Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Giftedness, Multipotentiality, and Your Fear of Losing Interest (FOLI)

photo courtesy of Alfred Aloushy, Unsplash

You’ve heard of FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a thing.

Well, if you have multipotentiality. Which you know you do. You may suffer from FOLI. Fear Of Losing Interest.

What is FOLI?

First, you have to understand multipotentiality. Does this describe you?

You have soooo many interests. Since you were a little tyke, you’ve been a ravenous learner.  Reading voraciously. Researching endlessly. Starving for new ideas. Debating with anyone who was available. Captivated by complexity. Thrilled by the thesaurus. Curious about life, the universe, and everything.

You would dive into your latest passion. With your heart and soul. For weeks you would eat and breathe whatever it was. Dinosaurs. The solar system. Butterflies. Jane Austen. Elvis. Then, suddenly, one day it was over. You were satiated. Done. And the next interest would appear and you’d be off again. Until you were done. And onto the next.

Some of you would be into several things at once. You would be exploring complex guitar strumming patterns, studying Latin, designing your dream house, writing a novel, learning computer coding, knitting gifts for friends, watching neuroscience videos in your second language, and so on.

In either form, this is multipotentiality. Misunderstood by relatives, teachers, friends, and you. Especially when it means that you are in college for four extra years because you keep changing your major. Or when you change jobs every three years because you’re no longer interested once you master the skills required. Or when you think that you’re lazy because it looks like you can’t focus or that you never finish anything.

But if this is you, you’re not alone:

From a reader, who says she isn’t gifted: “I write, paint, model figures with clay, and draw. I’m currently teaching myself Chinese (because I’m obsessed with their history and literature). I taught myself English, French and Portuguese. Moreover, I learned the Greek, Russian and Katakana/Hiragana alphabets. And I’m currently learning how to play the Piano (I have composed some simple pieces in the two weeks that I’ve been learning…mathematics, economics…”

From another reader: “…music, drama, literature, art, math, sociology, neuropsychology, architecture, accoustics, geology, geography, history (but only the stories, not all the names and dates!), languages (oh, all the languages! But not the grammar, please, and not all that political stuff, just the languages in use), some psychology (if only to pick apart some really strange theories and practices, but there are some interesting bits, too) and… So many things to learn!”

How, then, does this relate to FOLI? Fear of Losing Interest?

Two possible scenarios: 1. You’re fascinated by so many things. But when you’ve learned all that you want on that topic, you lose interest. You move on. If you, then, interpret this to mean that you’re a lazy ne’er-do-well, it could create on-going anxiety, paralysis, and self-doubt. Why start something if you might abandon it in a year? Future employers might also be wary, when examining your multifaceted resume.

2. This might apply to partnerships. You may be reluctant to commit to an intimate relationship if you fear that there isn’t enough substance, intrigue, or complexity for long term fascination.

Disclaimer 1. If you’re losing motivation due to fears of failure (FOF)or success, (FOS), this is more likely perfectionism. Learn about unhealthy perfectionism. Or, you may not have learned how to struggle with a problem that you can’t solve easily, so you give up too quickly. These are important issues but they are not FOLI.

Disclaimer 2. If you’re avoiding relationships because of fears of intimacy, this is not FOLI. You might want to call your psychotherapist.

What can you do about FOLI?

  • Learn more about multipotentiality. Emilie Wapnick and Barbara Sher are good resources.
  • Some strategies: Understand that intellectual stimulation is like food/water to you. You also need variety and depth. Consider that you lose interest because you’ve learned what you wanted to learn. Now you want to learn something new. And that’s OK!  ~~ Take the time to evaluate the importance of sticking with something even if you’ve lost interest. There might be important longer term benefits or financial reasons.  ~~ Perhaps there are ways to add variety and depth.  ~~ It might be time to change jobs, careers, or majors.  ~~ See your multipotentiality as a strength.
  • Write about your FOLI in your journal. Have a dialogue with your Fear. Let it speak to you. What might be beneath the Fear? Is there something deeper going on? Were you bored in school so any loss of interest triggers memories of being trapped in a classroom? Were you told that you have to finish everything you start no matter what? Was your giftedness not recognized? Ask your Fear to help you. See if it has something to teach you. Ask it to step back so that you can make progress. What’s the worst that can happen if you do lose interest?

Your rainforest mind comes with fears. FOLI, FOF, and FOS. Maybe FOMO. Of course it does. You may feel pressure to always know all of the answers. To be fearless. After all, you’re so smart. But you and I both know that it can be pretty scary in that jungle of yours. So many choices. So many decisions. So much sensitivity. So much awareness. So much curiosity.

So much muchness. Multipotentiality. It’s a thing.

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To my bloggEEs: Thank you to the clients and readers who inspired this post. Your comments continue to enrich my blog. Do you have FOLI? What’s it like for you? How do you deal with it? What other fears does your rainforest mind trigger? Thank you, as always, for being here. Much love to all of you.


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Even Though You’ve Been Told You’re Too Bright, Now is the Time to Shine Your Light

photo courtesy of Joshua Hibbert, Unsplash

“When you dim your light, the whole world gets darker.” *

How do you shine your Light if you’ve been told repeatedly that you shine too bright. That your Light will blind others. That your Light isn’t really Light but is actually bipolar disorder and you are arrogant to think otherwise. That it’s only fair that you keep your Light dim because people will feel bad if you outshine them. That your Light will expose the truth in your family and that’s dangerous. That your Light threatens to shake up the world order. 

How do you shine your Light anyway?

How do you expand your Light even further than you ever thought possible?

What do you do if your Light scares the heck out of YOU?

Well, dearest friends. Here’s a theory:

What if there’s so much turmoil in the world right now because there’s so much Light shining? The Light is showing us where the darkness** still lurks. What if we’re more aware of the crazy because there’s more enLightenment, not less? What if our job is to create more Light because it will eventually shine so bright that Light/Love will win?

(** Just for the record, I’m not really fond of the light versus dark analogy. It can indirectly support the whole light is good and dark is bad paradigm, which can then be ignorantly applied to people. In my opinion, “dark” can symbolize beauty, fertility, lush, green, wet, incubation, rest, power, balance, healing, growth, death/rebirth, transformation…and so on. Where would the rainforest be without the dark? But I digress.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. How can you shine your Light in spite of the bullies, the critics, the misdiagnoses, the chainsaw family members, and your own fears of failure, success, overwhelm, and, oh, annihilation?

It’s complicated.

First, you have to realize that you have Light to shine. It’s time to recognize your strengths. That you indeed do have a rainforest mind. That you’re resonating with this blog because you belong here. So. In your journal, make a list of your strengths and write an ode to your rainforestness. Or draw a huge mindmap of your strengths, interests, and accomplishments. Prepare to be impressed.

Then, accept that your fears make sense, considering your experiences. If you’ve been told to hide your Light multiple times, in various ways, it can be discouraging and demoralizing. It can convince you that you’re crazy, and certainly not gifted. Of course, you have doubts. Your rainforest mind can create millions of doubts.

So here’s another thing to do: Make a list of books, websites, and people who can provide support, insight, and guidance. Then, make time to read, research, and receive the understanding and love. Remind yourself that being in a healing and growth process is important for yourself, your family, your ancestors, and the planet.

Then find small ways and big ways to shine. And imagine that you can shine even brighter. That it’s safe now to get brighter. That you’ve only just begun to know the extent of your reach.

Together. Let’s shake up the world order.

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To my bloggEEs: Please share your resources for personal and planetary support, insight and guidance in the comments. (You can share your Odes, too!) For example, I’m reading two great books right now that are positive and powerful guides to action on climate change. The Parent’s Guide to Climate Revolution by Mary DeMocker and We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. What are you reading? And thank you, as always, for your wonderful beingness.

And, hey. I’m thinking about designing an online class for rainforest minds. What do you think? What would you like me to include in the class?

I’ll be at the SENG conference July 19-22, 2018. If you attend, please find me and introduce yourself!

*Christiane Northrup

 

 

 


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The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Love Your Impostor Syndrome

photo courtesy of Brian Chan, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brian Chan, Unsplash, CC

As you may have heard, ahem, I have written a book that will be released next month, June 2016. I’m noticing just a teensy weensy bit of impostor syndrome.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not so teensy weensy. Possibly because it’s infused with generous amounts of fear: of failure, success, overwhelm, and, oh, utter humiliation and devastation for now and all eternity.

Because I know that you also have bouts of the syndrome, affectionately known as IMPS, it occurred to me that there must be some benefits. Right? Why would so many of us be afflicted if there weren’t something to gain?

So, here it is. My list of the top ten reasons why you should love your IMPS:

10. You can avoid the pressure and expectations that come with being seen as a very smart (not to mention gifted) person.

9. You’re protected from ever having to produce anything of note.

8. You don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed because no one will be paying attention to you and that’s the way your introverted soul likes it.

7. You might actually be an impostor so you’re not embarrassing yourself by admitting it now.

6. In a past life, you were burned at the stake for being brilliant, and that was kind of painful so you’d rather not repeat it.

5. Family members like you better when you’re not so uppity.

4. You were bullied in school for showing your intellectual enthusiasm so you decided that  mediocrity was a safe alternative.

3. You grew up with narcissistic parents and will avoid being like them — at all costs.

2. Your need to be fair and equitable to all humans overwhelms the evidence that you might be smarter than many of them.

1. People like you because you’re less annoying so they bring you tuna casseroles and cupcakes when you’re sick.

So, the next time you go out and write your book or speak your mind or believe that you’re gifted in spite of your fears of utter humiliation and devastation for all eternity, remember to love your IMPS.

And yourself.

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To my dearest bloggEEs: Tell us about your experiences with impostor syndrome. What’s it like for you? What helps? And, thank you. When we meet? I’ll bring the cupcakes.

 


44 Comments

Fear of Success? — Time To Let It Go

photo courtesy of Elowyn Allanketner

These times require that all of us with rainforest minds step up. These times require that our fears of success and anxieties over failure be damned. These times require that we do whatever it takes to heal the wounding that has kept us from being our True Selves.

Normally, my message is gentle and respectful. I believe that kindness and empathy are important keys to helping people change. That said, today, I’m gonna push.

Some of you need a push because you’re oh-so-close to radiance. Oh-so-close to compassionate power. Oh-so-close to intuitive awarenesses that could rearrange and reconfigure your perceptions of reality. But you can’t quite get there because you don’t believe in yourselves or you have “memories” of being burned at the stake in one form or another or you don’t know how to tap into your Wisdom.

Well, then:

•  Believe in yourself. Come on. You have a rainforest mind. That means that you’re a quick learner, an analytical thinker and a sensitive soul. What’s in the way of your self-appreciation? Critical voices from your past? Start journaling to explore the voices. Get to know them. Draw them. Write letters to them. Ask them what they’re protecting you from. If they’re very convincing, find a good therapist who can help calm the little buggers and get them to ease up on you. Then you can start to see who you really are.

•  Risk the burning. I know. Easy for me to say. If you carry “memories” from traumatic events in other times (metaphorically speaking or within the collective unconscious or in a past life), particularly when you were being powerful, you might hesitate to step into the limelight now. I understand. But maybe it’s time to join the other “witches” and go for it. You can use your creative mind to visualize where your strength and insight live in your body, then, go there regularly. Imagine that protective animals or guardian angels or spiritual back-up singers are around you, cheering you on. Tools that can help are hypnotherapy or shamanic journeying.

•  Tap into your Wisdom. How do you find your inner guidance? Through a meditation or spiritual practice? Through a martial art? In nature? Yoga? Writing? Painting? Dancing? Hiking? Dreaming? Praying? Do you need to read about developing your intuition? Or take a class in mindfulness? Find a support group on Facebook? Whatever works for you, find your way and tap (dance) into your Wisdom (also known as your True Self).

These times require that all of us with rainforest minds step up. These times require that our fears of success and anxieties over failure be damned. These times require that we do whatever it takes to heal the wounding that has kept us from being our True Selves. 

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To my bloggEEs: What are some of the ways you’ve overcome your fear of “success” (however you define it) and what holds you back? Some of you may be unhappy with my references to what could be construed as New Age-ish ideas. I hope that you’ll hang in there with me anyway. The rainforest mind has incredible variety and nuance so we won’t always agree on every little thing. Take what works for you and leave the rest. OK?

 


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Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Perspicacity

Are you terrified of failure and mortified by mediocrity?

Do people tell you that you’re smart but you know that they’re delusional?

Does your worthiness depend on your achievements?

Are you spooked by success?

Welcome to the perplexing world of the rainforest mind. And to your constant companion–Perfectionism. 

Here’s the thing. If you were really precocious as a child, you may have received lots of praise for your achievements. Which may have felt great at the time. But it also gave you the message that being smart was everything. Including the reason you were loved. Not helpful in the long run.

And if, in school, you didn’t have to study. You knew the material before it was taught. Then, you came to believe that smartness meant that learning always comes easily. Not helpful in the long run.

And if— Simple mistakes are total failures. You expect yourself to know how to do all things really really well. And you have very high standards that you never reach.

Then–You know that it will become clear to everyone in the multiverse that you aren’t so smart after all. You’re an impostor.

And yet–If it does, somehow, in spite of you, become clear to everyone in the multiverse that you ARE smart, well, that’s not the answer either. So much pressure to keep up the ruse. Way too much pressure.

What the heck do you do?

You procrastinate, of course. It’s the ideal plan. If you wait until the last minute and you don’t achieve greatness, you can blame it on the lack of time. And you dodge the humiliation bullet. For the moment.

What else do you do?

You don’t try anything if you aren’t guaranteed a win.

You’re paralyzed by the blank page.

You join the circus.

The truth: You thought this was all due to your neurotic obsessive-compulsive not-so-bright personhood. But now you know.

It’s your rainforest mind.

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Note to blogEEs (formerly known as readers): There is a healthy kind of perfectionism. Tune in to a future post to find out more.