Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Advice for your Sensitive Soul


photo courtesy of Anne Allanketner

photo courtesy of Anne Allanketner

You will never be normal.

And this is good.

You have too much compassion. Too much awareness. Too much curiosity. Too much emotion. Too much thinking. Too much intelligence.

You have an uncontrollable thirst to know. You live with ethical standards that seem excessive to others. You strive for a perfection that only Nature understands.

Your heart breaks when you see others suffering. Your heart sings when beauty sneaks up on you.

You expect yourself to know better. You expect yourself to achieve greatness.

Life is devastating and magnificent. Overwhelming and glorious. Disturbing and transcendent.

You will never be normal.

And this is good.


To my bloggEEs: Please share your thoughts, feelings and reactions. I can not tell you how grateful I am that you are out there.

(Note: On October 6, 2015, I’ll be presenting a webinar If I’m so Smart, then Why am I so Dumb: Understanding the Complicated World of the Gifted Adult. If you go to the SENG website, you will be able to register for it soon. It’s $40, from 4:30-6pm PST. You’ll receive a copy of the talk whether you can attend at that time or not. As of this writing, registration isn’t open yet but keep checking. I’ll post notes on Facebook and Twitter when registration is open. I’d love to “see” you there. There’s also a slim chance that the webinar will be postponed. Contact SENG for details.)


Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rain forest to describe this population. Like the rain forest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore.

41 thoughts on “Advice for your Sensitive Soul

  1. Life is devastating and magnificent. Overwhelming and glorious. Disturbing and transcendent.
    I love this!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Once again this is perfect!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So true. I see this in my son, too. I hope never to forget the first time he heard the story of the ugly duckling. He was 5. He looked so sad to hear what happened to the poor bird — and then his face filled with delight when he realized the ugly duckling was really a swan. Yep, just like us!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “You will never be normal.”


    I like the term “untamed”.

    The untamed are those of us who cannot or will not submit our emotions, thoughts or behavior to the standards set by the will of the normal majority (or oftentimes even to our own will or wishes).


    Liked by 2 people

    • I like it. Untamed. Nice to hear from you Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. Just to expand on the concept of being “untamed” a bit, one of the reasons giftedness was not something I easily relate to is because gifted people are supposedly sophisticated, and I am not very sophisticated. I am disorganized, messy, distracted, impulsive, highly reactive….. and that just describes my INNER world! 😉

        Because of that, I feel a lot more comfortable in more unstructured environments where my “wildness” is an asset rather than a liability. Of course, short of dropping out of civilization to become a caveman, finding that kind of environment in this highly structured world is pretty tough!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I wonder what the outcome of a study would be if we asked gifted people to rate their levels of sophistication versus their levels of disorganization and reactivity.


  5. Will translate this to ‘7 year old’. The ‘you will never be normal, that’s good’ is positive power that is needed.

    Liked by 1 person


    Not sure how I am feeling about even reposting this. This little girl’s heart should be protected and not made public on “” for all to see. I’m sharing it mainly because she is able to give words to a sensitive little girl’s heart that perhaps not all little girls and boys can. She’s fighting for the wellness of her sensitive little nervous system. She’s a courageous little girl, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Mostly it’s just lonely, I’m tired of being the only one of my species.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Loved the last few lines, “Life is.. ” I just experienced this in matter of 30 minutes. I, embarrassingly, cried buckets because my new clinic painstakingly furnished & decorated, had a water leakage that could be easily fixed, yet broke my heart. In a matter of minutes, I heard news that made me jump with joy! If I hadn’t known better, I would have considered bipolar as a diagnosis.
    Though I must share that this is only possible because I am learning to allow myself to be ‘me’. Thank you Paula for your kind & wise words, reading them have helped thaw the walls around my sensitive soul.. It almost feels normal 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I used write under antarmukhi, therapist from India. My name is Karishma, as you can see in my user name.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Seatac Airport had lovely acoustic music on Wednesday. They were playing this song. Seems to be a good song for the exiled parts of the rainforest soul. Let’s learn to fly. Together.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Yes, this.
    And I need some people like this, too.
    Thank you for the beautiful affirming words, Paula.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Such words of hope, and at a time when I really (desperately) needed to hear them. With all my untamed heart–thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for this wonderful space of hope and learning how to accept my quirks and craziness. I have always felt as if I was outside looking in at a world I don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This really spoke to me today! Thank you Paula. I feel as though someone understands 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is my third post in response to this topic. Feeling a little embarrassed for posting so much. It’s just that I suffered so much around this subject of loneliness, and I am now starting to find my way out of the deep, deep darkness of isolation. Linda Silverman on her Gifted Development website has a nice little article i recently found on the differences between social development and socialization which I found helpful. I was specifically able to make use of the developmental stages that she lists:

    1. self-awareness;
    2. finding kindred spirits;
    3. feeling understood and accepted by others;
    4. self-acceptance;
    5. recognition of the differences in others; and, eventually,
    6. the development of understanding, acceptance and appreciation of others.

    Developmental stages that you are supposed to go through in childhood, I was addressing in my 30’s due to the layers and layers of self-censorship and external social pressures to conform (which were fairly extreme, in my case). I agree with her suggestions for developmental sequencing, even if you are just starting to become aware in your 30’s, although the stages seem to have a reciprocally reinforcing quality to them.

    Also, here’s a little inventory on self-compassion.

    Re: Step 4- Self-Acceptance, Silverman also did a nice job of helping me distinguish neurotic perfectionism vs. conscientious perfectionism. I’m in a lot healthier place as far as self-compassion goes, yet I still feel very free to challenge myself.

    Paula, thank you for holding such a good therapeutic space for us all as we seek to find ourselves and find our true peers. It’s been so helpful.

    Warm regards,


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you so much, Paula! I tell my kids all the time that they don’t need to be normal, that normal is so limiting. I think the oldest are starting to understand. It’s always a struggle because it never quite feels like you really fit in. I guess that goes back to the imposter post. Not just with intelligence, but in the social situations.

    Anyway, it’s an awesome reminder. I will never be normal. My children will never be normal. That shouldn’t be expected to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I love how this post resonates with the sensitive soul. I’m quite sure the kind of emotional intensity you describe is not always a gift. Clearly, that intensity is most always misunderstood by others. Even my son, who lives this intensity, is embarassed when I tear up at the Pope’s choice of words (I am not religious), and he hides when I can’t finish my story about the video of the little girl who cried when her Mom gave her tickets to a Patriot game, b/c he knows I do the same when I get tickets behind the bench of my NBA team. It’s embarassing to cry during the national anthem and other patriotic songs and to prefer reading books about drafting the Constitution and how to identify bumblebees. Though my family wants to go to a bird migration festival, they shrink at the thought of sitting through the dragonfly workshop. This is my life. Not always a gift, but at least I know now why I look at others and can now understand why they do not share my passion for the beauty I see in unexpected things. Like carefully chosen words in an address by a religious figure who stands for everything wrong about organized religion. But those words about goodness. <> Welcome to my world.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Alas, I’ve found my Tribe! Wow. After years of being called crazy by people who know about such things, I was beginning to believe it. Until now.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I just saw this post after being gone during September. It can be so frustrating thinking so many things and then having others scoff at you because of the way that you think. If I’m panicking because I see that Donald Trump had gained eight percent of the polls and I can’t afford college and I’m not as smart as people think I am, most people just brush it aside. So what if Trump becomes president? It’s not a big deal. You shouldn’t be worrying about it, or, everyone gets through high school, and most people don’t go to college. You’re smart, you’ll figure out a way. Or worst of all: you’re smart, you shouldn’t worry about this. After all, everything you do is perfect. This, combined with other aspects of my personality end up causing intellectually stimulating arguments with people that don’t hurt me, but more than likely will offend/bore the other person. It’s hard not having “normal” mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you for your consoling words, Carla! I wrote them down in my notebook and keep on looking at them whenever I’m in my “if this is a gift, can I give it back” – phase..
    I just love your blog! 🙂
    Lots of Love from Switzerland, Simi

    Liked by 1 person

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