Whether you’re a rainforest-minded child, teen or adult, if you’ve been told that you’re gifted or that you’re super smart, then you probably feel pressure.
Pressure to: live up to the label, always get the best grades, know everything before you learn it, be the winner, always do your best, find all learning to be easy, not disappoint anyone, do the right thing, always be kind, solve all problems, know all the answers first, attend an elite university, win a Nobel prize, be clever and funny, make no mistakes (be perfect), never fail (did I mention, be perfect?), save the world.
That’s a lot of pressure.
A LOT of pressure.
This is not to mention your high standards and intrinsic desire to make most everything beautiful, balanced, just, harmonious and precise. (see my post on intrinsic/positive perfectionism)
I certainly understand why you feel this way. There are many assumptions about what giftedness actually is and what it means. And, it’s likely that people have told you that you carry a certain responsibility because of your abilities. And, even if they don’t say that to you, you say it to yourself.
Am I right?
But this pressure can create problems. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression. For starters.
So, let me see if I can take some of the pressure off.
First. Understanding: You probably got used to learning many things quickly and easily. You came to believe that that’s the way it should always be and anything less than that, means that you’re not so smart. And being not-so-smart is not an option because you’ve come to believe that being very smart is what makes you a worthwhile human being. And you’ve become a little dependent on the praise or the accolades or the attention. (even though the praise or the accolades or the attention might also make you uncomfortable, so much so that you hide your abilities from most people)
Second. More understanding: You probably can’t help having high standards and expectations. You were born that way. This could be something you accept about yourself but learn to adapt here and there when the project isn’t all that important.
Make a list of traits that make a person a worthwhile human. Make a list of what makes your life worth living. Make a list of ways you put pressure on yourself.
Take these lists and design a plan to reduce the pressure. You can take small steps. Maybe you decide to aim for a ‘B’ on the report. Maybe you try something you know will be challenging. Maybe you risk disappointing someone. Maybe you start doing some of the items on your life-worth-living list.
Then, notice how you feel.
Are you still gifted?
I thought so.
And one more thing. Go back to that list of traits that make a person worthwhile.
Put your name on it.
To my bloggEEs: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tell your kids (or yourselves) that they’re gifted. They (You) need this information to better understand themselves (yourselves). I’m just explaining the pressure part in case that’s an issue for them (or you). Let us know if you struggle with pressure to be super smart. How do you reduce the pressure? If you try some of my suggestions, let us know how it went.