Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

When Humans Keep Letting You Down


photo courtesy John Nakamura Remy, Unsplash

Humans disappoint you. They don’t live up to your expectations. Sure you have high standards. But you’re not asking all that much, right? If people just tried harder, they could accomplish quite a lot.

Couldn’t they?

Not just relatives and friends. Not just politicians and educators. But others. Contractors, internet providers, artists, activists, doctors, celebrities and psychotherapists. Disappointing.

What is wrong with humans? Don’t they care about quality? Excellence? Compassion?

Now, I don’t actually know all humans. But I’m guessing that most of them do care. That said, here are some things that you need to know.

When you have a rainforest mind, you have many abilities. A large capacity for learning and a love of knowledge. You may know a lot, in multiple fields; sometimes more than the “experts.” You can also have exceptionally high standards for your work. Producing quality is part of your identity. Being fair and compassionate matters to you. And all of this feels normal. Isn’t everyone like this? 

No. Everyone is not like this.

You may not have any training in home building but you may know that your contractor’s plan for your family room will not work. You may not have a medical degree but you may know that your cardiologist is not seeing the whole picture. You may never have run a nonprofit but in two weeks you could set up a system that would provide for much greater efficiency and productivity. You may not have a psychology degree but you’re a better counselor than your psychotherapy-trained coworkers.

People tell you that you expect too much. That you need to be satisfied with less. That mediocrity is good enough. That you’re an overachiever and an arrogant know-it-all. That you need to “shut up and sing…” (to quote a powerful song from the Dixie Chicks)

These messages and experiences can make you feel a little crazy. A little less than. Maybe a lot less than. Lonely. A little too responsible.

Or you may wonder how to live your best life when people you’d like to depend upon keep dropping the ball.

You’re tired of always picking up the balls.

So darned many balls.

But your family, your community and your world needs you. Your excellence. Your quality. Your compassion. Now, more than ever.*

So you can still sing. Definitely sing.

But don’t shut up.


To my dearest bloggEEs: How do you deal with this? Are you tired of juggling all the balls? Are there ways you take care of yourself when you feel discouraged or exhausted? Are there people that you’ve found who will show up for you? Where have you found others with rainforest minds? Can you allow yourself to acknowledge your limits and create a healthy balance? This blog post is just the beginning of the discussion. We need to hear from you!

*That said, repeat after me: I am not responsible for everyone’s dropped balls.

Thank you to the bloggEE who suggested this topic.

Here’s the story behind the Dixie Chicks’ song.

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 rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, 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 first 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. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

79 thoughts on “When Humans Keep Letting You Down

  1. Thank you Paula 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a struggle, but I would like to make a huge distinction between people who are slow learners but DO learn because they want to, and people who are not learners because they’re ok with making the least possible effort to get by. I don’t expect everything to be perfect. I understand even I, with my ability to learn quickly and easily, don’t get it all right, so I can give people room for mistakes. It’s mediocrity that enrages me. The lack of desire and willingness to improve. And it’s not that the bar is set too high. Some people will give you a quality of service that is unacceptable to anyone, not just a gifted customer… and they don’t care. You will point out their serious mistakes and they just shrug their shoulders.

    Perhaps we overdid the self-esteem talk. We gave too many empty compliments and now it seems there are far too many people who do their work terribly and make horrible messes in life but are fully convinced they are great. Perhaps *they* should have a little self-doubt like we do.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Thanks, Carina. Giving all of us room for mistakes! Yes! And appreciating all types of learners. I totally agree. I do think it’s fascinating to look at self-doubt in the gifted and in others.

      This was a tricky topic to approach because I didn’t want to sound arrogant. But I felt like it needed to be said.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, feeling this so acutely these days. Thanks for helping me remember I’m not alone in this. Let’s leave mediocrity behind so we can evolve out of this mess, already! 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Oh yeah…the worst part is that as I’ve gotten older I’ve started building in the expectation that people are going to disappoint me.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Mixed feelings about this concept. On one hand, it’s absolutely fantastic to find people who function at a similar level of empathy, vocabulary, competence, etc. On the other hand, as an instructor, I see the opportunities for people to grow, as well as their cultural/demographic/experiential history that led them to this place. The hard part is remembering that it isn’t always my responsibility (or in their best interests) to ‘help’ them with this.

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Story of my life right here.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Excellent topic to cover, I have to admit, sometimes, often, I do just wonder if the ‘but you do it better’ is not really meant, but rather the cover of laziness. “I didn’t do it, because i know it wouldn’t be to your standards…” When you see chaos as a result of shifting responsibilities continuously, or not having ambitions, it can be incredibly physically, emotionally and psychologically draining. Sometimes, i do think, how would anyone choose to not even try? I don’t get it. On the other hand, if someone expects way too much, based upon what they imagine I can do, I find I tend to shut down, withdraw, and have to give myself a break, a pep talk , a bit of distance, then go back to it – my way, with a healthy dose of reality. People I love the most, at the least, are happy to meet me halfway.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Lisa. It can be hard for others to meet our high expectations. I hear what you’re saying. Hard for you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This. I have been on both sides of this as well–in the workplace: “We left this for you to do because you are so much better at it.” And in other contexts: “Please help us do this thing we know you are brilliant at.” When actually I have lost interest in being brilliant at that and the pressure to muster up that former brilliance is overwhelming. So I become the disappointing one.

      Then I wonder if I should even share my latest passion, lest I get called upon to contribute my skills in that area, thus taking all the fun out of it!

      This also touches on the feeling of some people only seeming to want you for your utility vs. one’s other fine qualities.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. And people are getting meaner. We are living in very mean times. for example, rather than lodging a direct complaint about a business and dealing with the situation face to face, people write really mean reviews online or they go straight to the regulating body. People are mean.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It seems that the anonymity of social media and reviews is bringing out the worst in people. Sending you a hug, Pam. Like Tracy said above, I’m ready for humanity to evolve out of this stage!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Trent Reznor recently stated: “The internet is giving a voice to everybody thinking that someone gives a shit what they have to say and they have the right. I think, in general, that has created a toxic environment for artists and led to some very safe music.”

      Do people really think saying mean things about artists or other creators/proprietors will magically make better art or better products and services appear?

      It is so hard to not throw your hands up and say “I give up. I will settle for putting out the same safe, mediocre crap everyone else does — or perhaps nothing at all — rather than risk being virtually tarred and feathered in cyberspace.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • I write Sims stories, which I know doesn’t sound respectable or like real creative work to people who’ve never read them, but I think of them as art.

        I have very much taken my share of tarring and feathering over my Sims stories. Not sure if it’s just one person or a few, but my blogs have been stalked and my posts screenshotted and posted anonymously on a popular Sims community anonymous gossip blog for years now, ever since 2009. It’s slowed down though. In 2009 to 2011, when I was writing a story that got very popular, it was constant. I was all wrong and weird and arrogant and delusional and in need of psychological help and a horrible person, because I cared a lot and I thought of my Sims work as art and I tried and what I wrote was different from the normal socially acceptable type of Sims stories.

        It’s definitely taken a toll on me, and that’s in a pretty small part of the net. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with a much larger audience, and thus a much larger pool of possible stalkers and trolls.

        Definitely didn’t settle, though. Moved on to even “weirder” stuff, and now I write a story that just uses scenery shots and only has two characters, an entity known as the darkness who can wear anything as a skin and a human, and no one has a gender and the human narrator doesn’t have a name. 😉

        But I’m tough, and I’ve seen so many good writers quit after one troll or one incident with the anonymous gossip blog. And over the years the quality of Sims stories has definitely gone down, and the community has dwindled and gotten smaller. All that yelling and anonymous hate and criticism may have made the trolls feel powerful or better about t heir own shortcomings or whatever in the moment, but it’s slowly destroyed the community and sucked much of the life and creativity out of it as many of the creative and sensitive people have left.

        The trolls will sometimes justify themselves by saying that people need criticism, and that they’re weak if they can’t take it, and that it’s how you make things better. I see that last one on the World of Warcraft forums a lot, with the trolls saying t hat they just care about the game and that they want it to be better and that as consumers they have the right to constantly stalk and insult the developers, and that’s how capitalism works and how companies improve their product. But it just drives people away – I’ve seen more than one article about game developers who’ve stopped and gotten out of the industry because of the stalking and the trolling and the death threats when they announce small changes to their games.

        I guess this could explain politics too. At some point the mob wins, and the only people left in the field are the people who fit in with the mob and who use it to their advantage.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thanks for sharing, medleymisty. And good for you for staying with your art in spite of the trolls. It sounds so painful.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m glad you’re tough and don’t quit. Because as long as you are producing something original you are winning. Perhaps that is what creates trolls, the subconscious fear that they are unable to create anything original, or that they themselves do not have the courage to put their work out there despite criticism, so they lash out at those who do.

          Liked by 3 people

      • I wonder if many of these people don’t really care about quality. They’re just angry and venting about whatever they can??

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Engaging in independent activity that doesn’t rely on others, and healing from codependent tendencies is helping in my own life. Withdrawing? Maybe a bit – but I’m cool with it. Also (a personal one) when I can move around the house, I’m finding that doing so with my glasses off is a definite advantage. Messy? No; blurry. Very very blurry.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thanks for sharing these ideas, Ro. Blurry vision? Ha!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s just so vital that we find others to connect to, who ‘get’ our wonderful minds. Because if we feel enough connection and support which affirms and hopefully celebrates our multi-capable and multi-dimensional selves, it helps us weather the day-to-day frustrations with co-workers, salespeople, contractors, etc.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. But it’s so, so hard to fight mediocrity when people around not only are perfectly satisfied with it, but then when you face Tall Poppy Syndrome, and they systematically and viciously attempt to cut down all the Tall Poppies *trying* to do more and *trying* to lift an organization or group out of mediocrity. As an academic, I’m horrified by how often I see the people with the best ideas and most innovative plans cut down mercilessly by those intimidated or envious of the potential achievers. One would think the opposite in an institution where critical thinking and innovation should be lauded …. instead, mediocrity and dollar-driven decisions continue to press down those who strive for more. It can be so, so disheartening.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have clients in academia, Andrea, and I’m still surprised by their stories of politics and back-stabbing there. Make me wonder, are these academics gifted? Or maybe they’re intelligent but not of the rainforest-minded variety? Not to generalize, but I wonder about academia…maybe it’s insecurity or extreme fear of failure?? Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I find myself completely irritated with folks that play the ‘willfully ignorant’ part. Choosing to be ignorant of truth, or differing points of view…to choose NOT to look….grrrrr. Makes me wild. Of course, I HAVE to look. All the time. At everything.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. I’m one of those people always pushing for more, bigger, better. Not for glory or success but merely because I think it is worth trying something you aren’t sure you can actually accomplish.
    “Why build a simple skateboard ramp when we could try to build a wooden replica of an empty swimming pool?”
    “Why play the same kind of music and look the same as every other band in town when we could try a new style all our own?”

    A lot of people don’t like being pushed out of their comfort zone like that. Which I am ok with because I have my own comfort zones.

    But what I am NOT ok with is how people turn things around and rather than acknowledge they are out of their comfort zone, they demonize those who remind them that they have one.

    So rather than being “the positive person who is always pushing the envelope, trying new things, trying to make the world a better place”, you may instead be known as “that negative person who is never satisfied and always complaining about everything.”

    You can’t help but feel let down by that. It puts a dent in your heart that is hard to heal, knowing how well-intentioned you are. And being well-intentioned you feel guilty for judging others for letting you down…or even for judging you badly first!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sending you some healing salve, Mark, for the dent in your heart. What you’re saying will make a lot of sense to those of us here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much Paula.

        You are SO RIGHT. These are times when humanity perhaps needs sensitive, compassionate, brave people more than ever. We seem to be stuck in a feedback loop that rewards mediocrity, shallowness and selfishness and this in turn affects culture, public policy towards education and other influential institutions that further strengthen those characteristics that favor staying the course over changing it.

        Sure, some will say that this is the way things have always been, or that this is how new ideas are safely and thoroughly tested while dangerous ones are weeded out. But I do believe these times are different.

        I truly wish they were not and that all the positivity gurus and spiritual pollyannas are right to not be concerned (I speak from experience having once embraced similar lines of thinking before accepting the harsh truth that there’s a big difference between merely having faith that things will turn out well, and rolling your sleeves up to make sure it happens).

        I feel a force of some kind….a force that is both a tangible resistence to those attempting to change humanity’s course, but is also somehow making those of us who are very concerned to work harder, be stronger, and to be more creative and open-minded. Perhaps we are at this critical threshold because the only way past it is to move beyond our historical mindset where a few people have “the answers” and the rest merely follow suit. Maybe this is painful because the only way forward is that everyone has to shake off the idea that someone other than themselves will be the savior, (or the martyr), and that we all have to become part of our future survival.

        But I don’t know. I’m just randomly throwing some thoughts and feelings out there, and I am very self-conscious of being both disorganized and contradictory with them, so I’d really appreciate some others’ thoughts.
        Thanks. -Mark

        Liked by 2 people

        • Maybe there’s a place for us to be optimistic, idealistic, spiritual and positive while ALSO being creative, open-minded, intelligent, complex and taking action. Maybe also we all need to examine our “shadow” sides. how is our individual wounding stopping us from compassion for ourselves and others and from finding how we can make the planet a better place. These are some of my thoughts. Will be writing more about it. You might want to check out Charles Eisenstein’s work. I’ll be blogging about him, too. Thanks for sharing, Mark. You’re more articulate than you think.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Soon after I clicked “post comment” I realized my comment likely sounded pretty cynical when it comes to optimism and positivity.

            I’m not THAT cynical (or at least I hope I am not). I am however, aware that we tend to overlook our shadow sides, as you put it (thanks).

            That is one of the reasons I got into researching shamanism. I do not profess to understand it very well and it is far from becoming a belief system, but even as a psychological metaphor it makes sense.

            What resonates with me particularly is the idea that one cannot access the “upper world” without first passing through the Underworld. In the underworld the visitor attempts to wrest those parts of our souls back from the demons who stole them, but before we can ascend we are torn apart — sometimes literally limb by limb — before being reassembled anew, stronger than ever and ready to continue our “hero’s journey”. (Joseph Campbell is perhaps most famous for bringing these themes to a wider modern audience.)

            So, as much as I whine and complain about my lot in life, a growing part of me (that darn POSITIVE PART!), accepts that this is part of the process through which we — and perhaps society in general — must pass to become better. Many thanks again Paula.

            Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m a “recovering perfectionist” and still find I can’t quiet my mind a good deal of the time. It’s comforting somehow to know others have similar struggles. Thanks.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Everything is on schedule and running like a well oiled machine. Management is dreaming of ways to reward themselves for a job well done. Oh, that guy over there. Things are going so well that we don’t need him.

    Two months later…

    The machine, formerly known as well oiled, has screeched to a halt. Two customers are suing because their projects are stalled. WHAT HAPPENED!? (to our management dreams of a fat bonus).

    You laid off the oiler.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I LOVED this post. In my professional life I sometimes feel like I am the only grown-up, the one who sees the bigger picture, the one who picks up the dropped balls because I am the one who sees that they are important when others don’t.

    To borrow from ‘FredB’ – my wife was also the ‘oiler’ in her department for 25 years until she was laid off – then we heard that things had fallen apart because nobody was doing the invisible jobs any longer.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. The variation I used to get was to be told that I thought I was so much better than everyone else because I didn’t hold everyone else to my standards. With some people, there is no winning….

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Pingback: When Humans Keep Letting You Down | softwaremechanic

  20. Thank you for adding the addendum. The best advice someone gave to me is, “If it’s not yours, don’t own it.” It reminds me to not accept everything as my task to do or that it is not necessarily my fault if something fails.

    There’s a significant difference between cannot and will not as well. I can work with the cannot, even though internally it makes me tense. Those who will not are a different matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. My thing is that I didn’t realize how different I was until I ran into a hate mob online.

    Okay, like – in fifth grade I was given an individual IQ test to see if I still qualified for the gifted program. I don’t remember the numerical score, but I do remember the summary of the results, and the person who had given me the test said that I “often worked very quickly” and that I had “the abilities and temperament to go far with her life”. Also that I was reading at college level and above in fifth grade. Then two years later in 7th grade I took the SAT and qualified for Duke’s TIP program.

    Which I only got to go because I got a full need-based scholarship every summer. I get kind of sort of really upset when people imply that giftedness is only the result of privilege, because my father died of a heart attack when I was seven and my mother raised me on her own while boarding socks in a sock factory, and Daddy didn’t have a will so his family took our house and we moved out to a singlewide trailer in the woods, and I went to rural Southern working class schools. Yeah, my mother let me read whatever I wanted and she encouraged open-mindedness and exploration and she very much likes creativity and difference from the herd, and those things are definitely situational advantages, but it’s not like I grew up middle class and hot housed.

    Anyway, the thing is that no one sat me down and explained those results to me and told me that I wasn’t normal. I grew up thinking that I was normal, and that everyone else’s brain worked pretty much like mine. Because oh noes, if you tell gifted kids they’re gifted and explain things to them they might end up arrogant and conceited!!!!

    Pretty sure I’d come off to strangers online as way less arrogant and conceited than I do if someone had explained giftedness to me back then. Because by now the idea that I’m normal is pretty well set into my neural circuits. I’m trying to change it, but rewiring your brain takes time.

    So I do things like assume that other people want the consequences of their actions that I can clearly and easily see, because they must also be able to clearly and easily see the consequences, right? If your political decisions lead to suffering, it must be that you want that suffering. If you choose to troll people online, it must be that you want to destroy their self esteem and their trust in other humans. If you choose to go around in a stretch Hummer, you must be inside thinking about other species dying in an oil spill and about the soldiers who’ve lost limbs and mental health and lives in our wars for oil and about the people in the countries we’ve attacked who’ve suffered, and you must be wanting and liking all that destruction and suffering and death.

    And I know that’s wrong and I know it’s a fallacy and I have spent years trying to break my brain of it, but my brain stubbornly insists that it’s right, that everyone knows what they’re doing and everyone is decently emotionally intelligent and everyone is well-informed and everyone has a built-in BS detector, and that everyone makes their decisions based on the probable consequences of their decisions on other people, and so therefore people who won’t do anything about climate change want climate change, and they like the idea of the easily predictable consequences of inaction and they want those consequences and they’ve decided to work towards that suffering and death and destruction.

    That little fallacy that I can’t get rid of means that I’ve been struggling with some hardcore anxiety and existential depression this year, for some reason. And I’m trying, I am, and I am aware that it’s wrong, but still it persists.

    I don’t know if getting rid of that fallacy will really help though. I might be less horrified if I can convince my brain that my fellow humans aren’t causing all this suffering and needless death on purpose, but I still won’t be able to stop the needless suffering and death.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Hits home. I tried to explain this to my daughter – the picking up balls, and how those same kids at school who tease her for ‘always thinking – why do you THINK so much?’ are going to be the ones she is cleaning up after their failures and inability to think later when she is in the workforce… it is a sad reality her father and I both know well… She had to think about that one for a long time. But Mom, I LIKE to think. There’s so MUCH to think about and to do. Why don’t they want to think about things? I don’t know, kid… it’s like explaining air breathing to a fish, most of the time they aren’t equipped for it if they’re not doing it now. But, don’t give up hope, there’s always the chance you’ll find the ones that are just pretending to be fish and are out there looking for hope themselves. And finding a kindred spirit is awesome.. they don’t give you much more than an eyebrow (or sometimes they even do a happy dance) when you whip out the mental multiplication (one of her favorites) or drag a geology book to the table (another of hers) or even order a used 1960s nuclear physics book (mine) and spend days poring over it. And that makes it all the rest of it worthwhile when you have that person (or several persons) to connect to.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I do have a question for Paula and readers of her posts. Do you think perfectionism is a natural part of giftedness, or does it have something to do more with the individual’s environment?

    I’m not certain whether or not I would be considered gifted, but I had many experiences in the past that may indicate that it is partly genetic or inherent. Firstly, there were times when a fold on a book, or a defect on an object may elicit a strong physical and psychological response; I stare at the perceived imperfection to an extent that it causes external and emotional discomfort (e.g. depression, eye strain, headaches, etc.). Secondly, I wasn’t told by anyone as a child that I was being a perfectionist—it felt as though it simply came naturally to me.

    Please tell me what you think. Thanks!

    P.S. I think we should embrace our perfectionistic tendencies if it is a natural aspect of giftedness. Yes, it has its downsides, but it also plays a huge part in our quests for self actualization.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thank you Paula, This is perfect. You hit it right on the head. The latest for me is having a child enter in a really exclusive school, acceptance rates lower than Harvard. And I thought….now, finallly, there will be efficiency and this place will run like a well-oiled machine. But guess what? They don’t answer emails, they don’t provide information upfront, they don’t apologize when they are wrong. It’s just like everywhere else. Proof that one doesn’t lose that doe-eyed belief that some things/places really are different. I’m more disappointed in myself than I am in them. I should have realized…

    I like the comments about picking up balls. That’s the flip side of this, isn’t it? In fact, sometimes I wonder if I really have any real friends. It seems almost every time someone calls me it’s because they need advice. Or information. My husband suffers from this too.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I am new to your writing and have been so happy to find your blog! My husband and I recently realized that our son must be gifted. This discovery has led to some very interesting discussions for my husband and I regarding our own giftedness (he was tested and I was not).

    I really appreciated this post and am wondering if you have written anything about what happens when we let others down. I have often let people down because I have not lived up to their expectations socially. I get caught up in my own thoughts/anxieties and don’t realize until later that I have disappointed or hurt friends and family. Then I feel terribly guilty. Any advice on navigating this moments? To be able to take responsibility but not getting swallowed up in shame?

    Liked by 2 people

  26. This is a huge issue for me. It causes me much dismay. I tend to isolate and become discouraged with my projects. I’m also the lead in my marriage because I can predict complications, and plan things with ease, where he struggles to see the big picture and details. I easily make others feel heard and understood, but it is the rare person that I feel I can communicate with without words, or at least without feeling drained. I’m currently struggling with isolating myself, and really need to find a way to reconcile my desires and expectations for human connection and communication with the reality of what I will experience. I would love to be truly seen and heard and feel like I could rely on others to do a good job. I am looking for places to feel safe, appreciated, belonging, and to just be able to relax.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Maybe my blog can be one of those places, Heather. It’s not the same, of course, but it’s a start… Glad to have you here.


    • I am also quite isolated, partly due to factors beyond my control and partly due to retreating to a space where I can be myself and not feel let down.

      Some of this is for my own protection, but some of it is to protect others because I tend to get very intense and carried away in the moment if I am not watching myself, and I am aware this can be weird or even scary to some people. And yet like you say, I am good with others when they are in an emotional crisis of some kind, but in less emotionally charged situations (for the others at least), I am often very socially awkward and overwhelmed with just trying to act normal.

      btw I am working on a project right now and I rapidly fluctuate between “this is going to be great” and “oh my god am I crap”. It happens so much it’s like changes in the bloody weather. “Oh, it’s snowing again. Hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow and I can get back to work”.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Semi relevant discussion on Twitter of the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, and it’s short film version 2081. Equality of ability at all costs.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. This comment does not exactly belong here, but then again, it does.

    I just picked up Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm, by Stephen Harrod Buhner (I got the Kindle version), and he describes a breathtaking view of the world that is, in some ways, very Druidic (hence my initial interest). But his early discussion of “gating deficits” and its obvious implications for sensory overload and giftedness (he even mentions giftedness) caught my eye. Particularly since he makes it pretty clear that the REAL problem is not the sensory overload itself, but the lack of social, cultural, and intellectual constructs for framing the experience. That is, sensory overload is a problem because we define it to be a problem, and treat it as such. I’m only up to Chapter 6, and I’m looking forward to the next section, because he talks about the process of deliberately lowering our sensory gates (or opening the “doors of perception”) and how to USE that in the capacity for which it clearly developed.

    He’s also a brilliant and funny writer.

    I think it also applies to our disappointment with people, which is on-topic for this thread.

    Anyway — recommended read….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tell us more, please! I’ve heard about this book a few times and have always been tempted to read it but never have. Maybe now I’ll have to finally do it! Let us know any particularly pertinent tidbits. Thanks for mentioning it. Comments don’t always have to exactly pertain to the post!


    • I did a search on him and listened to a interview online which was utterly fascinating. He said many things I had been thinking about for many years with some ideas I had only come to recently. And then there were the new. I am deeply grateful to you, and Paula, for sharing this exciting mind. I will be getting this book.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just borrowed this book from the library so thanks for the recommendation. Unfortunately I’m a terrible reader, so can I flip through the book randomly or should I go cover to cover to get the whole gist?

      Liked by 1 person

  29. To partly quote a famous blue fish, “Just keep Juggling”. People (including family) think I’m insane to “do everything”, and constantly ask me “How do you do it?!” I always praise my fabulous husband who is my rock and keeps me grounded. I don’t tell people that I’m constantly working on something or that I’m able to solve problems quicker than most, because that would be rude. When asked “Why would you want to learn all of those things?”, my response is “Why not?” and “I can’t not learn”. The hunger to learn, it drives me, my only regret is life is too short to actually do everything. All the things I give up still tug at me because I have moved on to other fun and fascinating projects.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Beautiful, brilliant simplicity.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Paula,

    Lot’s of familiar situations. It’s always good to read what you have to say and think about the ideas even if I don’t totally agree with everything.

    I never have and still can’t overlook mediocracy in anything that has importance to me and most things do. I’m not sure what it would mean to just blow off something of that nature. Would that mean I had given in to mediocracy? Perfection is not possible but how far along the road does one call it quits and still have any standards or principles left? What happens to personal integrity and at what point have you lost it? Sometimes the slope really is slippery.

    Additionally, I have this inkling or suspicion, that many of those who accept mediocracy are exhibiting some kind of narcissistic solipsism, i.e., what I do is good enough simply because it’s me who’s doing it. That doesn’t look, to me, like low standards or even no standards; it’s negating the very idea of standards.

    As for, “*…repeat after me: I am not responsible for everyone’s dropped balls.” I am troubled by this. A long time ago, I answered “Yes” to the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Watching y/our fellow humans march ever closer to the abyss without trying to do something to stop it, is simply not an option for me. Everything is so undoubtedly connected to everything else, where can I draw the line of responsibility between you and me, such that it would allow me to walk away from potential distress or disaster in the making?

    Of course, I have given up on figuring out the proper use of commas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you hksounds for being here. It makes sense that you won’t totally agree with everything. I welcome your sharing your thoughts. Sometimes, what I write can be misinterpreted and so your comments give me the chance to clear things up. I get your concerns about taking action and being responsible. What I’m saying is that we can use discernment to choose where we intervene and where we don’t. There is so much suffering in the world and a sensitive person can feel so much of it. What I’m saying is that there can be limits to how you help others because otherwise you could become so depleted that you end up unable to help anyone. Also, there might be some instances where you think you know what’s best for someone, when maybe you don’t?? But I see what you’re saying about everything being connected. And the dilemma in that. So, it sounds like there’s one area where you let go of perfection? Commas! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks Paula. I appreciate that you always respond to comments and do so in a thoughtful way. Your explanation of the statement clarified the intent but you have to admit, the statement on its own is open to other, and less compassionate, interpretation.

    Liked by 1 person

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