It started early. The other kindergartners were struggling to learn their ABCs. You were reading chapter books. The other second graders didn’t care about the photos from the Hubble Telescope. You obsessed over them. The other teens enjoyed stories about vampires. You adored Jane Austen.
At first, you may have felt confused, weird and lonely. As you got older, perhaps you felt guilt, too.
Guilt because learning came easily to you. Guilt because you could accomplish quickly what took others hours to finish. Guilt because teachers and parents praised your high grades. Guilt because you were held up as a role model for others. Guilt because you excelled at most things that you tried. Guilt because you hid your abilities and made mistakes on tests on purpose.
And now, as an adult, there may be more guilt.
Guilt because you daydream about the latest Dr. Who episode when you should be focused on the next mundane task. Guilt because you don’t always feel grateful for your intelligence. Guilt because you feel some boredom raising your child. Guilt because you aren’t living up to your potential. Guilt because you end up with extra time at work with nothing to do. Guilt because you’re bored at meetings and want to strangle your colleagues. Guilt because you procrastinate. Guilt because it’s easy for you to come up with creative ideas and implement them. Guilt because you’re smarter than your parents and siblings. Guilt because your home isn’t spotless. Guilt because you aren’t perfect. Guilt because you aren’t saving the world. Guilt because you’ve fooled people into thinking that you’re gifted.
Is that enough guilt?
Here’s the thing. Guilt is only helpful if you’ve done something wrong that you need to apologize for or that you need to repair. Then, guilt can be productive.
In this case, guilt is not productive. You were born with your rainforest mind. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.
It’s not your fault that you’re gifted.
To my blogEEs: Tell us what you feel guilty about. Then, see if you can breathe out and let it go. And thank you to the readers who suggested this topic.
(Note: Added after publication: From a reader–Guilt for impatience with others’ slowness, Guilt for thinking that others are stupid, Guilt for not speaking up because you assume others won’t understand.)