My counseling clients talk fast. They use words I don’t recognize. They notice when I’m a teensy weensy bit distracted. I don’t know how it happened that I became a therapist for smart people. OK, for g-g-gifted people. Seriously, on the continuum of giftedness, I’m BG. (barely gifted)
I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me. I love my job. I’m just saying. I’m not sure how I got here.
In spite of my BGness, I know some things about these people. I mean, I know some things about you.
I know that you’re intense. If you don’t “dial it down,” you may even be accused of being arrogant, a know-it-all. People don’t understand your exuberance or your natural warp speed or your love of language. They don’t understand your glee over dark matter. They don’t know that you don’t realize when you’ve lost them. Or you do realize when you’ve lost them and you’re actually trying to dial it down but you don’t know which ideas they won’t understand and which ones they will understand. You’re just being yourself. You don’t feel special or gifted. You’re just you.
The (wanting-to) know-it-all.
Am I right so far?
Oh, I realize that there are gifted people who are extremely competitive, who try to display their intelligence whenever they can. But I think their numbers are smaller than the stereotype would have us believe. And I bet their behavior comes out of the pressure they feel to meet the expectations that have been thrust upon them since they were little tykes blowing everyone away with their abilities. They have to prove that they’re smart again and again because they think that’s what makes them lovable.
And, you may feel pressure to achieve, too, and guilt when you don’t. You may have learned that your worth depends on your accomplishments. And perhaps you fight the urge to scream in frustration when everyone you know is so s-l-o-w. Patience with coworkers and family members may be difficult to maintain. And at times it becomes too much to bear.
But I know you. Your rainforest mind chooses compassion. Not every time. You aren’t perfect. But kindness usually wins.
So, the next time you’re accused of arrogance, the next time you’re called a know-it-all, understand where the misperception comes from. Stop blaming yourself for your poor communication skills. Appreciate your exuberance. Warp speed. Love of language. Glee.
Find a safe place to vent your anger– in a journal, on a racquetball court, through an art form, to your therapist.
Then, think about how you might lovingly and selectively dial it down some of the time. Consciously choose what you share and what you don’t. Use your intuition to assess the people you’re with. What can they handle? When do they glaze over? Breathe between sentences. Agree with your partner and friends on a hand signal that they can use that will alert you when you need to switch communication style from fire hose to garden hose.
Then search high and low for someone with whom you can express yourself fully. Another rainforest mind. Someone who loves knowing it all. With you.
To my blogEEs: Does this describe your experience? What do you do when this happens to you? Do you see it in others? How would you explain your intensity?