Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Gifted In Finland — What Are Gifted Adults Like Across Cultures?

photo courtesy of tapio haaja, Unsplash

Kaisa, 26, shows all the signs of being gifted. Maybe even exceptionally so. What are the signs?

“…I learned to read at a young age and have always been an avid reader and super curious about everything. I have always been overly sensitive but was quickly told by parents and environment to shut down my sensitiveness. In kindergarten I was asked what I wanted for Christmas and I answered, ‘peace and love for the world.’ I was 5. I was also very concerned about hunger in developing countries and the waste produced by plastic bags…”

At an early age: Avid reading, intense curiosity, high sensitivity, concern about justice and environmental issues

“…I’m now at university also where I face people telling me that it is not worth it to think so much. To me it is like telling a bird to stop flying…”

Being accused of overthinking when it is actually deep, analytical, creative awareness, and curiosity. An extremely active mind. You are just *over* when compared to regular thinkers. You may be anxious and start ruminating but this is different from your capacity to think. With anxiety, you will want to learn how to self-soothe and calm your nervous system. With thinking, well, I say, keep flying.

“…I sometimes get so excited about an idea or theory that I cannot continue reading or thinking because it causes my body to get super energetic and I have an urge to move. The other day I was looking at DNA structures for one course and I almost started crying because they looked so beautiful and I got shivers when thinking about how the world is so beautifully organized from the tiniest particles. People tell me I’m intense, too serious (I’m rarely serious. I find myself quite funny.) too much, idealistic. I have had problems finishing my degree (mainly because I’m unmotivated there as I am not challenged enough). My problem is also I have a strong artistic and a strong intellectual side of me, I weigh them as equals and I feel like I need to explain myself to people all the time…I’m planning to inspire and serve the world…I know I could talk myself out of it but then it feels like self betrayal.”

Intellectual excitement that stimulates body responses can be explained via Dabrowski’s overexcitabiity theory. There can be somatic/sensual high abilities along with the intellectual, emotional, and imaginational. You have the capacity to deeply appreciate and respond to life’s complexities and subtle beauty. Sense of humor and idealism may not be understood by others. School may not be challenging and so motivation is difficult. Often you feel the drive to be of service or create a better world.

“…Finnish culture teaches people to be humble so if one excels at something and one is proud of it they are looked upon as… arrogant, etc. Multipotentiality or multitalented is not yet understood or supported by the society that well…in general the response from the culture has been ‘who do you think you are’…”

You have many interests and abilities and are told you need to focus and pick just one thing, which is impossible, stifling, and ridiculous. It is not unusual to be called arrogant even if you are trying to hide your achievements and your interests.

These are the signs of giftedness. In Kaisa. In Finland. And around the world.

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To my bloggEEs: Well, my frequent flyers, who do you think know you are?? Isn’t it fascinating to see the similarities across cultures? Thank you to Kaisa and all of you for sharing your experiences. I welcome your comments here and your emails from around the world. Here is an article on exceptional/profound giftedness for those of you who suspect you might be at that end of the spectrum. And, speaking of flying, if you need a lift because these times are particularly hard, listen to this and start defying gravity! 

 


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My Overexcitable Hair

Photo on 12-9-14 at 12.37 PM

My hair

Admit it. You exude effervescence, exuberance and ebullience. Maybe it’s in the way you talk. Or the way you write. Maybe it’s in how you gush over photos from the Mars Rover. Or how you swoon over Sherlock.

In my last post, I briefly explained “overexcitabilities.”  (OEs) The expression comes from psychologist K. Dabrowski‘s research on giftedness. He says that gifted folks have lots of them. Like when your imagination takes you into mysterious universes where you create new worlds with complex languages. Or when you must obsessively research NASA’s potential study of manned blimps in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Or when your sensitivity to the sound of people chewing makes you want to cry.

If you don’t feel so effervescent, exuberant and ebullient right now it may be because you were raised by chainsaw parents or had painful schooling experiences. Or perhaps it’s because you read the newspaper. I understand. But I’ll bet you anything that before you were slowed down, quieted down and dumbed down, overexcitable was your middle name.

Now, I know I’ve told you in another post that I’m BG. (barely gifted) Even so, I do have some overexcitability.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

It’s in my hair.

My hair is effervescent, exuberant and ebullient. Overexcitable. And let me tell you, I’ve tried to control it, contain it and dumb it down. To no avail.

But I’m done with that.

No more hiding.  No more shrinking. No more hair-obliteration.

Let my curls be seen. Let them express themselves. In all of their giftedness.

Are you with me?

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To my bloggEEs: How are you hiding and self-obliterating? How can you allow more of your rainforest hair mind to shine? This may seem to be in contradiction to my last post when I talked about a type of loving containment. It’s not. What I’m writing here is about finding your true Self and living your authentic hair life. What are your thoughts, feelings and questions?

 


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Raising A Kid Who’s Just Like You

Flickr, Creative Commons, Mikey-A-Tucker

Flickr, Creative Commons, Mikey-A-Tucker

What do you do when you’re excruciatingly sensitive, severely intense, outrageously curious, and wildly imaginative and you’re raising a kid who is JUST LIKE YOU?

Do you– run away from home? Move to a state where marijuana is legal? Outsource your child to India? Create a reality TV show?

Maybe.

Are there other options?

Yep.

First, understand that you and your child are like this because you have rainforest minds. In the research on giftedness, you’ll find these characteristics described. They’re called overexcitabilities (OE). Named by the Polish psychiatrist K. Dabrowski.

Then, learn how your overexcitabilities can be understood, celebrated, managed and lovingly contained when necessary. (like when you’re in the supermarket and you’d rather not start sobbing over the asparagus or when your child is at school and s/he would rather not start sobbing in front of the school bully)

Share what you learn with your child.

Understand– The rainforest mind is about more-ness. More questions. More insight. More sounds. More colors. More meltdowns. Not only is your cognitive ability generally running faster, wider and deeper but many of your other traits are supersized as well.

Celebrate– Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cried when their classmates were hurt on the playground? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cared deeply about justice and fairness? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans preferred Jane Austen to Justin Bieber?

Manage and lovingly contain– I’m not talking about dumbing down here. Or stifling. Or shrinking. What I mean is that there are times when you’ll want to adjust your speed so that your communication is understood. You’ll want to wait until you’re in a safe place before unleashing your frustrations. You’ll want to learn how to keep your anxiety from overwhelming your body. You’ll want to sleep. So when you want to do these things, it’ll be useful to have developed some strategies.

Flickr Creative Commons United Way of Massachusetts

Flickr Creative Commons United Way of Massachusetts

And finally, raising a child like you may be both wonderful and terrible. Your child’s sweet vulnerability will scare you with the weight of extraordinary responsibility. The unexamined baggage from your own childhood will reappear and grab you by the throat. And your child’s overexcitabilities will dance with your own, to create an excruciatingly outrageously wild LOVE that will change you. Completely.

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To my blogEEs: Tell us in the comments about your experiences as a parent of a gifted child. How do you manage your child’s OEs and yours?

This post is part of a blog hop from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Click on the image below to see more posts on parenting OEs and twice-exceptional gifted kids.

Click on this image.

Click on this image.