Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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When Humans Keep Letting You Down

photo courtesy John Nakamura Remy, Unsplash

Humans disappoint you. They don’t live up to your expectations. Sure you have high standards. But you’re not asking all that much, right? If people just tried harder, they could accomplish quite a lot.

Couldn’t they?

Not just relatives and friends. Not just politicians and educators. But others. Contractors, internet providers, artists, activists, doctors, celebrities and psychotherapists. Disappointing.

What is wrong with humans? Don’t they care about quality? Excellence? Compassion?

Now, I don’t actually know all humans. But I’m guessing that most of them do care. That said, here are some things that you need to know.

When you have a rainforest mind, you have many abilities. A large capacity for learning and a love of knowledge. You may know a lot, in multiple fields; sometimes more than the “experts.” You can also have exceptionally high standards for your work. Producing quality is part of your identity. Being fair and compassionate matters to you. And all of this feels normal. Isn’t everyone like this? 

No. Everyone is not like this.

You may not have any training in home building but you may know that your contractor’s plan for your family room will not work. You may not have a medical degree but you may know that your cardiologist is not seeing the whole picture. You may never have run a nonprofit but in two weeks you could set up a system that would provide for much greater efficiency and productivity. You may not have a psychology degree but you’re a better counselor than your psychotherapy-trained coworkers.

People tell you that you expect too much. That you need to be satisfied with less. That mediocrity is good enough. That you’re an overachiever and an arrogant know-it-all. That you need to “shut up and sing…” (to quote a powerful song from the Dixie Chicks)

These messages and experiences can make you feel a little crazy. A little less than. Maybe a lot less than. Lonely. A little too responsible.

Or you may wonder how to live your best life when people you’d like to depend upon keep dropping the ball.

You’re tired of always picking up the balls.

So darned many balls.

But your family, your community and your world needs you. Your excellence. Your quality. Your compassion. Now, more than ever.*

So you can still sing. Definitely sing.

But don’t shut up.

_______________________________

To my dearest bloggEEs: How do you deal with this? Are you tired of juggling all the balls? Are there ways you take care of yourself when you feel discouraged or exhausted? Are there people that you’ve found who will show up for you? Where have you found others with rainforest minds? Can you allow yourself to acknowledge your limits and create a healthy balance? This blog post is just the beginning of the discussion. We need to hear from you!

*That said, repeat after me: I am not responsible for everyone’s dropped balls.

Thank you to the bloggEE who suggested this topic.

Here’s the story behind the Dixie Chicks’ song.

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They Say You’re A Know-It-All. Are You?

photo from Pixabay, CC

photo from Pixabay, CC

What did you do when you were in school and you knew all of the answers to the questions the teacher was asking?

Did you raise your hand expecting that you’d be called on? Did you raise your hand expecting the teacher to ignore you? Did you not raise your hand because the other kids would get mad at you? Did you blurt out the answer out of frustration or anger or a touch of ADHD? Did you read Hamlet for the fifth time? Did you plan the design for a nuclear fusion reactor? Did you stare out the window in despair looking to the crows for consolation?

All you wanted was to learn something new. To be free to be curious and excited. To share big ideas with your peers. You weren’t trying to make anyone else look bad. You weren’t trying to show how smart you were. You weren’t trying to irritate the teacher. All you wanted was to learn something new.

But you were ridiculed and rejected. And maybe your teachers told you, “Nobody likes a know-it-all.”

Ironic, isn’t it? When you’re often feeling like an impostor? When you know how much you don’t know? You’re the last one to think that you know it all.

Maybe you were like Taylor Wilson. Just trying to correct the outdated information his science teacher was presenting to the class. Eager to talk with someone about “the esoteric behaviors of baryons and mesons.” Exploring nuclear fusion on his own while failing science in school.

Granted, we know that, in school, it’s very hard for teachers to manage large groups of energetic kids and meet each child’s particular educational needs. We know this. We need to work to change the system. But for now, and from now on, I don’t want you to be blamed for your ravenous hunger for knowledge. I don’t want you to be mislabeled. I don’t want you to blame yourself.

You’re not a know-it-all.

You’re a want-to-know-it-all.

_______________________

To my dear blogEEs: Were your experiences in school like this? Tell us about them. And if you haven’t heard of Taylor Wilson, check out the wonderful book, The Boy Who Played With Fusion, by Tom Clynes. Clynes tells an engaging, true story and is an articulate advocate for gifted kids. (Admittedly, I wish Taylor wasn’t using his extraordinary abilities to develop nukes, but that’s another conversation.)

 

 


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The Arrogant Know-It-All Conundrum

Flickr Creative Commons Gaurika Wijeratne

Flickr Creative Commons Gaurika Wijeratne

My counseling clients talk fast. They use words I don’t recognize. They notice when I’m a teensy weensy bit distracted. I don’t know how it happened that I became a therapist for smart people. OK, for g-g-gifted people. Seriously, on the continuum of giftedness, I’m BG. (barely gifted)

I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me. I love my job. I’m just saying. I’m not sure how I got here.

In spite of my BGness, I know some things about these people. I mean, I know some things about you.

I know that you’re intense. If you don’t “dial it down,” you may even be accused of being arrogant, a know-it-all. People don’t understand your exuberance or your natural warp speed or your love of language. They don’t understand your glee over dark matter. They don’t know that you don’t realize when you’ve lost them. Or you do realize when you’ve lost them and you’re actually trying to dial it down but you don’t know which ideas they won’t understand and which ones they will understand. You’re just being yourself. You don’t feel special or gifted. You’re just you.

The (wanting-to) know-it-all.

Am I right so far?

Oh, I realize that there are gifted people who are extremely competitive, who try to display their intelligence whenever they can. But I think their numbers are smaller than the stereotype would have us believe. And I bet their behavior comes out of the pressure they feel to meet the expectations that have been thrust upon them since they were little tykes blowing everyone away with their abilities. They have to prove that they’re smart again and again because they think that’s what makes them lovable.

And, you may feel pressure to achieve, too, and guilt when you don’t. You may have learned that your worth depends on your accomplishments. And perhaps you fight the urge to scream in frustration when everyone you know is so s-l-o-w. Patience with coworkers and family members may be difficult to maintain. And at times it becomes too much to bear.

But I know you. Your rainforest mind chooses compassion. Not every time. You aren’t perfect. But kindness usually wins.

True?

So, the next time you’re accused of arrogance, the next time you’re called a know-it-all,  understand where the misperception comes from. Stop blaming yourself for your poor communication skills. Appreciate your exuberance. Warp speed. Love of language. Glee.

Find a safe place to vent your anger– in a journal, on a racquetball court, through an art form, to your therapist.

Then, think about how you might lovingly and selectively dial it down some of the time. Consciously choose what you share and what you don’t. Use your intuition to assess the people you’re with. What can they handle? When do they glaze over? Breathe between sentences. Agree with your partner and friends on a hand signal that they can use that will alert you when you need to switch communication style from fire hose to garden hose.

Then search high and low for someone with whom you can express yourself fully. Another rainforest mind. Someone who loves knowing it all. With you.

__________________________

To my blogEEs: Does this describe your experience? What do you do when this happens to you? Do you see it in others? How would you explain your intensity?