rainforestmindedness. I have friends who I love and who love me. I have played all the instruments, learned all the languages, hitchhiked through Scotland, Sweden, France and Spain, slept out in the wild, laid naked in the sand of the Cote Catalane. I have tried my best to not beat myself up over not being perfect and I think I’m doing good. I like who I am. But these doubts about my profession, my choices, being a doctor or pharmacist or psychologist…See people often say that it’s not true that once you decide on a major, you have basically made a career choice you can’t revise. And I know how they mean it, I know of the many possibilities career paths offer these days. But it’s also a bit true that there are things you won’t be, can’t be, then…But to me, it’s the one big thing I can’t come to terms with…I am tired of being frightened that I may look back on this stage of my life later on, thinking, I wish I had made different choices. Tired of being mad at myself for not being able to enjoy what I have, what I am doing, rather than be stuck pondering all the things I am not. …”

So, I told Luisa– All of the rainforest-minded multipotentialites around the world are nodding their heads in solidarity. They are crying with you over the distress. They are grieving with you for the choices that they had to let go of. They understand the exhaustion and the fear. And yet, they also know that there is time to follow many paths and each one will have its own rewards and pitfalls. They know that in today’s world, career changes are expected; particularly among the more creative. And along any of the career paths will be options for hobbies and side projects, new music to play, beaches to lie upon, travels to take. (Many of these multipods are in the Puttyverse.)

I also suggested that Luisa start a meditation practice where she imagines she meets an inner advisor or a spiritual guide or her future self. That she learn to tune into her deeper knowing, her intuition. Maybe she writes in a journal or walks in nature. But she builds her ability to tune into herself to aid in her decision making. What does her inner advisor want her to know? What path opens her heart right now? It may take some time to learn to listen. But the process is a powerful one.

And, finally, I wondered with Luisa, if what might be most important, is who you become. No matter what you choose and how often you change career paths, the person you become is not dependent on your careers. You get to decide who you are regardless of the many paths you take. And maybe you are her, already. You are Luisa. The deep thinking, highly sensitive, seriously creative, endlessly curious, big-hearted, constantly seeking, glorious human.

And that will never change.

_________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Let Luisa know how you relate to her struggles in the comments. And thank you, as always, for your sweet, smart sensitivity. By the way, I so appreciate the emails from those of you sharing your experiences with love and partnering. See this post for details. I also want to hear from those of you who are happily single or are single and seeking partners. It might even be therapeutic for you to think about this and write about it. So, write to me! paula@rainforestmind.com.


46 Comments

Help Me Write the Book on Partnership Love and Rainforest Minds

I have looked all over the planet for a book specifically for rainforest minds on how to find partnership love and how, once you find it, how to nourish, grow, expand, and deepen it. Sure, there are many books on manifesting the love of your life and on mastering relationship skills. They are helpful. But I have not found the one that explains the particular jungle-ish issues that come when you live a rainforest-y life and you want to share it with a mate.

(photo courtesy of Michelle, Unsplash)

So I am writing that book.

Will you help?

What should be in this book? I want to know what you want to know. What are your questions, thoughts, feelings, ruminations, and experiences on this topic? If you are in a partnership, how did you meet? What are the challenges you are facing? What are the blessings? What is your advice for others? How are your rainforest traits impacting the relationship? Are you partnered with another RFM or not? What is that like?

If you are single and wanting to be partnered, (You may be happily, contentedly, relievedly single. I have actually been there for many years so I appreciate that choice. There can be great love in your life for sure. Being partnered is only one track, of many, to love.) tell us about that. What do you think is in the way of finding someone? How has having a rainforest mind been challenging or an advantage? Do you prefer being single to being matched with someone who doesn’t have similar depth, sensitivity, and intellect? Have you been partnered in the past and unable to navigate the stresses or discovered too much incompatibility? Have patterns and behaviors in your family of origin or self-critical beliefs made it difficult?

You are welcome to write your responses in the comments below but if you would like to write a lot, which I encourage, please send me an email. paula@rainforestmind.com. What you write need not be perfectly expressed or particularly eloquent. A quick list of thoughts, questions, and experiences would be lovely. Just jotting a few ideas or writing a long diatribe (email please) are both most welcome. Your ideas will help me get a sense of direction for the book and also provide some content. I may quote you but will not reveal your identity. (Or you can ask me not to quote you.) I would love to have diverse views from many different cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, and ages.

As you know, people often write books not because they already know the thing, but because they need to figure something out. They write to understand or gain the insight they are seeking.

That would be me. And this book. Join me in figuring this shit stuff out.

___________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Thank you!!! If you have a lot to tell me but do not want to write it all down and would rather have a conversation, email me and we can set up a time to talk. Here are a couple of posts on the topic that are places to begin this journey. This one and this one.


31 Comments

Letters to My Future Boyfriend – A Journaling Technique

(To my bloggEEs: I want to share another personal musing along with a journaling technique you can use. As you may know, I have been single for a while. I am living a beautifully full life in my childfree singlehood. That said, I believe it is time for me to explore deep, meaningful, loving partnership in this, my last act. So, I started a journal, writing letters to my future person. My future mate. My future sweetie.  In the letters, I sort out what I want, what I fear, what I don’t want, what inner work I still need to do, who I am, and who he is. On occasion, he writes back. If you are looking for partnership, you might want to write your own collection of letters!  *Let us know if you do.* And if, dear bloggEEs, my future boyfriend is cavorting in your neighborhood, please send him my way. You know where to find me.)

This is one of my first letters:

Dear Future Boyfriend,

You will need to know some things about me before you venture into my world, into the lush jungle that is my rainforest mind.

I’ll start with my head. I have a lot of hair. Massive amounts of exuberant, overexcitable, ridiculous hair. I try to control it. But I am unsuccessful. You might think that this is a wonderful thing. But I’m warning you. Wildly untamed aspects of my psyche live in my curls.

Next. I am sensitive. Very sensitive. This is good if you need me to be perceptive, insightful, generous, loving, and kind. This is not good if you want to avoid dealing with the effects of your dysfunctional family of origin. And if you like emotions, I’m your gal. Deep, intense, rich emotions. But you will be happy to know I have been in therapy for many years, so the rage is, well, negligible. It only surfaces in times of extreme stress or when I feel trapped. Or when I run out of estrogen. Or hair products.

Like many of the rainforest-minded, I am on a spiritual quest. I’m obsessed with living into a heart-centered, purposeful, magical life. (You, too?)  I want to contribute something meaningful to our troubled planet and connect to a spirituality that I suspect is both inside me and around me. Unlike those who find their spirituality in religion or nature, however, my quest takes me other places.

I find my connection to the Mystery in more unusual ways. Once, while dancing the Argentine tango, I felt a spiritual message coming from under the dance floor. Yes, under the dance floor. It was a message of support and sweetness from what I imagine as The Big Love or, since you are probably a Star Wars fan, as The Force.

And if that isn’t odd enough, I also sing. But it’s not what you think. Although I used to have a penchant for Broadway musicals, I now seem to be singing soothing, sometimes amusing, melodies channeled from distant galaxies. When we meet, I will demonstrate. Because you are my mate, it will all make sense. It will make sense, in a compelling, metaphysical, rainforest-y way.

Oh, did I mention I am a psychotherapist seeking to change the world one dysfunctional family at a time?

There are normal things about me I could share. And I will in future letters. I just thought I would get some of the weirder stuff my more unique traits out of the way. Just to be sure you know what you are getting into.

So that’s me, Future Boyfriend. I would like you to show up soon. I am not getting any younger. And we have things to do. Dances to dance. Songs to sing. Hair to control. Magic to make.

May The Big Love be with you,

Paula


19 Comments

Resources for Inspiration, Information, and Introspection for Your Curious, Compassionate, and Overwhelmed Mind and Heart

“…i suspect the future will be shaped by all that we are feeling in the present. i believe that asking each other for help is self-love, and answering honestly is self-love, and giving what we can is community love. and love is what will reshape the pattern of humanity. even through the tears, i know that…” adrienne maree brown

I am thinking of you today as 2021 is drawing to a close. It has been another hard year here on planet earth. I have been so grateful to have all of you to talk with. When life has felt lonely or mildly catastrophic, there was always you, my peeps, my bloggEEs, my friends.

So, it is a good time to share some resources I use that might help you in the coming year and beyond.

Creating a Better World

When you have a rainforest mind, you are naturally drawn to finding ways to make a positive impact in both your personal life and in the larger spheres. Right now, I am reading and following: Resmaa Menakem, Van Jones, (racism, justice) Kim Nicholas, Gen Dread, Emma Watson, adrienne maree brown (climate crisis, vision/change), the evolutionary collective: Patricia Albere, (transformation, evolution, unity)

Inner Work

You know I am a big believer in introspection. Doing your inner work is one powerful way to heal yourself and your family and to have an impact on the larger human interconnected web. There is psychotherapy. A list of practitioners in the US who understand giftedness is here. If you do not want or need therapy or can not find a good match, there are these excellent self-help books the come with journaling guides: Glennon Doyle, Untamed, Get Untamed: The Journal; Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: The Workbook.

Memoirs, Novels, Stories, Podcasts, Movies

Of course, as a therapist, I love to read memoirs. The memoirs I am reading are Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad, Smile by Sarah Ruhl, and Unbound by Tarana Burke. I don’t have suggestions right now in the other categories but hope you will fill those in when you comment below!

Music, Dance, Joy

How could we get through life without music? I used to be a corny Broadway musicals kind of person. I still am. But these days I am soothed by Josh Groban and Dougie MacLean and energized by Pink. This year, I am taking an online singing class with two Australian musician brothers who are big-hearted beautiful humans. The Brothers Koren. This song is theirs: The Joy Generation. I recommend a daily practice of this song, with free-range dancing included.

What else?

For a welcoming and productive community of multipotentialites: Join the Puttyverse.

To find other rainforest minds (until it’s safe to tango) look for a silent book club in your town or start one.

If you are a parent of a gifted child and want to connect with other parents, explore GHF Learners.

If you want to learn more about twice exceptionality, contact Julie Skolnick (kids and adults) or Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz (kids) or Summit Center.

And most of all, remember to sing, dance, and look for (and create) the joy.

“We dance and we love. We dance and we feel. We dance and we play. We dance and we heal. We open our eyes. We reach for the sun. We dance to be joy. We dance to be one. We are the joy generation.” the Brothers Koren

________________________________

To my bloggEEs: What are the books, podcasts, websites, people, music, and other resources that are helping you manage the stressful, tumultuous issues of our times and that help you find hope, inspiration, action, and direction? And, thank you, thank you, thank you.


10 Comments

Holidays, Books, Poofy Hair, and Other Important Matters

You may know I have been making my debut on Instagram with clever memes and shocking hilarious revealing occasional videos. I imagine I am the oldest video meme-ographer in Instagram history. Below is my most recent 4 minute video. I wanted to share it with you, my dearest bloggEEs, so you can see the face, voice, and hair behind the written word. You, after all, are my first loves. It all started here. And it continues here, of course, for, well, as long as I have my internet, my laptop, my faculties, and you.

A couple of corrections to the video: First, it is probably not the best idea to take your kids to a homeless shelter! Maybe a better idea is to contribute to a nonprofit or a needy family, or design a new, meaningful ritual. Second, you may not read nonfiction more than once or completely, but it is quite possible you have read your favorite beloved stories any number of times. I know someone who read The Lord of the Rings trilogy eleven times. So far.

Thank you for watching, my sweet chickadees. I hope you find or create what you need for this holiday season. And may your celebrations be filled with inspiring books, deep meaning, recycled wrapping paper, and big-wild-hair love.

_____________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Just so you know, I am working on that post about loving learning (multipotentiality) from your comments on my last post. So. How are you doing? Have you read my books? What were some of your insights from the reading? Do you have recommendations for other books that might make good gifts this year? Thank you, as always, for your love.


44 Comments

Tango Lessons — The Benefits of Being Klutzy

It was 1999. I needed something new. A creative outlet. A way to meet new people and improve my social skills. I had always been attracted to dancing but had never taken classes, unless you include my brief stint with ballet at age 11 with the strict, intimidating Russian woman who terrified me. I decided to try ballroom dancing at our local community college.

It was a gentle beginning. A nonthreatening potpourri of dance genres and styles. Kinda fun. While in the class, I learned about other dance opportunities in town. There was west coast swing on Mondays, salsa on Tuesdays, contra dancing on Saturdays, ecstatic dance on Wednesdays, and Argentine tango on Sundays. And so, I ventured out into the eclectic dance world of Eugene, Oregon.

(Note: If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have come across the adventures of Andrei and my Tango Therapy. But this is not that story.)

I first tried West Coast Swing (where I met Andrei) but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. And the community of dancers was a bit too competitive and kind of clique-ish.

So, next, I experimented with salsa. I loved the beat of the music and had a certain knack for it. But the dance events didn’t even start until 10pm and everyone there looked to be about 14 years old. So I didn’t stick with it.

(Another note: I skipped over contra and ecstatic dancing. I admit to an unfair bias. My town is known for being what might affectionately be called hippie dippy. I appreciate the progressive leanings of that population for sure but not the garlic scent that can accompany some of the dancers. Apologies to my readers who are garlic lovers or who identify as hippies.)

Then, there was the Argentine tango.

I remember the first day. I slipped into the room, standing in the shadows, hiding, just to see what was up. It looked impossible. I watched the dancers moving gracefully around the floor. Striding. Legs flicking to the haunting music. Bodies glued together. How did they do that?

But something was telling me to give it a try. And yet. I do not like looking like a klutz. Or a beginner. Or stupid. Or uncool.

Not that I was ever cool.

So. I decided to risk klutziness and stupidity, in spite of myself. And it worked. In a short few months, I was obsessed. (It took much longer to get unklutzy and smart-ish.) I mean really. Here we are now in a pandemic where no one is likely dancing the Argentine tango and I am still writing about it. That obsessed. Over time, I even experienced moments of pure astonishing unity when I was so connected with my partner, we were one body, one heart, and 4 legs.

You may ask, then, what does this have to do with you. Right? Surely I am not asking you to wrap your arms around total strangers and breathe on them during a pandemic!

That is correct. Read on.

I want you to try something new. Something you have always wanted to do. I want you to risk looking like a klutz, a beginner, stupid, or uncool. I know it will be hard. You are used to learning quickly whatever you try. If you might fail or even make mistakes along the way, you avoid it. Am I right?

This is typical rainforest-minded behavior. If your identity is linked deeply to being smart and the best at whatever you try, because that is what got you attention, or why you thought you were loved, then having to struggle, to not know something, even to have to practice to build your skills, may feel intimidating, uncomfortable, and even terrifying.

But, I am here to tell you that the risks are worth it. They really are. If you have kids, you will be saving them from those same fears if you show them it is OK to make mistakes or even fail. If you care about the future of the planet, and I know you do, breaking through your limits can expand your reach and your impact. It can build your confidence and open new doors to unknown possibilities.

It might even bring you pure astonishing unklutzified unity.

_____________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Tell us about any fears you might have of trying something new. Are you used to being the best or of knowing it before you learn it? Do you have anxiety around mistakes or failure? What might you be willing to try to expand your horizons?


40 Comments

The Holiday Season Blues — Rainforest Mind Edition

I spent time rereading my old blog posts this week. I was pretty impressed, if I do say so myself! (including the thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments) I wasn’t sure what to write next. But considering the holiday season, it seemed appropriate to gather up some posts that might be worth revisiting, particularly those that would be relevant to the holiday season blues–posts about the particular challenges for RFMs getting through these times and facing the usual familiar loneliness, intensified, along with the pressures of being highly sensitive and socially conscious in a pandemic, climate crisis, and increasingly divisive world.

As much as I hate to admit it, I succumb to the blues this time of year. Even with my trusty blog, adoring fans, thriving practice, emotional support animal sweater, and kind-hearted friends, I can still lose sight of how privileged I am and, instead, head down the luge into the psychic swamp where old therapists go to eat their pumpkin pie alone and reread Carl Jung’s greatest hits for the tenth time. It isn’t pretty.

(photo by yogendra singh, unsplash)

So, I am with you, my sweetest rainforesters. Join me in the psychic swamp. We shall eat our pumpkin pie alone together.

Surviving the Hectic, Harrowing, Holiday Season Hoopla

“…No one is immune to the hectic harrowing holiday season hoopla. You may think that you’re the only one bewildered, lonely or sad. You aren’t. And if you’re super sensitive and if you have high ethical standards and a social conscience, this may be a particularly tough time. It’s a crazy world right now. And if you’re like me, single and childfree, you might have mixed feelings while you watch the frenetic humans running hither and  yon…”

Fifteen Quick Reminders To Help You Make It Through the Holidaze

“…2  You’re not a failure as a human being if your siblings went to Stanford and are all doctors and have two and a half kids and you’re still wondering what to do when you grow up because you took a detour into drug treatment and psychotherapy because your soft heart and gentle spirit needed to heal…”

Finding Meaningful Friendships When You Are (Annoyingly) Perceptive And (Excrutiatingly) Sensitive

“…Of course, you can always start a blog or write a book. I have found some of my favorite humans through my writing. One of them, Tina, would win the girlfriend of the year contest, if such a thing existed. She lives 1,254.1 miles away from me. Is 18 years younger. (OMG. I could be her mother.) Has two teenage kids and a hubby. But that doesn’t stop her. Or me. You see? You can think outside the box when it comes to friendships. You will need to. Because of the wonders of technology, though, it is possible to experience a deeply satisfying, sweet, loving, even daily connection. The daily part has been important to me. Being single, I have longed for a person who checks in every day. And so, it seems, does Tina. It is a long-distance-but-that-doesn’t-matter girlfriend love fest…”

Super Sensitive? Super Smart? Super Lonely

“…It’s hard to find other beings with rainforest minds. Maybe you get frustrated by your relatives who dismiss your insights and take your kindness for granted. Perhaps you long for deep conversation and exuberant debate but end up with small talk and platitudes. Maybe you think it’s your job to save everyone so you befriend all comers, willy nilly. Maybe you meet someone who looks like a prospect but when they find out that you speak 4 languages, write music, paint, read books obsessively, and adore quantum physics, they remember that they have a dying uncle in Idaho who needs them. Right away. Maybe you’ve never found a soul who has the same capacity for sorrow and joy…”

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely?

“…You think you’re explaining your ideas quite thoroughly and clearly. But your listeners aren’t listening. They’re lost in your creative leaps and poetic language. Or they don’t really care about the future of the electric car. Or they think your enthusiasm for mycelium is weird…”

Lonely? Find your Pips

“…You were too excited by Jane Austen. You were too curious about black holes and sea anemones. You were too emotional when you were teased. You were too incensed when teachers were unfair. You were too disappointed when the world let you down. You still are…”

“Beam Me Up Scotty” Social Responsibility And Your Super Smart, Sensitive Soul

“…Get in touch with the activities and skills that bring you joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Then, use your creativity to turn one or more of them into a community building or global-oriented service project that will change minds and hearts. Design a project that will spread more love. That will soften the divide and reduce the fear. It doesn’t have to grow into a global phenomenon. But it can. You may hesitate because you feel that whatever you do won’t be grand enough. Won’t be perfect enough. Don’t let that stop you…” 

___________________________________

To my bloggEEs: You know that writing to you sustains me, right? How is your holiday season? What is challenging for you? What do you do to create peace or to find others? And, if your holidays are joyful, tell us about it. Share the joy! And keep writing those thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments. Much love and gratitude to you all.


25 Comments

You Agree, You Are Gifted — Now What?

I rant a lot about how you need to recognize you have a rainforest mind so you can find greater self-acceptance, self-confidence, and move ahead into your fulfilling, meaningful, creative life. Right? But what if you already know you are gifted? What then?

A blog reader put it this way:

(photo from Unsplash)

“…NOW WHAT? What do I do with that knowledge? How do I find more/others (friends?)? How do I honor this part of myself without making other people feel awkward (without making myself feel awkward)? How do I trust that my perspective is wanted/needed when the messages I often got were that I was too much? How do I stay open to my gifts when they don’t result in actual success, but are often a source of pain and indecision and overwhelm?…”

What a great bunch of questions. Here are my answers:

What do I do with that knowledge?

You use it to finally make sense of and love the complicated jungle of fabuliciousness that is you.

How do I find more/others (friends)?

Gifted folks are hard to find. And even when you find one, they may not be quite right for you. I have written about it here. And here. One basic strategy: Take what you know about rainforest-mindedness and look for others while doing things you love. Use your intuition to sniff out the gifted souls. Then take the brave step of introducing yourself and asking them to coffee or tea or to the library. If they look at you like you are out of your mind, then move on, giving yourself credit for your courage and knowing it is sad for them that they will never know the amazing you, and they must be a muggle disguised as a wizard. If they say, yes, you still may need to court them for a while if they have busy lives. But it will be worth it if they are a good catch. Eventually, they will thank you for it. One way to improve the odds of finding someone is to start or join a Silent Book Club. Reading, of course, is likely to attract many RFMs which will make your job much easier. It is never too late to find your besties.

How do I honor this part of myself without making other people (and myself) feel awkward?

You honor yourself by learning to trust yourself, no matter what others think, and regardless of any looming imaginary or real failures. Or potential successes. That said, you will need to be cautious when talking about giftedness. Using the G word could trigger resentment, ridicule, or rejection. Using the rainforest metaphor when explaining who you are, might make it easier, especially if you use my quiz as a way to add some humor. But even that requires some finesse. One approach would be to avoid using any label and just talk about your traits. In other words, talk about how you are super analytical, a divergent thinker, a lover of learning so many things, and so on. Sharing who you truly are with close friends and caring family is important. It just takes some delicate navigation. Then again, when you find like minds, little or no finesse is required.

How do I trust that my perspective is wanted/needed when the messages I often got were that I was too much?

It depends on the circumstances. You will probably need to evaluate each particular situation for the other person’s readiness for your perspective. The reality is, with advanced intelligence, others may not be able to keep up with you or even understand the depth or the complexity of what you are sharing. This may be the too muchness they are referring to. It is not your fault. You may need to ask if they want to hear your thoughts. Use your intuition to decide if the timing is right. Then again, if you were told you were too much by dysfunctional family members and you are now living with people who know and appreciate you, it is likely you can be yourself with abandon.

How do I stay open to my gifts when they don’t result in actual success, but are often a source of pain and indecision and overwhelm?

Take plenty of time for introspection to examine and heal the pain. Journaling and therapy might help, along with time in nature and a spiritual practice. With indecision, you may need to work on perfectionism and self-doubt but also give yourself credit for your creative mind that comes up with so many possibilities. Learning to trust your intuition helps with indecision. For the overwhelm, start a regular self-soothing or meditation practice. Recognize your sensitivities as strengths, because they are.

And, well. I will embrace your giftedness, your complicated jungle of fabuliciousness, until you can. OK?

___________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Please share your thoughts, feelings, and questions. You know how much your comments enrich this blog. Much love to you all. And thank you to the bloggEE who posed these questions!

(Note: If you are feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday season, here and here are my favorite posts. Read them and know you are not alone!)


49 Comments

Why Do We Need A Blog For Super Smart, Sensitive, Creative, and Empathetic (Gifted!) People?

I am so glad you asked.

Here is why. In no particular order. Not all of the list will apply to you, of course, but if a lot of it does, you may just have to admit once and for all that you have a rainforest (gifted!) mind-heart-soul-spirit-body:

  1. You were told you were so smart from a very early age and that you needed to reach your great potential. This felt good in some ways but mostly like too much pressure.You still feel that pressure.
  2. No one explained to you what being gifted meant and you are still wondering. In fact, you do not really think it applies to you. You know people who are so much smarter and more accomplished.
  3. You were not identified in school as gifted because you did not fit the myth that says all gifted kids get good grades, excel in math and science, and color inside the lines.
  4. You were identified in school as gifted and did well in academics but no one explained what it meant and you were bullied because of it.
  5. You don’t understand why you are still procrastinating now that you are no longer in school.
  6. Being highly sensitive to textures, images, sounds, smells, tastes, colors, other’s emotions, medications, justice issues, and expectations, does not feel smart, but rather it feels like you are a high maintenance, complaining, ungrateful weirdo.
  7. Your fear of failure has you paralyzed a lot. You tell yourself you learn more from failures than successes but that doesn’t seem to help.
  8. Intellectual stimulation is hard to find. It is one of your basic needs.
  9. Your limited ability to execute the exquisite visions in your head has you confused and frustrated.
  10. Your intuition is a little scary and your empathy feels overwhelming a lot of the time.
  11. The parental advice you received of “just do your best” still has you tied up in knots. Always doing your best is an impossible expectation when you are gifted. This is not understood by, well, anyone.
  12. You are a highly successful CEO of a powerful organization, you have won countless awards, and you still feel inadequate.
  13. People are attracted to you because of your sensitivity and empathy but they rarely are able to reciprocate. It is hard to find friends or partners who can keep up with you. You are often lonely.
  14. Having traveled many varied career paths, you have suspected you are mediocre at many things but expert at nothing.
  15. You have wondered for years how people can be so slow.
  16. You are driven to find ways to create a more peaceful, equitable world. You are even thinking about going back to school for yet another degree to find solutions to the climate crisis, racism, and poverty.
  17. You have been careful all these years to hide how much you actually know and how much you love to learn, so much so that you doubt whether you were ever gifted at all.
  18. Your parents (and coworkers) think you are lazy because you take so long to finish mundane tasks but they don’t notice that you are adept at all the complicated stuff.
  19. You have been in therapy for years working through serious trauma in your family of origin. If you were really gifted, would healing take this long? And if you were really smart, why didn’t you save your parents, your siblings, your cousins, your neighbors, and your neighbor’s dog from all that suffering?
  20. You have a hard time determining if you are an overthinker, like they say you are, or if you are just a deep, analytical, divergent thinker who is extremely curious about, oh, everything. You would like to tell them that being an overthinker is better than being an underthinker.

Have I convinced you that we need a blog (this blog!) for super smart, sensitive, creative, and empathetic people? And, of course, all folks ought to have a blog written especially for them. Right? We all need to feel understood, seen, and loved.

And yet, my dearest rainforesters. This one is for you.

_______________________________________________

To my bloggEEs: What do you think? Which of these on the list resonate with you? Tell us about the challenges and joys you experience because of your rainforest mind. Thank you, as always, for being here. And, just a reminder, the Shift Network Summit on sensitivity, empathy and intuition starts November 15, 2021. I am speaking that first day! Won’t you join me? (If you find out about it after the 15th, you can still access it and watch or buy the package.)

Shift Network Empath Summit

Click here on my affiliate link for more information!


27 Comments

If You Were Gifted, Wouldn’t You Be An Arrogant Know-It-All With Two PHDs in Astrophysics?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Click here to watch me pontificating (briefly) on the subject.

In case you do not want to watch me pontificate and you would rather read a more detailed version of my pontification, here ya go:

I have met a whole lot of gifted folks in my somewhat quirkified life. I realize this is unusual. But somehow I fell onto this career path when I was a youngster in my 20’s teaching in a public school. Colleagues noticed I was teaching in a somewhat unconventional way and suggested that gifted children would respond well to my flexible, creative, project-centered, self-paced, empathy-oriented classroom. Not really knowing what a gifted child was, I went for it anyway, and found a job teaching in a gifted pullout program in a middle school.

(photo Cancer Institute, Unsplash)

Those colleagues were right. It was my dream job. The kids were eager to learn, divergent thinkers, funny, sensitive, super smart, kind-hearted, and Star Wars and Shakespeare fanatics. None of them were arrogant know-it-alls. None of them. (although a few of them are likely to have PHDs now, maybe even in astrophysics)

Then, in my late 30’s, I left teaching to pursue my passion for all things psychotherapeutic. I had been a client in counseling for a while and found the process fascinating. Even though I was diving into the abyss of my somewhat miserable childhood, I loved the attention and companionship of a skillful, compassionate guide. I was determined to retrieve all of the pieces of my broken heart and live a more whole, authentic, meaningful, confident, make-a-difference life. It was a no-brainer, then, to go back to school for a counseling degree and start a private practice.

It became clear pretty quickly that I ought to specialize in working with gifted souls. They had particular traits, sensitivities, and experiences that required a finely tuned, informed, sensitive, and aware approach. I imagined that their tendencies to be introspective and their desires for depth, healing, insight, and transformation, would be a good match for my therapeutic style and interests.

I was right. Another dream job that fit my quirkified life well. Then, many years later, I started this blog. And because of the blog, I expanded my practice to include international consulting. And guess what? Still. No arrogant know-it-alls. After all these years. All around the world.

( Note: OK. I realize it is possible that gifted arrogant know-it-alls exist but don’t go to therapy or do not want to consult with me. It is possible. Or, perhaps, I have some magical powers that keep them at bay. So, there is that.)

But, if you are still not convinced, here is a little more proof. As you know, if you have been reading my blog for a while, the gifted humans I see still stumble over the G word. Many of them know how much they don’t know and do not realize how much they do know. They do not see their very high standards and expectations, their complex sensitivities, their creative thinking, and their rage to learn as indications of giftedness. And so, they prefer to describe themselves as rainforest-minded. It feels more appropriate, more equitable, and more descriptive. Not g-g-gifted. Just rainforest-minded.

Not arrogant. Not know-it-alled.

Pontification. Over and out.

_________________________________________

To my bloggEEs: What do you think? Do you agree? Are there arrogant know-it-alls in your life? Are they gifted? Have you heard about the study that looked at how quite intelligent people underestimate their capacities and less intelligent people overestimate their intelligence? That might account for some of the arrogance you run into. OK. I’m sure there is some gifted arrogant know-it-alling out there, y’all. Just not in the overwhelming numbers that the myth would have you believe. What other myths of giftedness are you aware of? Let us know your thoughts. And thank you, as always, for being here.

And, if you are interested in learning about your empathy and sensitivity, there is a Summit coming in November 15-19, 2021 sponsored by The Shift Network. I am one of the speakers! It is one of those events that is free to attend and then you can pay to have it permanently. The links here are affiliate.