Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Gifted Adults Around The World — What Do They Have In Common? Meet Alice In Brazil


The more rainforest-minded souls I meet, the more hope I have for humanity. No matter where in the world they happen to be, I see similar traits. Big-hearted, creative, deep-thinking, sensitive souls. Humans who are so darned smart and who are driven to use their superpowers for good.

In case you missed them, profiles so far come from:

Brazil, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Malaysia, India, Chile, Canada (via Cameroon) (If you are from a country not yet represented and would like to be profiled, email me!) Of course, most of my experiences are with N. Americans. I feel so grateful to be able to learn and share this expanded view.

Today we are meeting Alice, a 25 year old Brazilian female. She came across my quiz and gifted information after searching for “people who don’t fit at school.” She ordered and quickly read my first book and The Gifted Adult, then she contacted me. Like so many of you, Alice was struggling with intensity, being misunderstood, passions for learning everything, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and the political tensions in her country, made it even harder for her to find direction for her future and the relief she would normally feel in the natural world.

(photo courtesy of Bruno Dias, Unsplash)

Alice described her experience this way: “I just want to follow my multiple and endless passions. I just want to be FREE to create and to travel the world. It feels like I’ve spent my whole life being a dormant volcano, without knowing what’s been going on inside of me. My anxiety and depression feel like lava. It seems to burn me inside and it hurts. I internalized that being the way that I am is a terrible flaw…When I was identified gifted, all of my traits seem to have erupted. The hidden, real, and even more intense Alice came out. I’ve been dealing with a kind of new me.

“…Oh, how unfair this world is! I hate this world! But, how can I love this world the way I do? I love the Nature SO MUCH that it hurts. I love you Planet Earth! I love Jupiter and its moons. I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer, a solo traveler, a documentarist, a multi-instrumentalist, a singer, an author, a visual artist and paint maker, a polyglot, a dancer, an athlete, I wanted to help people, wild animals and plants, etc. etc…I wanted to learn more about history, geology, archaeology, biology, astronomy…I wanted to do hundreds of things, I also wanted to live in many different places and experience diverse cultures.

Like most (all?) of you, Alice is a multipotentialite but she could not tell anyone for fear of criticism and rejection:

“…I can’t let them know my interests. I can’t let them know that I want to speak 10 languages one day, without being judged, without them thinking I am arrogant, without them telling me to be less, to question less, without them telling me not to share my interests, my vulnerabilities, my sense of justice…’keep that just for you, Alice, otherwise they won’t like you’…They’ve been treating me differently and I can feel it. But I just love learning 8,459,238 things at the same time. And also because I have no time to dedicate specially to one thing, and I always struggle with choices and procrastination, I often think I’m incapable, incompetent, and very unlikely to succeed…”

So many of you can relate to being called arrogant or being told you are too much, too sensitive, too intense. You’ve heard the complaints of others: Why can’t you focus? Why can’t you be happy with one language, one job, one book!?!

Alice was working so hard to understand where she might fit and who she actually is. She wondered where she stood on the gifted spectrum and how she might move forward in her life.

“…I just don’t want to be so afraid of being myself. I just don’t want to feel so much need for others’ approval. I just don’t want to be so afraid of the critics…I don’t want to be so afraid of success, too. I want to find at least a balance between my natural optimism and pessimism. I’ve written a lot about my pains, but I’ve had the opportunity to experience many, many beautiful moments, too…”

Like many of you, in spite of the challenges and pressures that would often overwhelm her, she could see the beauty in life and appreciate the little things, love them so much that it hurt.

As Alice and I talked, she was able to get a better understanding of how her struggles were not based in her own inadequacies but rather connected to her gifted traits. Because I had already written about two Brazilian young women, I suggested she try and reach them and the other Brazilian commenters through my blog, as a way to reduce her isolation.

Because she had experienced traumatic events in addition to the struggles of being gifted, I recommended she look for a therapist where she might get regular support and work through the traumas. Believe it or not, around the time I was speaking with Alice, I was contacted by Giovanna Strobel, a psychotherapist in Brazil who specializes in giftedness! How amazing is that?! (For those of you who speak Portuguese, check her out!.)

So, now, Alice is reaching out to Giovanna and her team. She is starting to understand more about the beauty and power of her rainforest mind. And I hope, one day, loving herself so much that it hurts.


To my bloggEEs: Do you relate to Alice’s experiences? How are your feelings similar? Different? Remember in the comments not to give advice to others but rather to speak about your own experiences and insights. Thank you so much for being here. Much love to you all. And thank you to Alice for sharing your big-hearted, sensitive, creative, deep-thinking, rainforest mind with us.

(Note: Giovanna and I will be doing a live interview on July 3, 2021, 1pm PT. I’m not sure if it is on Instagram or somewhere else. If you follow her on Instagram or me, you will hear about it. Join us!)

(Another note: I was reviewing my first article on Brazilians and was reminded of another practitioner in Brazil who shared in the comments. Adriana Vazzoler-Mendoca. Sounds like she would be another good resource for Brazilians looking for a mentor or coach!)

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.

26 thoughts on “Gifted Adults Around The World — What Do They Have In Common? Meet Alice In Brazil

  1. Hi Paula, great post this week. I haven’t commented here in months but have been reading your blog. Yes, I can still relate to Alice as a young female in my late twenties – it definitely has not been easy, but the thing that has helped me is making a few friends that can relate and share their rainforest mind of ideas, hobbies, and thirst for knowledge and creativity! I think as I age it slowly gets easier as I enjoy spending time alone, but it has not been easy especially this past year. I also struggle with liking so many things and I waffle back and forth – it’s hard to make up one’s mind on what kind of studies one wishes to pursue. I want to study history, political science, environmental studies, English literature, all for a master’s, but it’s hard to choose just one (juggling all these things is not easy!). Yes, I imagine some people are intimidated by my multipolentalities, as I think this is why it is difficult to make friends at times with everyone and anyone! Thankfully, I have a few friends that are understanding and can relate. I think what makes it a struggle is not being able to connect with all my family members; I kind of feel like a black sheep at times. What helped me is that being humble, self-effacing, and kind to others is important – not everyone is going to relate to me and I can’t relate to everyone’s interests and beliefs. It can be isolating — I can relate with Alice on that. Sometimes I want to disconnect from the world and hide, but slowly coming out of my tortoise shell with the help of friends and parents helps me greatly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Karli. Welcome back to commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for these words, Karli! It’s definitely really hard to manage all of our interests and intense feelings. That’s so true: “…not everyone is going to relate to me and I can’t relate to everyone’s interests and beliefs.”. The diversity is also beautiful and essential – and I love what Paula writes about the rainforest, the desert… That’s why I travel too. Because I have the opportunity to know so many different cultures, and landscapes… The wildlife, the weather, the people, the languages, the traditional food… I’m fascinated by that! Sometimes I want to disconnect and hide too, sometimes I want to share all my creations and thoughts… Both ways lead me to self-criticism, unfortunately, and I want to learn how to manage it better. I have a really hard time trying to decide what to do, because everything is so, so intense…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh yes, I sooo feel you on that, Alice! (and also and especially the self-criticism, I’m always the hardest on myself with my creations and also strive to find a better balance to where I get to enjoy myself more with the outcomes of my creativity instead of taking myself apart… 😉 I guess, it’s a process one needs to patiently embark on, like with so many other things and people in life… sounds mundane, but… oh well… )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Greetings, Alice! Thank you for your kind comments. Yeah, I agree, travelling is an excellent way to explore different cultures and foods – and especially if one likes History! There is definitely so much to learn when experiencing a new content or city. I think I am enchanted with the UK and Ireland (especially the rich history of Ireland, England, and Scotland). I feel like my soul belongs to the UK! Yes, I agree, it can be hard to manage everything and decide everything at once – so many possibilities. I will be glad to send you an e-mail soon to chat more if you like. Cheers for now!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi (oi tudo bem) Alice,
    I am Brazilian and can relate to you. I am also a daughter of a rainforest gifted mom and a mom of a gifted daughter (who gives me the impression that she is at least two girls inside one and called by many people “a seven year old child in a body of a thirty old woman). We can connect (quando você quiser. Você escreve muito bem)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh wow this is so wonderful! Alice I relate to you so much—your interest and passions, your love of languages and abiding passionate love for the earth! You have found your community here!
    And it’s so so good to hear about all the rainforest kindred spirits out there; thank YOU Paula!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Lucky you! This level of self awareness at 25!! I was 45 before I knew. One catchphrase I use that helps me get through life: “Unfocus for fun, focus to get it done.”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Resonates with me 100%! Even now that I’ve found like-spirited and like-gifted fellow travellers here and in a few select places elsewhere, even after having read up on giftedness and living with an overly charged/highly sensory autonomous nervous system that would register the minuscule reverberations from a mosquito placing its tiny feet on a bark of tree, I still struggle… and why wouldn’t I as the world seems so BRUTALLY coarse and rigid in many ways, as people feel threatening more often than not and as there is such a small number of peers I feel drawn to (for whatever reason, the way they talk, smell, move, the sound of their voice and intonation… to name just a few)?

    It more often than not feels as though the likes of us were misplaced on the wrong planet, as if we somehow took a wrong turn somewhere on our intergalactic itinerary in search of a body to incarnate in… no? I can almost hear the NTs go “oh, come on, you’re being overly dramatic!” No, I’m not. That’s EXACTLY how it feels and has been feeling for the larger part of my questionable existence here…

    But thanks for introducing us to another beautiful soul, Paula! Alice sure sounds like someone I’d love to sit down and have a talk with and contemplate the possibility of (self–) awareness in plants, rocks, even particles among the plethora of other topics we’d brush by in the matter of minutes. Feels great to see that I’m not the only “misplaced” soul any more… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi! Love these profound and sensitive words, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings! I’m happy it resonates with you. You can send me an email if you want, it’s in the comment below. Have you watched the official video of Paradise, by Coldplay? It’s definitely one of my favorite songs + the video is absolutely amazing! That’s what I’ve been doing during my life… It’s about being a solo traveler (in life too) and a dreamer, it’s about storms and sunrises…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Alice, I appreciate your kind reply. Will go and check out the video you mention. Oh, yes, “solo traveller”, been doing that for a very long time (but long for connection and resonance). I noticed you kindly sharing your email with us, thank you! I might take you up on your kind offer, but will like to be in an open mindset when I do so. (and the latter is difficult to obtain at the moment as I’m confronted with more adversity than I can handle right now. So please bear with me. But I’m happy about you offering to contact you and your kindness and video suggestion, that’s very sweet, thanks!)
        A (virtual) hug for you! (How would I say that in Portuguese..?🤔🤗🌻)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh…. yes, the words and imagery in the Coldplay video also resonates strongly with me, Alice! (and have me a li’l emotional, naturally…) In fact, I think that’s my current ‘quest’ as well, to go and find that li’l paradise for myself – and maybe a few like-minded rainforestry people – to live in and go about the things that give me a sense of purpose: Music, reading, being in nature, contemplating, meditating, having deep conversations with like-minded humans. In fact, when I had fairly newly arrived in a place I had lived in for a number of years, I made a little music video myself with the help of a friend, who contributed footage(images and video sequences) from your native country, Alice. It’s only an instrumental, there are no lyrics to it and I’m not “confined” to this music, but at the time it captured my sense of being: (music and all instruments were done by myself)

        As far as music, I’m open to almost anything that provides a level of musicality and “smarts” and creativity, but like I said: That is ONE of the activities dear to me, I have since discovered so much more that gives me a sense of peace and well being, healthy nutrition/cuisine and exploring more foods that my system is better compatible with is another one, literature, like I said, and always, always spending as much time in (peaceful, wide open) nature as possible! 🙂

        (I have more videos on my YouTube channel and I’d really love to see myself getting to make more time for composing and music production or even performing again eventually, next to all the other things us multi–passionate folks like to immerse ourselves in, right? 😉 )

        @Paula: Sorry for the “shameless plug” in this context, this is not about taking your wonderful blog hostage for self-marketing purposes, I wouldn’t do that, just thought some might enjoy the relaxed vibe when listening/watching)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oof! I feel this too. I’ve often described myself as feeling like an alien compared to most of humanity. Thankfully this blog and a few close friends help me feel more connected. As does a spiritual path that connects me more to the earth rather than the weird people on it. 😆

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have no words to thank you enough, Paula. You, your blog and the gifted from all over the world have changed my life, and I’m forever grateful! What you’ve being doing here is incredibly important. Thank you for sharing my words too – I really hope they help who reads it. I’ll leave my email here, if any of you want to share more thoughts, or if you need a new gifted friend. So, here it is: 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • I am sure many readers of this post will benefit, Alice. Most will not comment, of course, but will benefit nonetheless. Thank you for being vulnerable and willing to share. I’m hoping that you hear from some bloggEEs; perhaps you can form a Brazilian (or international) rainforest mind book club! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the video, it was ok. What it reminded me of was my rainforest mind, how everythings related, and how much we enjoy tangents. I have always wanted to unicycle, so 5 years ago I bought one and practiced. I thought it would be like riding a bike, that it would suddenly ‘click’. It didn’t. It is more like a sport, practice and practice to get better and better. I still am not as good as the lead in the video, but I can do it. You don’t know unless you try. I try something new every year. Last year was surfing, but that’s another story.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Paula, I´m from Brazil, I would love to talk with you

    Liked by 1 person

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