Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The Gifted Human’s Guide To Normal

26 Comments

photo courtesy of Dan Price, Unsplash

You may think that you’re normal because you’ve always been the way that you are. It feels normal to be you. You may not spend much time comparing yourself to others. At the same time, you may often feel weird, left out, and misunderstood. Different. It’s a paradox. You can feel normal and abnormal at the same time.

Let me clear this up right now. You are not normal.

Sorry.

You’ll never be normal.

You may be OK with this now. You may even celebrate it. But I bet when you were a child, this was hard. I hear it from kids. I just want to be normal. Yeah. You wanted to fit in and be one of the gang. It was painful to be an outcast, to be excluded, to be rejected.

But normal for you?

Not gonna happen.

You’ll need to prepare your kids.

And, just for the record, normal isn’t particularly good or bad. It’s just one way to describe what we might see as typical or average or middle-of-the-road or majority or consensus reality. I mean, I must admit, I do wonder if our world would be a more peaceful place if more humans had rainforest minds. But that’s a topic for another day.

My clients struggle with feeling excluded and outcast. Desperate to be embraced by others, to belong, to not be rejected for living beyond normal.

Just this week a client told me about how she felt deeply touched and in wonder, moved to tears, by a moment when she saw light coming through clouds and hitting trees in such an indescribably beautiful way. She was crying at nature’s gorgeousness. Deeply appreciating life in that moment. Moved by a spiritual connection to beauty.

This is not normal.

Chances are, most humans would not notice the light, the clouds, the trees and be awestruck by the wonder of it all. You, on the other hand, see more, feel more, and perceive more than normal. It could be how you’re wired. Or it could be that you’re an old soul. Or both. It could be that humans are evolving to develop the more-ness that you have. To evolve to be less normal.

I’m counting on that.

What do you do in the meantime?

You embrace abnormal! Find your peeps. The ones who also cry when the light comes through the clouds. Use your perceptive and intuitive powers to feel connected to the Force, to your spirituality, to Nature. Use your creativity to discover your next project or path or purpose.

Let go of the belief that you need to be normal.

Normal got us into this mess.

Abnormal can get us out.

_________________________________

To my bloggEEs: How have you felt rejected because of your rainforest mind? Have you felt the desire to be normal? Are you able to connect with Nature or a spirituality that gives you some of the deep connection that you yearn for? Have you found some peeps who love you just as you are? Well, I’m sending you love right now for all of your rainforest-y abnormality! And if the holiday season is getting you down, this one’s for you.

 

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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.

26 thoughts on “The Gifted Human’s Guide To Normal

  1. Your posts are always so timely. I was upset last night thinking about how loneliness is a constant in my life and has been since I was little. I kept thinking if I could just seem more normal, then I wouldn’t be lonely. But, I also remembered how exhausting it is to pretend to be normal…I can’t sustain that and don’t want to.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. Yep. Too exhausting to try to pretend to be normal.

      Like

    • I connected with this post because normal was never a word used to describe me or the way I live. I’ve always existed more in the realm of odd. Your comment articulates the paradox of my life as well. I’m currently sitting in the airport, alone waiting for a flight to my parents for Christmas. I was thinking how lovely it would be to have a companion to fly with.then thought how exhausting it would be to get to the point where said person was accepting of my oddness.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s interesting because I was thinking about what “normal” is just the other day. When I was digging through the attic looking for xmas stuff, I came across a box containing a bunch of my childhood things, including a stack of creative writing papers I’d written when I was 10. One of them was a very detailed account of a couple of Vietnamese children whose village had been bombed, killing their parents and forcing them to run away to the hills. I was 10 in 1968, during the Vietnam war. So while my peers were probably writing about their pets or playing baseball, “not” normal me was writing about war.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. When I was a tween, I studied normal people the way an anthropologist studies a foreign culture. As a fiction writer, scenes with normal characters are the hardest ones to write. Thankfully, there aren’t any normal people in my book.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It is so true that I have always thought of myself as normal, and I always think that I am acting normally, but somehow people can tell that I’m not normal, and I have had it pointed it out to me several times. I would ask why they think I’m not normal, and often times I would realize that here I am thinking they are the one who’s not normal!
    Fortunately, I have never really experienced too many problems because I’m not normal, but I still wish people would stop commenting about my abnormalness because hey you’re not normal to me either and I don’t comment about that!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ” How have you felt rejected because of your rainforest mind?” – Pretty much always since I was the smallest child.

    “Have you felt the desire to be normal?” – Only if the others could be more like me and not the other way round. Others seem to live life on the surface, interested in superficialities and unaware of deeper meanings. Why would I ever want to be like that? Do I want to be with others who think and feel the way I do? Of course, but that seems impossible. We are all standing in a different place and so, even if we are looking, we won’t be seeing the same things. I’d just like to be around people who are trying to see the real and trying to change the direction our species is heading in.

    “Are you able to connect with Nature or a spirituality that gives you some of the deep connection that you yearn for?” Panbiophile, is my word to describe what I am feeling these days and I think it does indicate a ‘connection’ to/with Nature.

    “Have you found some peeps who love you just as you are?” Very, very few and far between. I never stop looking but in the meantime, I am living alone and feel happy. Alone and lonely are not the same. Some of my best friends are characters in novels.

    But I also love writers and non-fiction. I just finished yesterday a very interesting book by someone who is definitely a rainforest person and it made me so happy to have read it and to know there are people out there living that kind of life. It’s called “Cathedral of the Wild” by Boyd Varty. He did a google talk that I found on Youtube while I was reading the book.

    Thanks again Paula. When will you tell us about your connection to Nature or would that be ourtof bounds?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Panbiophile” sounds fascinating. Tell us more? I think it’s a great way to feel less lonely, to connect with books and authors and book characters. Thanks for the book suggestion. I’ll think about how I might talk about my own connection to Nature and see how I might work it into a post. It’s kind of an odd story!

      Like

  7. I often thought that I wanted the instructions or how to manual. because then I could at least succesfully pretend to be “Normal”. Nobody ever managed to explain to me how I was not “normal” just that I am not. and it is so confusing and exhausting. also hoped as a kid that at some point in time I would outgrow the “not normal” but it seems grownups have the same stupid secret rules as kids. And I still dont get them. It feels as if the world is playing checkers and I am trying to play 3D chess.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I don’t know what is more mystifying about normal people: that they so readily condemn anyone who does not think or act the same way they do according to the (oftentimes arbitrary) rules of the
    group, religion, or country they are devoted to, or that almost none of them consistently act in accordance to those very same principles.

    My own personal experience with normals is bittersweet. On the one hand normals may assume I am a deviant freak, no questions asked. But on the other hand they may see my devotion to moral ideals and high standards as the mark of a reliable, predictable friend they can count on.

    Except that kind of respect lasts only so long as we all hold ourselves to the same standards. If any conflict arises between us because their own standards are somewhat more lax, this may result in feelings being hurt. And then that is not only my problem, but it is my fault as well because what were previously valued as high standards are now symptoms of an overly judgmental pr**k. And I have a hard time arguing that point, because unlike normals, I do have high standards which I also hold myself to….

    Anyway I gotta go because my WiFi on this ice floe is getting spotty….I’m on my way to the Island of Misfit Toys. But the OTHER one, the one where everyone is happy to stay there unadopted forever.

    Merry Christmas to all you abnormal misfits.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Paula,
    Thank you so much for this post and all the others. I’ve been going through your blog all morning and so many of the things you and the various commenters here have written resonate with me deeply.

    I was identified as twice-exceptional fairly early in my life – I grew up with both a ‘gifted’ and autistic label – and have always stood out, whether for good or for ill. But it’s hard not to stick out when you’re reading at a 12th-grade level at the age of 6, or find the world so intense and overwhelming that you react visibly, or have odd mannerisms that people can’t always figure out. I’ve never felt normal as a *person*, though I’ve often yearned to be even when it would be an impossibility. I’ve also thought the things I’ve been able to do are normal, or are at the very least unworthy of comment. I remember being embarrassed when people made a big deal of my learning the equivalent of four years’ worth of classroom French instruction in the course of about nine months back when I was 16. I think I probably had thoughts along the lines of ‘Can’t anybody do that?’

    Still, though, I sometimes feel like a fraud as an adult in my early 30s. I had my IQ estimated at a neuropsychology appointment, and the score was at least 20 points lower than any score I’d had as a child. It turns out, though, that the assessment method they used was the wrong kind and had a low ceiling. I still can’t dispel the feeling of being a fraud and a faker, though; there’s a niggling voice that tells me I’ve somehow imagined my history and that my intelligence, sensitivity and way of perceiving the world are, well, ‘fake news’. That I just see things others don’t because I’m crazy, or that it can all be explained by the autism alone.

    I’m working on trying to embrace my thinking and learning style in all its complexity, but it’s hard when you’ve internalised so many messages about the benefits of normality.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “She was crying at nature’s gorgeousness. Deeply appreciating life in that moment. Moved by a spiritual connection to beauty.

    This is not normal.”

    I snorted at the “reality check” part. Sigh. I cried when I saw a rainbow pulling over the clouds and sunshine breaking through at the same time when I was out jogging. It did feel normal to me. I was more like with others passing: CAN YOU NOT SEE THE GORGEOUSNESS?

    Normal, abnormal, I don’t even know anymore. When I was a child I never felt abnormal or that I was a misfit! I did however as an adolescent felt an extreme relief when a friend told me I was allowed to just be average, I suspect that my parents in some way demanded for me to be “special” and “perfect” all the time, which caused me to tumble into fear or failure and freeze states when it comes to pressure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! I’m happy when folks get my humor! Sometimes it can be unclear. I know the words normal-abnormal can be triggering for some. And confusing. And it’s a tricky dance for parents knowing how to explain giftedness so it doesn’t create pressure to perform perfectly at all times! Hm. Maybe I’ll write about that! Thank you RainySunshine. 🙂

      Like

  11. I meant performance, not pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have never cared to be “normal” : ) I really enjoy your posts! Thank you for your awesome messages. I believe in love, self-evolution, universal connection, and the amazing, bone-aching beauty of this gorgeous planet! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Who Were You Before You Learned That You Are Supposed To Be Normal? | Your Rainforest Mind

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