Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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I’m Writing A Book On Love — For Sensitive, Deep Thinking, Creative, Curious, Smart, Persnickety Humans

A big thank you to all of you who have written to me so far with your thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is exciting! I want to encourage more of you to write and I am going to provide a few more guidelines for those of you who need some prompts. (If you have already written but have more to say, please do.) That said, if you do not need guidelines, please write what you need to say, want to say, must say, don’t want to say, or are afraid to say. And do not worry about length. (Email is preferred. paula at rainforestmind dot com) A few of you have told me it has been therapeutic to write about your present partnerships, your past relationships, your search for love, your single life, what love looks like in your life, how you define love, how love in the rainforest is different, and more.

(photo by brigitte tohm, Unsplash)

A couples counselor friend of mine has shared some of her questions for you. (Sorry. She is not taking new clients.) She has identified certain issues that come up when giftedness is part of the equation in a coupled relationship. So here are some questions to contemplate. Looking at the questions, you will get a feel for some of the issues couples bring to her. Pick the ones that fit for you or skip them all and just pour out your heart. I’m listening. (And let me know where you are from. I am hoping for wide multicultural representation.)

  • How do you handle your sensitivities when you are in relationships? Do you have trouble setting boundaries? What types of boundaries do you set? What happens with self-care once you are in a couple? Do you notice any concerns around control or rigidity? What are some strategies you have tried?
  • If you are both in high powered careers, how do you negotiate personal time, free time, job opportunities, and child care? Are there compromises or career choices that have been missed or lost? Is there resentment or frustration? Competition? How do you deal with the stress levels?
  • With your advanced levels of empathy, do you watch each other too closely? Is it hard to know what is intuition and what is a reaction based in anxiety, overwhelm, or past trauma? Are there ways you have learned to talk about it? What about introversion or extraversion?
  • If someone is a perfectionist, is that pressure placed on the relationship? In what ways? How do you talk about it?
  • How do you deal with the frustrations that come with coping in a world that often feels slow, insensitive, underwhelming, overwhelming, frightening, unaware, and selfish? Are you able to provide a safe haven for each other? Does the disappointment and despair create tension between you? What are some ways you cope?
  • What are the advantages when one person is gifted and the other is not? Disadvantages? What if one of you is RFM while the other is gifted but in a more linear-sequential form? What about being twice-exceptional?
  • How have you used your sense of humor to manage your challenges? What other rainforest traits have been helpful?
  • If there is trauma, abuse, neglect, bullying, racism, or anti-Semitism in your past, have you noticed the impact on the relationship? The patterns that are being repeated? Have you been to therapy? What has that been like?
  • What are your experiences of love outside of the traditional model of partnership? With animals? friends? children? Spirit? God? nature? self? passions? your life’s work? emojis from your readers? fan mail?
  • Are there resources you would recommend that have helped you? Books, podcasts, websites, films, music, hobbies?
  • What question did I forget to ask? Answer that one!

What do you want the book to include? I envision a kind of handbook, guide, or journal that has a sense of humor and includes some of my own personal relationship escapades, catastrophes, and searches. I also want to write about the many places love exists outside of partnership so please tell me about the creative, nontraditional ways you give and receive love.

And, for starters, I am sending you love. Right here. Right now. You have my big blog-love comin’ atcha.

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To my bloggEEs: Of course, you can answer some of these questions in the comments. But if you have quite a lot say (you know who you are), best to put it in an email. So many of you are so eloquent, I hope to quote you in the book, not identifying you, of course. But, you do not need to be eloquent. I repeat. No eloquence required. And, don’t procrastinate! I’d love to hear from you SOON. Let me know if you do not wish to be quoted. Thank you, my sweet rainforesters! And more love coming as we navigate the appalling developments in Ukraine. (Here is an excellent article on this by Rebecca Solnit.) Finding your authentic voice and your purpose(s) is one way to send love and healing to the planet and to all of us.


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The Loneliness Of Not Being Seen In All Of Your Multitudes

There is a deep satisfaction in being understood. Being truly seen. Receiving an authentic response from someone who has heard, grasped, and appreciated your particular, unique voice. Your multidimensional, nuanced, unusual thinking, feeling, and knowing. It can bring me to tears when I experience being met in this way. Surely, we all need this.

But what if your particular voice plays melodies at levels many people do not have the capacity to hear? What if your exceptional mind thinks at depths where many people can not dive or sees technicolor visions when others see black, white, and occasional grays?

(photo by alexander zavala, Unsplash)

What then?

Well. You may often feel misunderstood, criticized, or rejected. And yet. It may be that friends, family, and coworkers do not intentionally want to misunderstand or reject you. It may be that their capacity to receive all of who you are is limited. Some would say the difference is, in fact, neurological. I do not know the brain science. But I speculate: Perhaps you have more neurons firing in more regions of your brain more often, or more synapses connecting more quickly. Perhaps the particular version of neurodiversity for the gifted, rainforest-minded brain, is an extraordinarily awake, alive, dynamic, and intricately interconnected superhighway. Or, as we say here, a lush, fertile, bountiful, prolific, teeming rainforest.

You may not realize that others have less capacity and that they may only be able to see certain parts of you. But knowing this can explain a lot. It can explain the blank stares. The misinterpretations. The inaccurate assumptions. Sadly, you may never feel completely seen by anyone. Or completely met. Or completely understood. Now you know, this is not your fault. It is no one’s fault.

Think about it. How can anyone truly fathom the entire rainforest?

How, then, do you find others who also see all of the colors, hear all of the notes, feel the range of emotions you feel so that you might be seen, met, understood? And if you have been looking for a long time and not found them, have you interpreted this to mean you are crazy, wrong, or neurotic?

Well. You are not crazy, wrong, or neurotic.

OK, you may be a little neurotic. (I certainly am.) This is where a little therapy can help. But you are not wrong. Or crazy.

Seriously, the more gifted you are, the harder all of this will be. It seems that planet earth has not created a whole lot of rainforest-minded souls yet. And, most unfortunately, even if you find one, all rainforest minds do not necessarily grok each other.

I am guessing this explanation is not helping you feel better.

Truth be told, when I meet with clients, I do not understand every single part of them. And I have years of training and experience. But, as I have stated on frequent occasions, my giftedness is somewhere between barely and somewhat. On a good day. So my clients’ intellectual capacities are usually more vast, more melodic, and more technicolor than mine.

I am guessing this is not good news either.

But, how about this: I am proof that you can still find someone who gets you, enough. Someone who loves your melodies, depths, and visions. Who is not intimidated or overwhelmed by your intellectual musings and speedy, analytical, intuitive observations. Who embraces your enormous heart and your lonely despair. Who acknowledges your exhaustion and needs in spite of your accomplishments. Who loves you for you.

And, in the meantime, what if YOU truly see YOURSELF in all of your multitudes.

What if, starting today, you love you for you.

_______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Does this information help you understand the differences in capacity so you are not so hard on yourself and misinterpreting some of your difficulty with relationships? What are you doing to better understand and love yourself? And, yep, I am sending you some big love. Right now! Thank you, as always, for being here.


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Help Me Write the Book on Partnership Love and Rainforest Minds

I have looked all over the planet for a book specifically for rainforest minds on how to find partnership love and how, once you find it, how to nourish, grow, expand, and deepen it. Sure, there are many books on manifesting the love of your life and on mastering relationship skills. They are helpful. But I have not found the one that explains the particular jungle-ish issues that come when you live a rainforest-y life and you want to share it with a mate.

(photo courtesy of Michelle, Unsplash)

So I am writing that book.

Will you help?

What should be in this book? I want to know what you want to know. What are your questions, thoughts, feelings, ruminations, and experiences on this topic? If you are in a partnership, how did you meet? What are the challenges you are facing? What are the blessings? What is your advice for others? How are your rainforest traits impacting the relationship? Are you partnered with another RFM or not? What is that like?

If you are single and wanting to be partnered, (You may be happily, contentedly, relievedly single. I have actually been there for many years so I appreciate that choice. There can be great love in your life for sure. Being partnered is only one track, of many, to love.) tell us about that. What do you think is in the way of finding someone? How has having a rainforest mind been challenging or an advantage? Do you prefer being single to being matched with someone who doesn’t have similar depth, sensitivity, and intellect? Have you been partnered in the past and unable to navigate the stresses or discovered too much incompatibility? Have patterns and behaviors in your family of origin or self-critical beliefs made it difficult?

You are welcome to write your responses in the comments below but if you would like to write a lot, which I encourage, please send me an email. paula@rainforestmind.com. What you write need not be perfectly expressed or particularly eloquent. A quick list of thoughts, questions, and experiences would be lovely. Just jotting a few ideas or writing a long diatribe (email please) are both most welcome. Your ideas will help me get a sense of direction for the book and also provide some content. I may quote you but will not reveal your identity. (Or you can ask me not to quote you.) I would love to have diverse views from many different cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, and ages.

As you know, people often write books not because they already know the thing, but because they need to figure something out. They write to understand or gain the insight they are seeking.

That would be me. And this book. Join me in figuring this shit stuff out.

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To my bloggEEs: Thank you!!! If you have a lot to tell me but do not want to write it all down and would rather have a conversation, email me and we can set up a time to talk. Here are a couple of posts on the topic that are places to begin this journey. This one and this one.


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Letters to My Future Boyfriend – A Journaling Technique

(To my bloggEEs: I want to share another personal musing along with a journaling technique you can use. As you may know, I have been single for a while. I am living a beautifully full life in my childfree singlehood. That said, I believe it is time for me to explore deep, meaningful, loving partnership in this, my last act. So, I started a journal, writing letters to my future person. My future mate. My future sweetie.  In the letters, I sort out what I want, what I fear, what I don’t want, what inner work I still need to do, who I am, and who he is. On occasion, he writes back. If you are looking for partnership, you might want to write your own collection of letters!  *Let us know if you do.* And if, dear bloggEEs, my future boyfriend is cavorting in your neighborhood, please send him my way. You know where to find me.)

This is one of my first letters:

Dear Future Boyfriend,

You will need to know some things about me before you venture into my world, into the lush jungle that is my rainforest mind.

I’ll start with my head. I have a lot of hair. Massive amounts of exuberant, overexcitable, ridiculous hair. I try to control it. But I am unsuccessful. You might think that this is a wonderful thing. But I’m warning you. Wildly untamed aspects of my psyche live in my curls.

Next. I am sensitive. Very sensitive. This is good if you need me to be perceptive, insightful, generous, loving, and kind. This is not good if you want to avoid dealing with the effects of your dysfunctional family of origin. And if you like emotions, I’m your gal. Deep, intense, rich emotions. But you will be happy to know I have been in therapy for many years, so the rage is, well, negligible. It only surfaces in times of extreme stress or when I feel trapped. Or when I run out of estrogen. Or hair products.

Like many of the rainforest-minded, I am on a spiritual quest. I’m obsessed with living into a heart-centered, purposeful, magical life. (You, too?)  I want to contribute something meaningful to our troubled planet and connect to a spirituality that I suspect is both inside me and around me. Unlike those who find their spirituality in religion or nature, however, my quest takes me other places.

I find my connection to the Mystery in more unusual ways. Once, while dancing the Argentine tango, I felt a spiritual message coming from under the dance floor. Yes, under the dance floor. It was a message of support and sweetness from what I imagine as The Big Love or, since you are probably a Star Wars fan, as The Force.

And if that isn’t odd enough, I also sing. But it’s not what you think. Although I used to have a penchant for Broadway musicals, I now seem to be singing soothing, sometimes amusing, melodies channeled from distant galaxies. When we meet, I will demonstrate. Because you are my mate, it will all make sense. It will make sense, in a compelling, metaphysical, rainforest-y way.

Oh, did I mention I am a psychotherapist seeking to change the world one dysfunctional family at a time?

There are normal things about me I could share. And I will in future letters. I just thought I would get some of the weirder stuff my more unique traits out of the way. Just to be sure you know what you are getting into.

So that’s me, Future Boyfriend. I would like you to show up soon. I am not getting any younger. And we have things to do. Dances to dance. Songs to sing. Hair to control. Magic to make.

May The Big Love be with you,

Paula


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The Holiday Season Blues — Rainforest Mind Edition

I spent time rereading my old blog posts this week. I was pretty impressed, if I do say so myself! (including the thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments) I wasn’t sure what to write next. But considering the holiday season, it seemed appropriate to gather up some posts that might be worth revisiting, particularly those that would be relevant to the holiday season blues–posts about the particular challenges for RFMs getting through these times and facing the usual familiar loneliness, intensified, along with the pressures of being highly sensitive and socially conscious in a pandemic, climate crisis, and increasingly divisive world.

As much as I hate to admit it, I succumb to the blues this time of year. Even with my trusty blog, adoring fans, thriving practice, emotional support animal sweater, and kind-hearted friends, I can still lose sight of how privileged I am and, instead, head down the luge into the psychic swamp where old therapists go to eat their pumpkin pie alone and reread Carl Jung’s greatest hits for the tenth time. It isn’t pretty.

(photo by yogendra singh, unsplash)

So, I am with you, my sweetest rainforesters. Join me in the psychic swamp. We shall eat our pumpkin pie alone together.

Surviving the Hectic, Harrowing, Holiday Season Hoopla

“…No one is immune to the hectic harrowing holiday season hoopla. You may think that you’re the only one bewildered, lonely or sad. You aren’t. And if you’re super sensitive and if you have high ethical standards and a social conscience, this may be a particularly tough time. It’s a crazy world right now. And if you’re like me, single and childfree, you might have mixed feelings while you watch the frenetic humans running hither and  yon…”

Fifteen Quick Reminders To Help You Make It Through the Holidaze

“…2  You’re not a failure as a human being if your siblings went to Stanford and are all doctors and have two and a half kids and you’re still wondering what to do when you grow up because you took a detour into drug treatment and psychotherapy because your soft heart and gentle spirit needed to heal…”

Finding Meaningful Friendships When You Are (Annoyingly) Perceptive And (Excrutiatingly) Sensitive

“…Of course, you can always start a blog or write a book. I have found some of my favorite humans through my writing. One of them, Tina, would win the girlfriend of the year contest, if such a thing existed. She lives 1,254.1 miles away from me. Is 18 years younger. (OMG. I could be her mother.) Has two teenage kids and a hubby. But that doesn’t stop her. Or me. You see? You can think outside the box when it comes to friendships. You will need to. Because of the wonders of technology, though, it is possible to experience a deeply satisfying, sweet, loving, even daily connection. The daily part has been important to me. Being single, I have longed for a person who checks in every day. And so, it seems, does Tina. It is a long-distance-but-that-doesn’t-matter girlfriend love fest…”

Super Sensitive? Super Smart? Super Lonely

“…It’s hard to find other beings with rainforest minds. Maybe you get frustrated by your relatives who dismiss your insights and take your kindness for granted. Perhaps you long for deep conversation and exuberant debate but end up with small talk and platitudes. Maybe you think it’s your job to save everyone so you befriend all comers, willy nilly. Maybe you meet someone who looks like a prospect but when they find out that you speak 4 languages, write music, paint, read books obsessively, and adore quantum physics, they remember that they have a dying uncle in Idaho who needs them. Right away. Maybe you’ve never found a soul who has the same capacity for sorrow and joy…”

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely?

“…You think you’re explaining your ideas quite thoroughly and clearly. But your listeners aren’t listening. They’re lost in your creative leaps and poetic language. Or they don’t really care about the future of the electric car. Or they think your enthusiasm for mycelium is weird…”

Lonely? Find your Pips

“…You were too excited by Jane Austen. You were too curious about black holes and sea anemones. You were too emotional when you were teased. You were too incensed when teachers were unfair. You were too disappointed when the world let you down. You still are…”

“Beam Me Up Scotty” Social Responsibility And Your Super Smart, Sensitive Soul

“…Get in touch with the activities and skills that bring you joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Then, use your creativity to turn one or more of them into a community building or global-oriented service project that will change minds and hearts. Design a project that will spread more love. That will soften the divide and reduce the fear. It doesn’t have to grow into a global phenomenon. But it can. You may hesitate because you feel that whatever you do won’t be grand enough. Won’t be perfect enough. Don’t let that stop you…” 

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To my bloggEEs: You know that writing to you sustains me, right? How is your holiday season? What is challenging for you? What do you do to create peace or to find others? And, if your holidays are joyful, tell us about it. Share the joy! And keep writing those thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments. Much love and gratitude to you all.


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The Loneliness Of The Highly Gifted

Does this remind you of you? At age 4, you made a plan to help the starving children in Mogadishu. At 5, you made a book about deforestation and the poaching of animals. At age 11, you petitioned to save the elephants of Thailand and at age 15, you won a contest with your essay on human trafficking. People told you, you worried too much. They mocked your passion, and told you to go and have fun like the other kids. But you were determined to speak out and you did not understand why your drive was seen as so unusual.

image courtesy of Greg Rakozy, Unsplash

At 29, you are still struggling with being an outspoken outlier and with how to take action in a world that feels so broken. You have long wished there were more than 24 hours in a day. Your family continues to dismiss your striving as unrealistic or unnecessary. These days you avoid talking with them but you have yet to find a place to belong or a clan of like minds.

You may have found one or more career paths that fed some of your intellectual curiosity for a while or provided for your financial security but did not nourish your soul. Or when you mastered a job’s requirements in the first week, you found your coworkers do not respond with appreciation; while you remained frustrated and unfulfilled.

What is often the experience of the highly (exceptionally, profoundly) gifted is that you can be successful and high achieving in a variety of fields.

Dare I say, at everything you try.

Perhaps you learned to play several musical instruments without the usual hours of practice. And you are now fluent in your fifth language. You remodeled your home without any training or schooling. And you diagnosed your own chronic illness when all of the doctors were stymied. You taught yourself quilting, gourmet cooking, fly tying, stock trading, and chess, in your spare time. Not only that. You may have been like Chris who “took up target shooting at the age of 50, took my brand new air pistol out of its box, fired. Had someone ask me if I’d been in the army, I said no, then they asked how long I’d been shooting, and I replied ‘about 5 minutes since I took this out of its box’.”

You are likely really good at pretending you are not so good at things. Or apologizing for your abilities and accomplishments. Or finding a way to build up the other person and minimize your capacities. I wonder if you have memories of teachers telling you to “put your hand down and let others have a turn.” Then, feeling hurt, because your enthusiasm was misinterpreted, you experienced bullying, jealousy, and spiteful comments from peers. You were told to spend your time helping your classmates and you felt guilty because you wanted to be kind but it was torture, day after day after day.

All you ever wanted was to share your fascination with Escher and the latest episode of Planet Earth with someone. Anyone. And have them get it. And love it, too. And love you, too.

“I want to fly. And I want so very much for someone to think that’s really cool when they see me fly…. instead of being angry or jealous or feeling like they’re beneath me. I just want someone some day to love me just for me just the way I am.”

And yet, this is such a tricky topic. Who is going to commiserate with you? Who can you talk with about this struggle? I am not even sure how to write about it without sounding whine-y, complain-y, and ungrateful. Right? Gratitude, of course, is important. And, if you had narcissistic parents, you might be extra cautious about acknowledging your strengths and talents.

But this is a thing. A big thing. You and I know it. And, if nothing else, we can talk about it here. You can be yourself here. You can practice sharing your accomplishments, capacities, and wins here.

You can fly.

And we will all cheer as we watch you soar to greater and greater heights. And even if no one else notices or cares, at first, you will find someone, another rainforest mind, or two or three. I know it. And, as your passion to make a difference still shines, as you still ache for the elephants, know that your flight nourishes us all.

You being you is what this planet needs.

Welcome to your clan.

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To my dearest bloggEEs: Tell us about your many accomplishments and abilities! Have you experienced frustration and rejection? Do you worry that acknowledging your strengths might be a kind of grandiosity? Please share your stories. They add so much. Thank you to the bloggEEs who shared the above examples. Much love and appreciation to you all.


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Holiday Season Confessions From A Tango Dancing Geek Psychotherapist

For the past 6 years, I have spent the holidays alone.* Thanksgiving. Christmas. Hanukkah. Halloween. All of it. Solitude City. Introvert Overkill.

(photo courtesy of Sherise, Unsplash)

I am guessing you are surprised. Here I am. Popular blogger to the gifted. Geek therapist extraordinaire. Surely, there are people clamoring to invite me to their celebrations. Family? Children? Inlaws? Outlaws? Boyfriend? Girlfriends? Acupuncturist?

Well, as many of you already know, I am childfree. And single. Extended family members live in other cities. Girlfriends have their various commitments with children, grandchildren, inlaws, and outlaws. Or they live in Colorado. (That would be Tina.) And my acupuncturist, well, she has good boundaries.

Of course, now that we have a pandemic, more of you may be solitary, too. But there was no Corona in 2014. 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018. 2019.

I am telling you this because I have heard how lonely many of you are. And, if you are alone (even if you are with people, I might add) on days when most everyone in the world says you ought to be HAPPY and FULL OF HOLIDAY CHEER, I am here to say, I get you. I am with you.

And, yet, it could be worse.

You could have to listen to your smelly drunk Uncle Craig while he tells you all about his latest hunting expeditions. You might be expected to explain to your grandmother yet again why you never went to Harvard and why you still haven’t cut or straightened your hair. You might be appalled at all of the wasted gift wrap and plastic that your nieces and nephews carelessly throw hither and yon. You could be forced to eat your cousin Sue’s orange carrot marshmallow jello salad. And let us not even mention the potential political perturbations.

Of course, this year, it will all likely take place with your buddy Zoom. (Cousin Sue sent her jello salad via UPS.) But still.

Seriously, though. This year, you may be struggling with the corona virus or you may have lost someone to the illness. You may have been laid off from your job. You may be teaching your kids at home. If there is trauma in your past, the restrictions and fears that come with the virus may be triggering your PTSD symptoms or you may have had to limit family interactions because of past abuse. Being the rainforest-minded soul that you are, you may be upset about the mythology around Thanksgiving and anxious over the consumer culture of the Christmas season. You may be thinking about the climate crisis and wondering if the world is about to implode.

It is is a tough time to be living in Solitude City. (even harder if you are an extravert)

Which brings me to another confession. Even though I cherish my status as the eccentric yet accomplished single auntie and the blogging tango dancing geek psychotherapist, even though I deeply value and need my alone time, there is a part of me who would not mind a holiday season with a little less introvert overkill. More specifically, since I am not getting any younger, as you may know, I would like a life, a last act you might say, with a (male) partner, a mate, a soul’s companion.

Gulp.

This is hard for me to admit. I want to be your role model for independent, successful, fulfilled, childfree, blogging, single womanhood. I do not want to disappoint you, my lovelies.

But we are all about authenticity here, right? So, this is me. Being me.

And you know, of course, I am not idealizing this so-called partner, mate, soul’s companion. I am a psychotherapist, after all. I know a thing or two about partnerships. I have even had a couple.

I am just confessing.

And, um, accepting applications.

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To my bloggEEs: How are you doing with the holiday season? The pandemic? How do you feel about being single? Partnered? What would you like to confess? Your comments add so much! Thank you for being here. If you didn’t watch this short video yet, it is a beautiful story about the loneliness due to the pandemic and how we are all connected.

*( Full disclosure: I will not usually be totally solitary. I started a tradition where I meet with my therapy clients who are also alone on the holiday. We have therapy with a side of pumpkin pie.)


76 Comments

Finding Meaningful Friendships When You Are (Annoyingly) Perceptive And (Excruciatingly) Sensitive

How do you find deeply satisfying friendships when you are an excruciatingly sensitive, annoyingly perceptive, unendingly persnickety, frighteningly intense, multi-dimensionally intelligent, divergently thinking, quirkily funny, unrealistically idealistic, gently demanding, ravenously researching, mysteriously intuitive human being? (otherwise known as rainforest-minded)

photo courtesy of thought catalog, Unsplash

No wonder friends are hard to find. Right?

But, face it honey. This is a perfect description of you.

And we are all better off because this is who you are.

Now, you just need to believe it. You need to love all of your rainforest-y ways. And, amazingly enough, this is a key to the discovery of other rainforest-minded souls. (But you knew that.)

Of course, they probably will not magically appear even if you are basking in self-compassion. (although they might) You most likely will need to be creative about where you look and you will have to take the initiative and make the first moves. I have specific suggestions here. And, here. (With adjustments for the pandemic. Sorry, no tango dancing.)

As you may know, there are more and more online groups and communities for just about anything you can imagine. I recently discovered Livingroom Conversations for the pacifist-activists among you and the Evolutionary Collective if you are looking for a spiritually evolving experience. For an intergenerational group involved with social change, there’s Encore. There is your silent book club. And Soul Collage.

Of course, you can always start a blog or write a book. I have found some of my favorite humans through my writing. One of them, Tina, would win the girlfriend of the year contest, if such a thing existed. She lives 1,254.1 miles away from me. Is 18 years younger. (OMG. I could be her mother.) Has two teenage kids and a hubby. But that doesn’t stop her. Or me. You see? You can think outside the box when it comes to friendships. You will need to. Because of the wonders of technology, though, it is possible to experience a deeply satisfying, sweet, loving, even daily connection. The daily part has been important to me. Being single, I have longed for a person who checks in every day. And so, it seems, does Tina. It is a long-distance-but-that-doesn’t-matter girlfriend love fest.

If I can do it, so can you.

Just remember, from the wise words of a bloggEE: “We never stop being who we are. We may run from it, but it won’t stop running behind us. If we’re open, and patient enough, we will notice, and eventually collect, like minds.”

So, notice and collect your like minds. Find your Tina.

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To my bloggEEs: Where and how have you found friends? Do you have a Tina in your life? What has made it hard for you to build friendships? We all appreciate your comments. They add so much. Thank you, as always, for being here.

The holiday season can be a particularly difficult time if you are lonely. And with this pandemic and other events, you may be struggling, frightened, and grieving. Here is a beautiful, uplifting short film just for you: Alone during a pandemic film Sending much love to you all.


26 Comments

Gifted And Lonely In Belgium

photo courtesy of Hector Martinez, Unsplash

Just yesterday, 26 people in Bangladesh and 9 in Qatar were reading my blog. 10 in South Africa, 12 in Turkey, 1 in Kenya, and 6 in Sudan, among many others, around the world. We are not alone, my dearest rainforest-minded darlings. We are not alone.

Of course, you may still feel lonely. Like Elien, in Belgium. An “outsider.” Learning came easily when she was younger but she was bullied by the other students and even by teachers for her enthusiasm. For knowing the answers and wanting to share them. As in many countries, schooling was focused on the slower learners, so she was frustrated, waiting for others to catch up. Waiting to learn something new. Waiting for someone who could understand her musings.

That said, like many of you, she did not believe she was gifted. She never managed to find success in higher education, and so, was underestimated by others, and by herself. She dealt with a disabling fear of failure. She was told she was “too much, too sensitive, too intense, a dreamer, an idealist, naive…” and more. Sound familiar? She wrote, “…The suffering in the world affects me so deeply that I sometimes have to shut myself off completely.”

Elien was looking for purpose. She wanted to trust herself. She tried therapy because, she said, “…I have a lot of trauma attached to the misunderstanding and loneliness I felt as a child and the fact that I got emotionally neglected and never learned to trust in myself and my abilities…”

In therapy, she felt something was missing because her therapist did not recognize her particular complexity and the issues that arose very specifically due to her rainforest mind. The issues you know so well: high sensitivity, emotionality, and intensity, pressure to achieve at high levels, excessive fear of failure, thirst for learning and meaning, schooling disappointments, multiple interests and abilities, painful personal and planetary empathy, and the extreme loneliness of being misunderstood and unseen.

Elien told me finding my blog/books and recognizing herself in them was a very emotional experience. Crying “intensely” and reading “in stages.” Accepting that she might be highly gifted, was a game changer. She wrote, “I believed I was an outsider who would always be lonely, there was this invisible wall and I couldn’t figure out why…Now I know why I have such a problem with structure, with authority, why I have this high sense of justice that many others don’t understand…I need to be and work free and autonomously…why I struggle with communication, although I am outgoing and social, why I rarely truly get along with someone and always had to tone down my energy…my urge for deep conversation and my spirit for intense humor and connection…I gave a deep sigh of relief in discovering this…I cried quite a bit, too, for all the years that I have been deeply frustrated, angry at myself, talked myself down, deeply doubted myself…”

And so, my RFMs in Belgium, Bangladesh, Qatar, and, oh, everywhere, do not despair. As you realize who you really are, as you start to celebrate your magnificent rainforest-ness in all of its deep, lush, colorful, powerful, passionate beauty, you will be found. You Will Be Found.

Thank you to the American musical, Dear Evan Hansen

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To my bloggEEs: I am so grateful for you. I hope you are all safe and healthy. Tell us about your loneliness or about how you have been found. Here is an older post about ways to find friends, although it was written before the pandemic so will need to be adapted. And if you have a therapist who needs help understanding your rainforest-ness, share this post. And my books. Sending you all much love and strength.

(Note: Thank you, Elien, for sharing your story. And dears, if you are outside of the US…sorry N. Americans…and wish to share your experiences in a post, please email me. I would love to write stories from a wide variety of cultures.)

(Another note: I’m using a new version of WordPress so you may see some changes. It’s a little frustrating but I hope to figure it out soon!)


41 Comments

Gifted In Spain — How Are Rainforest Minds Similar And Different Across Cultures? #2

photo courtesy of mubariz mehdizadeh, Unsplash

Meet Manuel. He is 29. Living in Spain.

“… I have always struggled with authority, peers, and almost everything because I think out of the box. I am told constantly that I am too intense and too focused in my interests, which I have a wide range of them, which is quite frustrating for me and others because I don’t know how to handle it. I’m told that I’m too idealistic (as if it was something bad), which I take always as a compliment…I am a constant seeker of beauty, harmony, justice, equality and knowledge, which leads me to be very spiritual because I know that my standards are not possible in this broken world. I have to cope with anxiety everyday because of noises, smells, colors, a sudden scent that brings deep feelings to my mind, a poor person in the street, the environment, politics, lies, books I’d like to read, things I’d love to do…I want to be a saint, a philosopher, an artist, an advocate for the most unfortunate people, a scientist, a writer, and more things.”

Manuel told me he did not think he was gifted. And yet, here he is describing his multipotentiality, idealism, creativity, intensity, intrinsic perfectionism, spirituality, highest standards, and sensitivities. His desire to help others. His struggles with peers. 

“Since I was a kid I had a strong sensibility for beauty, staring at the sunset and crying out loud how beautiful the snow was…People often tell me I’m overwhelming, that I talk too much and that I don’t stick to the conversation. I hate small-talk, makes me feel depressed…” 

Sensitive to beauty at a young age. Overwhelming to others. Aversion to small-talk. What do you think? Does Manuel have a rainforest mind? Not sure? What about this:

“..I need nature… I need and crave for alone time…I made it to college, but I drop out almost when I was about to finish my degree in Chinese and Japanese Philology, doing very good in Chinese even though I barely attended classes ( I was the third top student and I was told by teachers that I was very good but I was lazy)…”

And finally:

“…I have felt sometimes connected to the world, like I was one with everything, it was amazing and painful at the same time…”

Welcome to the rainforest mind clan, Manuel. 

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To my bloggEEs: Can you relate to what Manuel (not his real name) is saying? Let him know in the comments. I’m thinking of writing more specifically about those of you around the world to see what we all have in common and what might be different. If you’d like to be profiled on my blog, and if you live outside N. America, send me an email via my About page and tell me about yourself and your location. And thank you all, as always, for your love of beauty, your care for the less fortunate, and your connection to everything. And thank you, Manuel, for sharing your story.

(Note: Of course, if you live in N. America, you can also write to me (!), I am just looking to learn more about other cultures for future blog posts!)

(Another note: Find the first article specifically on cross-cultural adults, Gifted In Portugal, here.