Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

It Is Time To Stop Denying You Are Gifted — Part Two


photo courtesy of Hannah Grace, Unsplash

I have written about the reasons you may be denying you are gifted. But I missed one.

What if you are denying you are gifted because, if you admit you actually are gifted, then, you have to let the not-gifted humans off the hook. You have to not expect so much of them. You can’t be irritated or angry at their slow pace or their lack of capacity to grasp what you have to offer. You have to be responsible for all of the not-gifted humans forever and ever. And you will be alone for the rest of your days.

I love how dramatic you are.

I get why you think this. And there is a teensy weensy bit of truth in it. But here is what is really going on.

Because you have a rainforest mind, your capacity to learn, see, know, feel, smell, hear, taste, and intuit is larger than average. Maybe a lot larger. You were born that way. It is not your fault. Of course, this does not mean you must be capable in all areas all of the time, or even some areas all of the time, or all areas some of the time. Or that everything should be easy. You have your strengths and weaknesses. Your misinterpretations. Your confusions. Your particular interests and disinterests. Your self-doubt. Your failures. This does not even guarantee you are a high achiever, although you could be. And if you grew up with abuse/trauma or bullying, you have developed coping strategies and/or you may have acquired post-traumatic stress symptoms, like anxiety and depression, that distort your ability to see who you really are and live your fully rainforested life.

But, what about those not-gifted humans in your family. Your community. Your workplace. Your world. What about them?

(This is so tricky. It is hard not to sound arrogant with this one. But this is not arrogance and we need to talk about it.)

Do you have to lower your expectations? Probably. But do you even know what reasonable expectations are for most people? After all, your own super high standards may feel normal to you.

So, here is an idea. What if, on a case by case basis, you experiment with your expectations. How? Get to know the person. Do they have a rainforest mind? If yes, then relating might be easier. If no, what are their strengths and weaknesses? What can they handle? Where are their limits? What type of relationship and communication makes the most sense? If you do create different expectations, how do you still hold them accountable? You may need to be flexible, strategic, and creative in your approach. You may need to practice setting boundaries. You may need to limit contact.

Give yourself permission to feel irritated and angry. It can be extremely frustrating and lonely to always be the one with the solutions or the supportive response. You do not have to be the compassionate and understanding one every time, even if you are naturally inclined that way. Find healthy ways to release your frustrations and anger. You only have so much energy. Be aware of how much you give and how much you receive so that there is more balance in your life. Deepen your spiritual practice.

Then, make sure you look everywhere for other RFMs. I am living proof that they exist because I talk to them every day. My practice is thriving. They read my blog and books! You can find them, too. You do not have to be alone for the rest of your days.

And, just in case you were worried: You are not responsible for saving, healing, rescuing, and transforming all of the not-gifted humans out there. They are on their own paths, making the right choices for them. Or the wrong choices for them. It is your job to save, heal, rescue, and transform yourself. 

So, stop denying you are gifted.

Do you hear me?


To my bloggEEs: I understand you may feel a need to contribute to creating a better world. Of course you do. I do, too. I am just saying that you do not need to save everyone. You do not need to sacrifice yourself for others, especially those who will not benefit from your generosity. It is OK to choose carefully how you make a difference here on planet earth. So, what do you think? Are you gifted? How does this post resonate with you? As always, your comments add so much. Thank you!

And here is an upcoming event that you might enjoy. I am participating in a free online conference via The Shift Network called Evolved Empath 2020. Check it out!

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.

44 thoughts on “It Is Time To Stop Denying You Are Gifted — Part Two

  1. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have found myself feeling frustrated and angry quite a bit. I’ve learned to diffuse that, or be quite separate from it now (have to still work at it!). Jeffrey Allen mentions having “no opinion”, and I work at that. I feel frustration that other folks’ minds move at a slower pace, or that their compassion and logic seem to be sorely lacking. I have learned to focus on myself, and to not feel responsible for saving the world. I practice my gifts, I practice my spiritual growth, and raise my vibes, and that is enough! All of us doing this helps everything. Just want to have more Rainforest Mind folks around me!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. OMG! I really needed this. Thank you! I’m going back to work after a burn out not because of work per se although I’ve learnd thanks to you that deep down I was friggin bored, I would have been ok with it if the team I’m in wasn’t so toxic emotionnaly. While I was away my boss went on sick leave (his ways were so lazy, he could not seem to think things through in an intelligent way was soooooo left field) That made me lose it, cause I would constantly bite my tongue not to upstage him. And I felt constantly responsible for making things work for the others that were also draining me. I’m going to repeat your last paragraph like a mantra. Being and working from Ottawa, being sorry for everyhing is in my genes…imagine the struggle when you are also French Canadian 😉 lol!.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Ok, I’ll stop denying it.

    Thank you Paula. I have some changes to make in my life…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve started seeing how my giftedness plays into situations. It’s just so strange how confident people are about their perspectives when I am always asking for more – wanting to know why I feel how I do – if it’s authentic – where it comes from – is it even my thought to hold?

    Why can’t the others see, or when they do see they don’t see how it relates to everything else? I gather pieces from every moment, they coalesce into a picture over time (minutes, weeks, or years) and hidden things appear without effort. I can see inside of people because I explore so deeply into myself.

    It doesn’t feel like a gift to me, it’s a given. It feels desperately sad sometimes when I show up to deeply connect and I am not even met halfway – even when others have the intention of doing so. I feel as though I’m reaching and full of hope, but my arms aren’t long enough. Frustration sets in, then the feeling of isolation, and I sink into an abyss all the while still reaching.

    I have this voice saying – you are full of yourself, you are so wrong to assume things, you are crazy. Then I tell that voice – I know YOU are, but what am I? 🙂 I am gifted, flawed, beautiful, often suffering (in one way or many) and expanding always. But I feel one thing that is beyond my imagination is how to make sense of these gifts in a fleeting life – from within a voice tells me I already make sense.

    Liked by 4 people

    • A beautiful description of what a truly gifted person can experience, Ella. Thank you. Yes, you already make sense! Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ella! I am excited and relieved to hear you describe your learning process. That is exactly how I learn, too! I think it is a natural and beautiful way to learn. It is very frustrating to me at times, because it seems like most people will not believe what I have to say unless I can cite *exactly* where I learned something (sometimes to the specific page in the specific book). I often get disregarded if I can’t pull up a specific memory of how I learned something, and it is frustrating to me why my answer is usually “I don’t know where I learned that.” It’s because I usually learn it from everywhere. And because 12 + x + house finch + blue = go south to get to the river. Or because 700 sources say the word for this item is “filament.” So I usually wind up not saying anything if I can’t provide a citation, or I wind up coaxing other people to discover the answer themselves in a different way instead of just saying it.

      And it also surprises me how people can’t see the interactions between things, and the affects they have on other things. The ecology of the everything, the intertwining of the systems. It is so natural to me that I’ve only realized in the past few years that other people either don’t have this ability at all, or if they do, they can’t see the ripples go out half as far as I do. I have more than once predicted someone’s life playing out decades down the road based on a set of habits and choices – I feel like a wizard with a pointless magic, because I can’t warn them or help them down a better path, and I am still kind of surprised when it plays out the way I predicted. But it is all systems interacting; cause and affect, in a long chain from past to future.

      Apologies if this is kind of aside the point, but I was so fascinated at seeing you voice some of my own processes and feelings so eloquently. Thank you for sharing. You are certainly not the only one. If you happen to be crazy due to this, then we both are.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. God bless you for this message.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Several lines in this post really resonated with me. “Be aware of how much you give and how much you receive”. I have been giving without much receiving, partly because of what Ella said above – when I show up to deeply connect, I am not even met halfway. Even if they want to. And so I continue giving, without being met and so nourished, until I’ve become empty.

    So when you say Paula “You are not responsible for saving, healing, rescuing, and transforming all of the not-gifted humans out there. They are on their own paths, making the right choices for them. Or the wrong choices for them. It is your job to save, heal, rescue, and transform yourself.” It is SO true. Yet some part of me still wants to make their lives easier by sacrificing my own energy. They did not ask. Their bags are not mine to carry. I am slowly and painfully learning to put down others stuff, and save, heal, rescue and transform myself. Thank you Paula for the reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think a key point is what you’re saying about self sacrifice to help others, especially if they don’t ask. Not picking up their burdens. Not letting yourself get empty. But, of course, continuing to be kind and empathetic, but without sacrificing yourself. Thank you, Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It might be a bit easier to deal with the disappointment and frustration when trying to connect with others, when you understand this ‘being different’ thing. But what I still find difficult, is that people want you to be authentic. But not too authentic. So you always seem to have to adapt and be authentic at the same time, which drives me crazy…
    Yes, I love to hold on to that phrase about saving yourself first. Thanks for repeating that, Paula.
    So, lately, I’m reaching out and connecting with other RFM’s. Which is comforting, and interesting: like all humans, we each have our own unique personality and flaws. Lovely. In this company, I can just be authentic. And heal myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What I tell people sometimes, veroniqz, is that for RFMs, adapting based on how to communicate best with a person, is actually being authentic. You are still being you, really, even if you’re not saying everything you’re thinking. It could make for an interesting discussion: What is authenticity? I’m glad you’ve found other RFMs!!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I have learned not to offer solutions unless they are specifically requested.
    That said, the situation I lived with for far too many years, was:
    1. Come up with a solution.
    2. Be attacked and denigrated for the solution.
    3. A week later, have my solution expressed to me.
    4. Be attacked and denigrated for not coming up with that (my original!) solution.
    In my opinion, anyone in that situation should just get out.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Wondering if there are any 16-20 year old rainforest minded people out there that are willing to form an online friendship. I am looking for them everywhere but in my tiny town they seem to not exist.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Love the advice to take things on a case-by-case, person-by-person basis. I think this is so helpful in all aspects of life. Some people may be as disappointing as we cynically expect them to be, but others (most?) may surprise in at least some way.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing! Your posts seem to appear with perfect timing. Thank you for your insights and creating an uplifting community. Warmest thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I experience so many strange paradoxes that I’m STILL wondering if I am actually very smart. Ella touched on it … it’s when you see more than most, so your questions are different, but then you’re misunderstood for asking them. *Eye rolls* *semi-vacant stares* Then that leads to squelching your self, doubting your perception. Which then can lead you into dumbland. So weird. Oh and throw in the ‘excitabilities’ or in plain word, enthusiasm or passion, and you have truly weirded out most people.

    Thank you for soothing words, Paula! I always look forward to reading your posts, and hearing from others.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Even more resonant than the reverberations from part one! Preaching to the choir… and the choir still needs a preacher. Thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I read your post this morning and I’ve been thinking about it all day. It just came up in a chat with my extremely rainforesty son as well.

    I’d like to be really honest here, even though it might make me sound like a jerk. I’m not really that bad, I’m sincerely trying to figure myself and the rest of the humans out. This is somewhat oversimplified.

    I’ve struggled with being “intolerant” all my life. I put it in quotes because I don’t think I’m intolerant, but my parents, sister, in-laws and husband do.

    Others call me intolerant, but from my perspective the rest of the world is so slow, so obtuse, so forgetful, so flaky. I get seriously annoyed with the world sometimes. I struggle occasionally with not wanting to leave my house because people are so annoying.

    I’m not annoyed by kids. I’m a teacher and I never get tired of trying to find new ways to help students learn. I’m fascinated by the learning process and get really excited when a student has a breakthrough.

    But adults who are always late, who are dogmatic, who pass along gossip they know to be untrue, who are irresponsible, who rationalize, who are in denial? I have zero patience.

    So you’re saying that part of accepting my own giftedness is cutting the rest of the world a break. I honestly never thought of it that way before. This is a new perspective and might really help. (As do all of your posts)

    I’ll be chewing on this for a while.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for bringing this up, Sarah. I think some of what I’m saying might be misinterpreted, maybe because of how I wrote the second paragraph. I don’t think I’m saying to give the rest of the world a break, necessarily. More like recognize that some/many people may not have the capacity you have so examining what you’re expecting of them might be helpful. Maybe have some patience if they aren’t working up to your standards, if you can tell that they are putting in a good effort for their particular capabilities. This is not to say that you won’t be frustrated, angry, or bored. You have every right to those feelings when other adults are being “slow, obtuse, forgetful and flakey…” This is why I also recommend finding other RFMs so that you will have times when you are able to move as fast and far as you like and you will be met and even challenged. I think this is one post that does requite chewing, If you and your son have other thoughts, please let us know.


  16. A bit off topic, here, sorry. But does 2E always mean giftedness+disability, or could it mean giftedness+emotional health issue, like anxiety, OCD, PTSD?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Malandra. It can be both. Learning disability and/or emotional health issue.


      • Thank you. How would it affect a child when neither the giftedness nor emotional health issue is correctly addressed?

        Liked by 1 person

        • It depends on the child, Malandra, and all of the many variables in the child’s life. So this is a great question but not easy to answer. It’s quite likely that if the giftedness is not understood and addressed that there would be consequences. It’s just hard to say what they would be without knowing more of the situation.


  17. I’ve gone back and forth between denial and acceptance throughout my life. I’m PG, and my parents raised me as their little pet to show off and bring them glory through my “brilliance.”

    I *wanted* them to be wrong. I *wanted* to actually be average, and for the “gifted” thing to all be a huge mistake. But… it’s just not so. It was never so. Even during my most vehement periods of denial, I’d been PG all along.

    “What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.” – Eugene Gendlin

    I hope I’ve finally passed my last denial stage and I can stop obsessing over whether or not I was ever Actually Gifted, whether giftedness is actually a real phenomenon, etc., and go on to develop the famed “growth mindset.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes to these two posts, Paula. As old as I am, (well into the Corvid-19 danger group) I still have to keep reminding myself of two truths: 1. I did not come to this life to “fit in” and 2. I did not come to this life to save the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ll try, Paula, and I’m extremely healthy! How else can I save the world? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I spotted this post and I love it! Thank you so much for posting. I hid my talents for so many years because of fear of being bullied! And I was already being bullied. Now, I display my gifts and no longer care what others think or say about it. Because my biggest fear is being on my deathbed and having regrets of not acting on my ideas!

    Sadly, too many people still fear showing their gifts.

    Liked by 1 person

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