Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

You Know You Have A Rainforest Mind When…


There are seventeen unread or partially read books piled next to your bed. And you are browsing on the website just in case.

(photo courtesy of Gaelle Marcel, Unsplash)

You have been told that what is obvious to you is not apparent to everyone. Really? But it is so simple, you declare with dismay.

Your thinking and your style of communication is like a fire hose to everyone else’s garden hose.

You are hearing sounds and smelling smells that no one else hears or smells.

You start writing the paper for school the night before and still get the highest grade in the class. Contrary to the myth that you must be arrogant, you are actually uncomfortable so you hide your grades and start failing classes on purpose.

People much older than you are running the nonprofit where you volunteer and are asking your opinions and putting you in charge. You are appalled at how disorganized they are so you take over.

You are fascinated by, oh, everything, and never want to stop learning.

People who have been on the job much longer than you, resent the fact that you learned the ropes faster and mastered the job in a few weeks. And now you are bored.

Your empathy runs amok.

You have spent more time waiting for others to catch up than you have spent sleeping.

You had eight (or more) different careers before you were thirty.

People tell you that you care too much, you are too idealistic, too sensitive, and you can’t change the world. Sometimes you believe them but deep in your heart, you know they are wrong.

You took seven years to get through college because you changed your major 4 times. And you added two minors. You would have stayed longer if it wasn’t so darned expensive.

You have painted your living room 12 times in 4 years, and it is still not right.

People tell you how smart you are but you feel like a failure most of the time.

You slept with (and loved) the dictionary when you were a child and you are secretly annoyed that Google, Alexa, Siri, and Whoever are answering your kids’ questions.

People keep telling you to lower your extremely high expectations and you wonder why they are not raising theirs.

You learned to dance and lead the Argentine tango because it was challenging, creative, and intimate, and for the first time in your life others figured out how to follow you.

You see ecru, beige, ivory, and eggshell when everyone else sees white.

You not only know a lot because you research pretty constantly, even in your sleep, but you also have an intuitive capacity that is so particularly accurate at times, it is a little unnerving.

People tell you that you talk too fast, even when you are speaking your third language.

When you read this list you think, isn’t everyone like this?


To my bloggEEs: Can you add to this list in the comments? How do you know you have a rainforest mind? Thank you for being here and for your love. Loving you back, as always. Knowing you are reading my blog has totally saved me during this pandemic. Welcome to my happy place. Stay safe everyone.

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.

91 thoughts on “You Know You Have A Rainforest Mind When…

  1. I related to every single thing on this list

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, it’s pretty clear, really, since ivory is a bit more yellow than ecru, beige and eggshell . . . Being shut down by the “usual & customary” world is quite wearying, something I’ve never got used to. I need a new planet and I need it now! A cluster of gifted friends would also serve . . . the search for which is also wearying . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like a good mixture of “zebras” and other kinds of animal. I definitely love deep, challenging conversation, a powerful debate as long as it is civil and there is good will between the parties (which is rare to find nowadays, too many ad hominem attacks and fallacy after fallacy). But I also love engaging in dialog with people who are quite different from me. I find people fascinatingly odd. I love finding jewels and being pleasantly surprised by people. Sadly, I experience a lot of bad surprises, too, but I try to be understanding that many people are trapped by resentment, envy, anger and pain because of past hurts. I try to make a difference, one person at a time.

      I definitely believe that ONE person, with the right heart (it’s not quite a mind thing, although a sound mind can help!) can change the world. Not the whole world maybe, but SOMEBODY’S world. We can sow seeds and expect trees to grow. If many of us did that, the atmosphere would definitely change, but if one person does, already something is set in motion for that “contagion” we need for the world to be better.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand. Wearying. Yes. And other rainforest minds are out there, peabodyrus. They are! ❤


  3. I find that I see undercurrents of manipulative behavior when I’m in groups. When I point it out (because I don’t know how to manipulate in return), I get told I’m projecting or making it up.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This is so relatable. I can say “yes” with 100% certainty to most of these statements. For most of my life (and even more so in my adult life right now) I’ve wondered if something is wrong with me. Overtime, my understanding of my own self has deepened. But sometimes, i still wonder: is there something wrong with me why i can’t seem to belong…….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not belonging can be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes it takes courage to be the odd one out. It is a gift. You are the one that challenges the status quo. People like us can, when our energies are well-directed, be the pioneers, the innovators, the creators of new (and great) things. Please do not consider your oddity as a drawback. It’s just the opposite, though it can be really painful. We were created like this for a purpose. We can provide hope when everyone else has given up. Embrace the difference. Be thankful. I’m sure there is a jewel hidden within you. If you will seek wisdom you will find it. You will find a way, not to belong and feel just like everyone else, but to make your own unique and very important contribution. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina, so I’m guessing that you also have the experience of not belonging so you are speaking from your own experience here. You feel hope? You are thankful? You are finding your way? Thank you for sharing.


        • Absolutely! I’ve always been the odd one out, almost everywhere. I’ve often survived by attempting different forms of camouflaging, but when I just had to express something that was on my mind or heart, immediate rejection. I’ve gone out of my way to explain things the way I see them, as if I were speaking to kindergarten children. Some people appreciate my insights, others have a blank stare, a you’ve-gone-over-my-head-and-totally-lost-me look. I try again, but the person already doesn’t care what I have to say, because… I guess they assume that I am crazy or at least very eccentric.

          I’m starting to care less about people’s opinions and more about letting my inner voice out. Because I know that my voice matters. I know I was born a learner and even if there are so many things I haven’t learned yet, there are a couple of jewels I have collected along this journey which have helped me have a better life. And if I can at least try to share those learnings and my life story (including grievous mistakes, many of them!) can help anybody with a little practical wisdom for the road, and a lot of love to share, that will be a life worth lived.

          I am currently finding a lot of satisfaction in what I do… which stems from who I am at the bottom of my heart. I find connections everywhere I go. Some very deep friendships, some more superficial but still significant encounters, and more learning because I learn so much from people. I don’t crave acceptance as much as I used to, though it still hurts when rejections come. It’s a one day at a time journey. God is good. Life is great, though puzzling sometimes. But there is always hope when you choose to find hope. I am thankful, hopeful and unashamedly idealistic. I can see black clouds… but they do not define me anymore.

          Liked by 3 people

      • “Embrace the difference.” I want that on a t-shirt! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • One of the reasons I’m writing this blog, is to help RFMs understand their traits so they learn that nothing is wrong with them, Florence! Glad to have you here.


  5. Reading something and going, I know I read this before somewhere, and racking your brains about it. to finally realize you did. about 5 to 25 years ago in a different language.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Paula. I’ve been struggling so with feeling like I can thrive here, in this world, surrounded by opinions, projections, basically – humans. Being one of those humans is equally difficult. I suppose I will have to let go of a few things if I am to settle into this “being me” unapologetically. The fawn who freezes and flies, with an occasional fight for her life, must create a safe space to graze.

    I recently saw a t-shirt inspired Jane Austen that said, “Society of Obstinate, Headstrong Women: seriously displeasing people since 1813.” I thought about getting it – but I got an Ursula K Le Guin shirt instead, slightly more resonant with my desire to create worlds away from this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you so much, Paula, I needed this exact reminder so much today!

    I’m confused, saw a new therapist today and he started the conversation first with “how can I help you?”, which for me is code for “I’ve no clue who you are and if we’ve spoken before” (which we did, last week via videocalling!). So my defense system already got a hit.
    Then to continue with “imagine that none of it exists, no depression, no autism, no dark clouds, no judgments, no colors, no differences, nothing..” eh??? HOW?? It dóes exist! I can see it, I can feel it, right into my bones!
    To top it off with a continued undermining of everything I said. Éverything! If I said something is white, he’d counter with a whole story of why it is NOT white, for example.

    I left that office in total confusion and shock. Remember saying goodbye in a polite way, remember seeing a cute tiny dachshund on my way to the car and smiling because he reminded me of my beagle waiting for me at home, remember sitting in my car thinking “what the … just happened?? and drove home. Confused, shell shocked and getting kind of angry. With myself for not reacting at that moment, and at him, for treating me that way.

    So reading this blog (and all the comments! Thank you all!!) had reminded me that I’m no fool, my senses were (and are) on high alert for a reason. Was debating on canceling the next appointment, now I’m not debating anymore. No next appointment for me with this therapist!

    Thank you!! Lifesaver every time and again 🥰

    Liked by 4 people

  8. OMG this is pure gold and the last one is the best, as a therapist I here that so often 😄 It reminds me when I real the book from Mary-Elaine Jacobsen and was giggling nervously every page thinking “did she put a camera in my house ? In my head ???” 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ‘Sigh’ – you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Sometimes I get so sad that I don’t ‘belong’. Being sensitive to start off with and then having to be with people who make insensitive remarks is just depressing. I prefer my own company these days and I am working hard on establishing, and keeping, good boundaries.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My thinking is like the pattern of lines on a soccer ball. Most people are looking for something linear from me. Much is lost in translation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, many, maybe most, of the RFMs I know are nonlinear non-sequential thinkers. They are more creative and random in their thinking and doing, FredB. You are in good company here.


      • Hahaha. I’ve quite logical and precise when I explain my arguments, and then I throw out the seemingly random statement which makes perfect sense to me. I seem to digress, but in my mind everything is connected to everything, and the ramifications of any single thought are endless. It’s like following links on Wikipedia. You start researching King Amenhotep and you don’t know why suddenly you are reading about chemical reactions in a spider’s body. Or whatever.

        I need to cut out the time I spend on Google and Wikipedia searches. All the info seems so fascinating. And the thoughts in my mind that are aroused when I watch a butterfly in my garden… An endless source of intellectual and spiritual pleasure. It’s almost addictive to explore so many things. The world is so full of wow stuff.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Wow, this “everything is connected to everything” is precisely how I describe my thinking sometimes, and hardly ever anyone seems to understand what I mean. It has taken me years to understand, that not everyone thinks the same way. At least finally I know the difference and have found people around me who are grounded, and I explicitly tell them to keep me focussed, when things need to be finished, as otherwise life and work is endless exploration. And while my work allows some of that, it is good to show some finished products occasionally. Once as an adolescent, I was interviewed for a school place, and they asked why do I want to come to this school, and my answer was “Because I want to know everything about everything.” I still do, but realise that life is finite.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Oh Carina, I may have to quote you in a future post! OK?


          • I’ll be honored!
            I believe my experience is typical among RFMs. A voracious need to keep exploring. It’s one of the fuels of our lives. Even when I am with people, the thought at the back of my mind is always, What can I learn from this interaction? How can I handle this better from the previous learnings?
            When I discovered the concept of EQ, I thought, this is it… This is my life focus. How can I be more emotionally smart? How can I improve my interpersonal skills? How can I improve the relationship with myself? And I find that a lot of the things I have learned with my intellect can be used as analogies or metaphors to explain concepts, so, again, everything is connected to everything if you find a connection. And we are great at finding connections so the awe never ends!

            Liked by 3 people

        • Haha I love your comment and the way you word things! There’s another exploration-addict here 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh and speaking about a butterfly in your garden, this little video from Anne with an E is SO relatable and beautifully captured! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yep! You are definitely my Rainforest doppelganger!!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, iz me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a BIG question, Jen. The answer, of course, is, it depends. So many factors to consider because of all of the complexities of your you-ness along with the many details of your life. You may have to come see me so we can talk. 🙂 But, if not that, the place to start would be self-acceptance of all of your unique beautiful rainforest-y traits, which, in itself might take tools, techniques, therapy, writing, etc. Also, perhaps, a regular spiritual/meditation/yoga practice to deepen your connection to your inner wisdom, to your intuitive voice, to a loving universe. Maybe creating a support team of practitioners? massage? acupuncture? naturopath? musicians?? What about those for starters?


  12. Wow Paula… I was laughing with recognition. I enjoy having discovered your blog.

    My best friend, who I know since I was 5 and she 8, told me not long ago that I “think too much” and “take everything too personal”. Well, then, please show me the switch so I can turn it off and become a normal person…?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes! Thank you for being that beacon out there. At least someone understands. I don’t know why I have to be so lonely IRL, surrounded by people…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sometimes I feel like my own brain is trying to take me over, and dragging me deeper into never-ending analysis and reflections towards existential despair. This happens especially when I am already tired – and the bad thing is, it only further depletes my energy and makes my head feel like it is going to burst. I am still trying to find a way to stop thinking so intensely in moments like these.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good to notice that it happens particularly when you are tired, so good to be sure to get enough rest. There may be other tools you can use when you feel overwhelmed with analysis and reflections. What do you find to be calming and nourishing? Time in nature? Yoga? Writing? Drawing? Dancing? Meditation? Some people benefit from a daily practice. It’s good to differentiate between deep thinking and too much worrying. It is the nature of the rainforest mind to think a lot but if it turns into ruminating, it’s good to use tools to manage that. Make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • YES! Just a few days ago, I ended up in psychiatric ER because of insufficient healthy release of the anguish and anxiety building up in me. I was in serious overload. I was trying ALL the things that have proved to work for these situations: talking to my best friend, asking good friends to pray for me, praying, singing worship and praise songs (those help me reprogram my mind to positivity), crying and even screaming aloud. One thing I didn’t do, which might have helped, was write my heart out. Will try next time. But sometimes the volcano inside erupts. You’ve been silent for too long. Things you’ve left unsaid for years. It all erupts and you must say it all at once, and no words can express the depth of your pain.

        Oddly enough, as we were looking for a hospital where I could get this emergency visit for free, I kept singing quiet songs to comfort my soul, speaking nicely to my soul and feeling a supernatural sense of peace in the midst of my storm. We had to wait quite a bit, because the ER was full of people, but the three psychologists who saw me were amazed and could not believe how calmly and lucidly I was able to explain my feelings, the very concrete source of such feelings, and all the steps I was taking to try to work things out. They congratulated me emphatically for making the decision to seek help before things got out of control and reassured me that, though I definitely needed meds to get the volcano under control, they don’t think I will need a psychiatrist going forward, because just being able to verbalize what I’m experiencing will release all this pressure that has caused the eruption in the first place.

        So now I find myself, with no money to pay for our basic needs (I’m underemployed, and my husband 100% jobless), and the need to find a therapist who will treat me for free. We have a deficient public health system in Argentina, but there are some free psychologists (with a pretty long waiting list, I suppose).

        But the thought that keeps coming to my mind is a phrase from a former president, “Estamos mal pero vamos bien” (We’re in deep trouble, but are going in the right direction). I’m fully convinced this is true. Even if I don’t find a therapist in the immediate future, I know the help I need will be provided for. I will do my part, and my God will do the rest. My friends will help me. My tribe is here for me, and will encourage me with a typed message on a forum or a Facebook group. One thing I know, I am not alone, and this pain I feel will one day be used to heal others who are experiencing the same pain. I have so grown in empathy with all the hurts I have experienced (many, many, many wounds) and my sensitivity is a trait I never want to lose. Helping others helps me make sense of the pain. It’s extremely comforting to find that, even in the midst of my suffering, I can still find a reason to praise, to give thanks and give a word of comfort to people who are experiencing pain. I believe one of my spiritual names is “Consuelo” (Comfort).

        Liked by 4 people

        • Oh Carina, I’m so sorry things have been so difficult. It sounds like you did get some good help. Somewhere I read that there are lots of psychotherapists in Argentina! I’m glad you are here and can feel our love and acceptance. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wow Carina I feel you.. Thank you for sharing so openly about this ❤ You seem like a beautiful person and I pray you will find the help and the healing you need. Sending love!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks to you both! Yes, there are a lot of therapists in Argentina (I’ve read we have a very high per capita index of professional psychologists, psychiatrists, coaches, and others in the mental health professions. What does not mean there are many GOOD therapists. Sadly I have found that some study psychology/psychiatry because they have serious issues and they want to heal themselves with the knowledge and the tools these disciplines provide… I haven’t had the best experience but I’ll keep looking until I find the right person for my very unique RFM (the gifted are a group which is extremely uncatered for as regards to school interventions and therapy). Thank God I am my best psychologist and I have other helpers who keep me grounded.

            Eline, it’s really sweet of you to offer words of encouragement. My beauty is a “beauty for ashes” kind. There’s a lot of ugly garbage I’ve had to get rid of. A lot of the abuse I suffered became a part of me until I cried out and prayed with all the tears I could possibly shed that I didn’t want to be my father (extremely violent) or my mother (passive-submissive-codependent-denier). I’m still looking in the mirror and seeing that sometimes in my stressful moments I scream at my beloveds, and hate it and cry because I want the cycle of mistreatment to be gone, forever. It is a fierce battle, but I know I will get the victory because God knows my heart and He will help me and send all the helpers I need to be the person I want to be.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yes, it is true that many therapists seem to go into the profession when they really need to heal themselves. There is a person on Instagram, the holistic psychologist, who provides guidance for people to work on themselves. Those of you looking for help might check her out and see what you think.


            • When it comes to Psychologists and/or Psychiatrists the U.S. is not much better, Carina. There are woefully underqualified people in the profession. The bureaucracy of the healthcare system here has seen to that. Finding a good therapist is like finding a needle in a haystack! I am one of the lucky ones and on my first attempt! Even the best therapist is unfamiliar with treating the Gifted Adult population and you are more likely to be “diagnosed” as Borderline!
              Although my therapist is phenomenal and I have grown to love and trust her (we’ve been together over 8 years now) I find that connecting with people like you and Paula has been the ” milk to my cookie”.

              Liked by 2 people

              • So glad you found a great therapist, Touching the Dirt! Happy to be your milk!


              • Touching the Dirt, RFMs are definitely the milk to my cookie, too! I love sharing with all of you. This blog in particular is fantastic. I love the way Paula describes the complexities and nuances of our peculiar minds in a way that sounds compassionate and empathetic. It really helps to see the silver lining to a perplexing and sometimes extremely challenging condition. I’d love to have a switch that could change between “normal” and “turbo”. To be the regular girl when I need to relax, hang out with people, enjoy a movie or a joke without considering the philosophy of it all (a lot of angst lately hahaha) and to have a “turbo” switch when I need to think fast to problem solve, use my unique creativity, learn new stuff and do rainforesty stuff. But here I am, able to sort of calm down by using all kinds of strategies, able to connect deeply with some people but still, the overwhelming sense of peace I would love to experience, to just be in the moment and enjoy life without thinking of the laundry, next week assignments’, and a long etcetera, that peace is elusive. Tried meditation and yoga… It was worse! Definitely not for me! I prefer to relax by going out on my bike, walking, being around nature, petting an animal.

                But I love reading you all. We all have some coping strategies. I learn a bit from all of you. We have many differences and yet, so many things in common. It is beautiful. And it is great to be at a place where I can be me, and acceptance flows not just from Paula but from the rest of you. It is indeed a great gift!

                So thank you all for being an open ear to my “ramblings”. I hope I make sense and at least some of you can relate and find some comfort in my experience. It is hard. But it is worth the fight.

                Liked by 3 people

        • I am so sorry you are in this space Carina though I should have read your post before I put up my sad story today. I feel like a loser for not being able to get out of it myself, especially on the job front. I am unemployed and do not want to go back to doing what I did but it is all I know and I have a family too.
          I will keep you in my mind for good good good things going forward.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you so much, Monstero! You are not a loser. I have been there. I’m way below my potential as a translator (I have zero self-marketing skills, so going out to the whole wide world to get new clients, just the thought of it causes a panic attack!). I know in my heart of hearts I was born to be a writer. I chose my major out of fear, and I knew it full well even then. I wanted to study Literature, creative writing, poetry, even a little Philosophy. Panic set in and I chose the “safer” route, and shot myself in the foot, because translation is an overcrowded career. Too much competition and too many people willing to work for peanuts.

            So I have had a few modest successes in my profession, some of which I’m quite proud of, but currently find myself working for peanuts, below the money I need to pay for our expenses, with husband unemployed and feeling way more of a failure than myself. Not the job I would like, but the job I could get and I’m thankful for it.

            With an unwritten novel fully developed in my head, screaming at me for leaving her characters aside for so long. Add two little children in the mix, one 11, possibly gifted and most definitely highly sensitive like myself, and in deep depression and anxiety. The other, who has just turned 3, with the sunniest disposition and almost certainly a “zebra”, a little chatterbox who loves describing all the parts on a truck and making up funny, elaborate stories using his food as characters. Full plate, hahaha.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Carina please don’t give up your dream of writing! Why not start your own blog and write little bits at the time? I would love to read them 🙂 English is not my first language, but it seems to me you are good at giving words to your experiences.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thank you! I definitely need to start a blog. I actually have four different blog projects in my mind, one focused on emotional intelligence, empathy and interpersonal relationships, another with a more spiritual-religious orientation (I am a Christian), another focused on leadership and empowerment at work, and another one of bits and pieces of songs, books, even memes that have helped me on this fascinating and challenging journey. I might add a fifth one on the personal journey of a zebra hahaha. [Oh, God, you know 24 hours is much too short for all the things this RFM wants to do to help your beautiful creation!]
                Well, I believe in miracles hahaha. So somehow, someday, my gigantic dreams will come true. I like silver linings. I like baby steps. I like helping one person at a time. Writing one paragraph at a time.
                As a famous poet wrote “Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar”. You learn to walk by walking! You find your path as you move forward, even if sometimes you stray and say, mmm, this is not a good road, I need to turn around. Staying passive and paralyzed is not an option anymore. I must move out of my comfort zone. Well, I just have!

                Liked by 2 people

                • Such great ideas!! I would love each and every one of those topics! What I seem to hear through your words though is that you might have a tendency to not start anything because it first has to be perfect and complete – is that right? (it’s something that I tend to struggle with personally as well – for example I want to have a different journal for each different purpose so it’s all perfectly structured but then there’s overlap between the purposes and suddenly the structure doesn’t work anymore and oh help… Hahaha). I think it might be nice to stay in touch with you if possible. I like your posts and I can relate to the list of interests that you mentioned 🙂 Good luck on moving out of your comfort zone, I know you can do it!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • YES! I’m a recovering pathological perfectionist. I’m learning to tell the inner judge/monster to shut up! I’m done with all the negative self-talk. This time I will believe God has made me beautiful and is beautifying me as I speak. I still want to be excellent, “perfect” if that is achievable, at least partly. But I’ve learned it is totally ok to make even serious blunders on the road to my ideals. I’m a lifelong learner. Even my intelligence has stretched lots! I was seriously low in EQ until my mid-twenties. And now I know that because I want to do good things and not live a selfish life, all the resources of Heaven will come to my aid when needed so I can be what I’m meant to be. A Non-Christian might say, the Universe conspires to help us, the planets align so we can achieve our destiny. I personally prefer to believe in a personal God who is my helper and if it wasn’t for that help which I’ve always received, I wouldn’t even be alive!

                    But irregardless of religious/spiritual beliefs which are very personal, I definitely believe there is purpose in our lives and that when we understand it’s not about ourselves, but about community, about networks, empathy, bridges, we find a sense of fulfillment and peace that a selfish life can never achieve.

                    You definitely sound like my kind of person and I’d love to keep in touch! Are you on Facebook or Instagram? My Facebook alias is Carina de Mendez and my IG is scrittricecari.

                    Big bear hugs to you!

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • Carina you remind me of a quote I saw on instagram by Sophia Bush: “You’re allowed to be a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.” And it’s good to be in progress because it means you’re growing 🙂 And even if you’re not visibly growing, your roots are always going down!

                      You make me very curious about your EQ journey. And also about finding purpose in life.

                      I added you on IG! Hugs to you too

                      Liked by 1 person

          • A masterpiece AND a work in progress. That’s definitely a quote worth writing down! Thank you for your kindness and encouragement!

            Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Paula, how kind of you to reply! I have your book as well 🙂

    Finding those tools is exactly what I am working on at the moment – thank you for your helpful advice and ideas! I was thinking about it and I may have discovered the difference between deep thinking and ruminating.. Positive deep thinking for me is usually out of wonder and curiosity (which can get intense and tiring as well, but less so). Whereas my ruminating stems from trying to ‘solve’ a negative feeling by analyzing endlessly. Since last week, whenever I am thinking too much I try to go from my head to my heart to find the underlying feeling and try to deal with it on a more emotional level.

    Until recently, I have often tried to balance out intense thinking by fun social activities which tend to get me out of my head and more in the moment. While this helps for my energy balance, I am now also aware that it can be a form of escapism from the deeper questions and troubles of life. When covid and burnout happened, I realized my dependency on social activities and how over the past few years I have neglected my soul, my art and creativity, and alone-time. I was afraid if I paid more attention to that artistic and melancholic side of me, I would feel more lonely, depressed, purposeless, misunderstood. But I now realize that hope is often found in that same place.

    Yesterday and today, I went for a walk in nature carrying a journal and drawing paper. I am not going to solve the meaning of life, but I hope the writing can help in changing perspective and finding more hopeful angles. I try to finish my reflections by adding a positive poem, bible verse or quote that speaks to my heart to meditate on.

    I still need to try whether these newfound insights and habits will really work. What do you think? Will it be a good idea to give more room to the soul-searching and the melancholic and philosophical? Or should I still try to balance it out by being in the moment more and quiet my thinking using fun and social activities? Maybe both?

    (@Carina, as I am typing this I also see your reply pop up. I will first post this one and then read your comment as well!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think doing both, as you say, makes a lot of sense, elinetb. Head to heart. Finding balance. Fun. Social activities. Soul, art, creativity, alone time. Nature. I could not have said it better myself!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It means a lot that you understand! Thank you for your support ❤ It can be a lonely journey trying to figure out all these things when feeling like no one around me can relate. So happy I stumbled upon your blog and the sense of community and resonance here.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s just like a Rainforest Mind to question or doubt our coping mechanisms as if one should not NEED to cope. I have experienced a very similar discovery about myself during this COVID crisis. It is also just like the Rainforest Mind to use this strange time for more intense self-reflection. I used words like “escapism” also. I recall chastising myself for my spending, desperately missing my friends, and realizing that I actually NEEDED all those “distractions” that made me more like everyone else. The most significant thing I learned through therapy was how to connect the space between my heart and my head, or my mind and my soul.
      Those sweet distractions like shopping, having dinner parties, going to the theater and so much more, are actually the way we “fit in”! The intellectual and spiritual isolation so many of us experience should not determine whether or not we are socially isolated!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Agree with this but I am losing my grip as I cannot find a job for these past 10 months and it is very bad right now.
    I don’t WANT to be like everyone else but that gets in my way so much I just shut down and I am not doing right by my family who need me to help provide. I want to be unique but am so friggin sensitive.

    I feel like I really need counseling but I do not reach out for help ever and don’t want to get hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It can be hard to reach out for therapy partly because you don’t always find the right person at first. But counseling can be so helpful once you find a good match. These are also hard times right now when it comes to finding a good job, particularly if you are a sensitive. RFM. Thank you for sharing, monstero2006.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m not a rainforest mind person, nowhere near fully anyway. But I will say this: shades of white abound.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Everything is connected to everything”… Oh! Sure that’s so accurate!

    What I will write here may seem odd to many people, but here it goes: I think that the “everything connected to everything” is really the fundamentally magic part of General Relativity Field Equations (in which every little piece of mass, energy, charge and even empty space is “mathematically” connected to other spots in space and even across time). I know it is a little bit off topic, weird, geek… But it is the reason why I love General Relativity: such an intricate web of connections!

    So, yes: everything in the Universe (or multiverse?) is connected. Even the inanimate items of our best (mathematical) models of the Universe developed so far are connected. And of course, connections are even stronger in exosystems, society, life… (!)
    So connected, that it is sometimes difficult to conceive why some people seem to overlook…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I meant: “ecosystems” there. Sorry for the typo

      Liked by 2 people

    • Not odd, Someti. Not odd at all.


    • I don’t have a good background in science to really understand your comment hahaha. I’m more of a language and social sciences person. But yes. It makes sense. I have a theological explanation that you probably would not care to listen, but you definitely have a point there. I don’t believe in random. There is no such thing as chance. When you listen to nature, God speaks through nature. If you don’t believe in God, well, you may more esoterically say the Universe (multiverse?) is sending you messages through a butterfly in your garden. But whatever conclusion you wish to reach regarding this general relativity, there is an element of spirituality that is very powerful. We were not created or designed (that’s what I don’t like about evolution, the nihilism, the there-is-no-meaning underlying concept that drives me to despair) to be islands. We are meant to be builders of bridges, true peacemakers, who can find commonalities where there are no apparent affinities between us. Even when we can’t find them, we can always agree to disagree, honor and respect each other, accepting the very human dignity of having our own belief systems which no one has the right to encroach upon. If we truly listened, we would find we are not that different after all!

      Liked by 2 people

      • So true Carina! Being a science person does not mean that I do not appreciate other branches of human knowledge. And, well, I do believe in God. And I think theological explanations are worth being considered and cared about. So: thanks for your comment!

        What I intended to say (no need to understand Einstein field equations for this) is that: sure, we are all connected (socially, biologically, and otherwise). Sure, animals and plants are connected (in ecosystems, etc.). But the thing does not stop there: things (inanimate things like stones) are also connected. What is more: even empty space is connected to some piece of empty space elsewhere (that is up to some extent what general relativity tells us, in “simple terms”).

        Plus, you add something I missed: including theology to all this… goes even further! 🙂 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Where I struggle here is with a sense of powerlessness, having been raised with the “That’s life” attitude (which is more or less Britain’s equivalent of Japan’s “Shikata ga nai”) and a hefty dose of authoritarianism. I’ve been told that I am wrong to care about things, that a “common man” like me can’t change anything, so all I achieve by caring is to make myself miserable, and my only rational option is to use coping mechanisms to make myself be content with the status quo and with adapting to the world as it is. When I have suggested ways of improving things, the normal reaction has been, “No, that’s life. Instead of analysing it, you’ve got to just accept, it can’t be helped, because that’s just the way it is, and suck it up and get on with it.” I get the message that if I can’t “grin and bear” the status quo, there must be something wrong with me, as normal British men “grin and bear” World War 2.

    I tend to get the message that there’s a time and a place for caring, and that it’s limited only to the role of husband and father, the “family man” who passionately loves and cares for his wife and children, and who can be interested in creating a better world, but only through the narrow lens of, “What’s in it for my wife and children?”. There is some empirical evidence for this, e.g. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s book on creativity noted that the men in his sample’s sense of obligation to others tended to be limited just to their spouses and their children. I’ve never wanted to have children of my own for various reasons, but get the message that my choice is, become a “family man” or be unacceptable as I am.

    Also, I have such a deeply internalised sense that I am unacceptable as I am, that when I encounter people who see the world through a similar lens to mine, who share my deep concerns about moral breaches etc., sometimes I reject it and go into denial, I think, “They can’t think like me, because my way of thinking is unacceptable”. Not sure if any others have had struggles with this kind of thing, but I guess I’ve had such strong experiences of being shot down, that I struggle with these self-defeating thoughts, and it has been hard to make many inroads against them. I get the self-defeating thoughts that, no matter how much objective evidence there is for me being acceptable as I am, it can be defeated with, “You’re wrong, because we’re the ‘normal’ majority and we say so”. I’ve spent the last 5-10 years trying to find ways to get on top of those thoughts, but it has so far proved very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Ian. It sounds like you’re dealing with both the challenges in your family of origin and the rules- parameters- expectations of the British culture. It can be so hard to manage this on your own. Do you know about The School of Life in London? I’ve read some of their articles and looked over their website. They provide therapy and from what I’ve seen, I like their approach. What if you read some of their articles and see what you think? It’s possible to change those self-defeating thoughts but it often takes the help of a good practitioner.


      • I was just having some more thoughts about this, because I think one thing that has been putting me off going deeply into The School of Life is that some of its core values seem to me to align well with the values that my family of origin and the dominant British culture have been drumming into me for years. The following article on Romantic vs. Classical philosophy is a good example:

        It’s rather complicated, as I think in relation to romantic love and parenting (i.e. the nuclear family again), the culture that I live in is indeed very strongly inclined towards Romanticism, and I have often faced criticism for having a comparatively Classical stance on the nuclear family. But in most other areas, it’s been the other way round. I’ve tended more towards Romantic philosophies, being one of those eccentric outsiders who fights the status quo, and have spent most of my life being told that this is naive, too idealistic etc., and that I need to fall into line with many of the Classical principles, e.g. being content with “good enough”, keeping your true selves at bay by emphasising politeness, being fond of institutions, laws and rules, being happy when things are “boring” and happy with leading a “quiet life”.

        Another complication is that I think this culture does openly claim to exhibit Romanticism on a larger scale than just romantic love and parenting, celebrating individuality, equality, diversity and daring to be different and pushing against the status quo, but it has a lot of unwritten rules that celebrate conformity and minimising imposition, and that are typically embedded into social etiquette and not noticed unless they are violated.

        I’ve been to quite a number of therapy groups that have reinforced the criticisms that my family of origin etc. have given me but through different lenses, which is why I am wary of this kind of thing. For example, I remember being in a group which followed the “Three Principles” philosophy (mind, consciousness and thought) and it tended to reinforce the criticism that I was being “too sensitive” by letting things “on the outside” hurt me. I also remember a similar issue when I tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and was warned that CBT doesn’t work on many highly intelligent people. I never really got to find out because I was on a 7 month waiting list for CBT and when I finally got onto it I was going through a very good phase of my life.

        I am currently seeing a counsellor once every week or two who specialises in highly sensitive people, which has been helping quite a bit, though I tend to end up in a cycle of getting more confidence after talking to him, losing it again over the following week or two, and then gaining it again when I have my next session with him. It’s quite difficult to hold onto the extra confidence, I find, though it’s quite possible that Covid-19 and the associated social distancing aren’t helping here as they’re limiting my social activities.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for sharing, Ian. One thought–I’m so glad you found a therapist who is helping. Give yourself time for the “extra confidence” to hold. It takes a while for that sort of thing to sink in and stay there! But it sounds like a great beginning!


    • Oh, Ian… I read your post and I boil up inside. Who says that NOT caring is the answer? Who says that things can’t be changed? That’s… baloney! It’s the world that’s wrong, not you! The apathetic world that cares only about the “inner circle” of the “nuclear family” is wrong. And mind you, within the family, a person who thinks that way is likely to be equally selfish towards wife and children, while keeping up an appearance of being a “family guy”.

      There is NOTHING wrong with you, except perhaps your insecurity, your need for people to accept your sensitivity without a stiff upper lip. People like you are the ones who prevent the world from becoming a freezer of cold, numb, isolated automatons who go through the motions of life while being utterly dead inside. PLEASE, do not condemn yourself. You are exactly the kind of person that is most needed and you can do A LOT of things to “change the world”, even in ways that may seem insignificant to those who can only appreciate the spectacular. You matter. You CAN make a difference. Even in Great Britain, or in “Iceland”… We need more people with empathy, with genuine love. People who care. People who cry with those who cry. People who hug when most would just shake hands from a safe distance.

      And if all else fails, you can come to some place in Latin America. Here we like hugs and more sensitive people. I wouldn’t recommend Argentina, though. Things are becoming very critical and crazy here and we also have some guys who don’t particularly like people from England or anywhere near. 😦 I, as a very atypical Argentine would love to give you a bear hug if I could. Please don’t toughen up!

      Liked by 1 person

      • OK. So, with comments, I moderate them so that you are speaking from your own experience. And pretty much everyone does that. So, Carina, this comment to Ian is a bit over that line. But it is so kind and supportive that I’m leaving it here. I’m guessing Ian will appreciate it. So, hugs to you both. Hugs to you all ❤


        • Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to disparage the British aloofness, or anything of that sort. I believe in every culture there are very positive and also some perhaps very negative aspects, and there are some of us, especially RFMs, who are “misfits” in any place of the world where we are placed. Because we can see beyond the obvious. We can, for sure, appreciate the good things in our own country. I like mate and tango, joyful folk songs like the “carnavalito”, the culture of friendship. Which is alarmingly getting lost to appalling individualism and consumerism, plus the pandemic that increases isolation and turns formerly face-to-face friendships into Zoom meetings (if we have them at all… It’s mostly cold WhatsApp audio messages at best). I hate arrogance, self-importance, the “chanta” and “ventajero” culture (cunning and deceit being considered great when you get away with it, even if at the expense of someone else). I radically hate xenophobia.

          There are things I cannot say publicly regarding 1982 because I would be almost universally condemned by my co-patriots, but to sum it up, no piece of land regardless of its economic value is worth the loss of one human life. Whatever the nationality of that life, because to me, all lives matter. I am a citizen of the world, and my loyalty its towards people in general, not to any individual nation. Therefore I can hug Ian just like I can hug any person from any place in the world and let politicians say their nasty things. To me, their hateful rhetoric is noise.

          If I said what I said regarding this aspect of British culture Ian finds uncomfortable, it’s precisely because I care about people like Ian. I care about Ian’s suffering. It’s not fair for people to be ridiculed because they think differently from the mass (whether the mass is a nation, a company culture, a family clan, or whatever). We all have a right to think and feel and reach our very own conclusions. Please don’t take offense or misunderstand me. Sometimes for the sake of being empathetic I get carried away a little bit. Sorry if any of what I said sounded rude.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Not rude, Carina. Although, yes, it’s better to avoid general statements about someone else’s culture, even in defense of the person. I don’t state anywhere on the blog the expectations for comments, and I know you are just speaking from the heart, but what works best is if people speak about their own experiences rather than advising or even defending someone else. I hope this makes sense. There have been some comments that I have not posted that were political opinions, venting, or general statements about others that were not personal to the writer. I value what you have to say, Carina. I hope I’m being clearer about what works best here for comments and what to avoid. Thank you. You can send me a personal message (through the contact page) if you have questions.


            • Oh, yes, Paula, it makes perfect sense to me and I’m really sorry for my blunder. I didn’t mean it to be read that way, although yes, in hindsight it sounded like a criticism of his culture. I guess I wouldn’t have majored in English translation if I had any prejudice against the British or American people. There are many things I actually admire from those cultures and wish we had more of those good values (a better work ethic, for instance) in Latin America. But, like I said, every culture has both good and bad and sometimes the not-so-good can negatively affect sensitive souls such as us. I meant it as an encouragement for Ian to be himself even if that means in some aspects he will need to say no to peer pressure to be just like everyone else.

              I’m reminded of Sting’s “An Englishman in New York”. I’m a legal alien in Argentina, odd as it may sound, because while I love a few things of our identity, sadly I have to say there is too much hatred, anger, and nasty divisions among my fellow citizens, and I’ve had to turn off the news to preserve my sanity. Perhaps Ian needs to be a little “alien” to his own people? Just to the extent that certain aspects of his culture don’t allow him to express the full range of who he is. Or try to find a “tribe”. There must be other British RFMs he can connect to in his area, or online, who can help him feel validated and not guilt-tripped. Because ultimately culture does have an influence, but we decide for ourselves what we take and what we discard from it. Hugs to you both and sorry again!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks Paula for the link to The School of Life. I don’t live near London, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to attend anything “in person”, but in this increasingly online world this might not even matter so much. I’m sure Alain de Botton has been strongly involved with this organisation, and I think we discussed in the past how his views on romantic relationships, friendships, love etc. have much in common with my own. I follow The School of Life on Twitter already, but I might well benefit more from delving more deeply into the site.

              I can see how Carina’s points could be seen to attack the culture that I live in, but personally I don’t see it that way. I think all cultures have their pros and cons and I’m sure that if I lived in a different culture, there would be other aspects of said culture that I didn’t get on well with. But the “stiff upper lip reserve” and “caring only about the inner circle of the nuclear family” are, by some distance, the areas where I struggle most with the culture that I live in, and I often envy the typical Latin American and southern and eastern European ways of operating. In that area, Carina, I strongly share your sentiments and I feel touched and validated to see someone else saying these things. I’ve been very conscious of this cultural issue since my childhood when watching emotionally intense, expressive Formula One drivers from the Latin American and southern European cultures, seeing it get put down to their Latin/Mediterranean blood, and thinking, “There’s more to it than that, because I feel as intensely as they appear to feel”. I can relate to the “getting carried away” thing – with my intensity and curiosity I quite often get more deeply involved in things than originally intended!

              I actually wondered if my post might be rather borderline, but I felt an “on the spot” need to get it out, seeing these articles pushing forward the message that there isn’t anything wrong with me, and realising that there are, as Paula rightly suggested, issues with my family of origin and rules parameters/cultural expectations that cause me to reject that and still believe that I am inadequate.

              As it happens, my parents strongly love and care for me, and I’ve always had a fair amount of loving non-sexual touch and affection from my mother in particular, but I think a combination of my RFM tendencies being a threat to their and the family’s sense of security, and their protective fear that these traits could get me into trouble out in the world, led to a destructive desire to kill these traits that contributed to me believing that I am unacceptable as I am. In some ways it’s harder when these messages are coming from people who love me than when they come from out-and-out bullies.

              Anyway, thanks both for the kind and supportive messages.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ian, I am so glad and relieve you didn’t take offense at my clumsy overreaction. Thank you so much for understanding and connecting with what I said.

                I was thinking that this aloofness is not merely a British, Japanese or any particular nation’s trait, though of course this is more apparent in some cultures than in others. I tried to express that this “hot-blood” in the good sense Latin Americans have is to some extent becoming lost, and I think the pandemic has greatly increased the downward spiral of individualism and isolation. Well, particularly in Argentina the loss of true friendships and strong family ties is appalling. All relationships have become very superficial, and when you try to get a conversation to go deeper than platitudes, the typical reaction is the person becoming defensive and backing away. I am part of a WhatsApp chat with my husband’s extended family, and every time I share anything, except jokes or family pictures, the reaction I get is absolute silence. I once shared something from my heart, I went too deep perhaps and now it’s total ostracism. So be it. I don’t apologize. I don’t need validation from them.

                But my point is, I sense it’s worldwide. Narcissism. Isolation. Shallowness. Nihilism. Escapism. Denial. No desire to reflect on ANYTHING of importance. Many friends on Facebook, many pictures showing how happy we are, many posts showing off how much you love your hubby/wife/son, etc. But when this “happy” individual has the same person face-to-face, he or she is chatting on FB with someone else! Just yesterday I was talking to a lady who told me her sister does exactly this. A thousand Facebook posts to honor the dead mother she systematically ignored and despised while she was alive!

                And I know MANY people who do the same. Masks. Self-deceit. T. S. Eliot defined the 20th century with a masterpiece of poetry. The 21th century is the same, except perhaps even worse. “We are the hollow men. We are the stuffed men.” Stuffed with things, with activities, with “a million followers on Twitter” but no shoulder to cry on. No one you can afford to be vulnerable with.

                I’ve just completed a course about addiction and I can see all the signs written all over in 90% of the people I know. “Let’s eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we’re gonna die anyway”.
                No, Ian, again I insist, you are not the problem. You are part of the solution. And you are not alone. I send you all the love, compassion and validation that can be shared virtually. If I could, I would do more. But just know, I would personally love to meet you face to face one day just to give you a hug, look into your eyes and say, Ian, your voice matters! Your emotions matter! Your being matters! Thank you so much for being you!

                Liked by 2 people

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