Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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How To Find A Mate With A Rainforest Mind

photo courtesy of Felix Russell-Saw, Unsplash

photo courtesy of Felix Russell-Saw, Unsplash

How does a highly sensitive, intense, emotional, analytical, gifted, creative human find another highly sensitive, intense, emotional, analytical, gifted, creative human? Can two such humans get together and manage an intimate relationship without imploding or exploding or interploding? (I just made that last word up. But you can imagine it, can’t you?) 

You’re probably not worrying about interploding if you’re partnerless. You’re wondering if that gifted mate is even out there. And even if s/he is out there, how might you stumble into him/her. So, we’ll start there. We’ll get to an avoiding interploding post later.

(This is not to imply that everyone needs to find a mate. Nooooooo. I’m just writing to those of you who are single and looking. OK?)

There’s lots of advice out there that might be helpful. I’m going to share my theory.

From my psycho-spiritual-rainforesty perspective, I think there are complicated factors at play. But first, I want to remind you that all types of folks have found mates. Even gifted ones. So there’s hope.

Next, I believe that there are three things you’ll need to do.

1. Some of you will need therapy to face your fears. In the therapeutic relationship, you practice trusting someone and being vulnerable. You learn how to speak your truth and how to repair your broken heart. You develop healthy boundaries and shift patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you well. You build self-confidence and self-love, so that you’re better able to select someone who will be a good match. (How to find a therapist.)

2. Some of you will need to explore your psyche to look for obstacles. You may think you want to find someone but your unconscious may be screaming, ” Hell no!” In your journal, explore your fears. Write to parts of yourself and be an empathetic listener. Maybe it’s your Wounded Child who is afraid of abandonment. Maybe it’s your Perfectionist who’s afraid of failure. Maybe it’s your Introvert who’s afraid of being overwhelmed. Write to these parts and build connections. Find ways to soothe and reassure them. Then, get yourself out into the world in ways that you find meaningful and fulfilling. (Writing a blog,  joining the Audubon society, or taking a class in bicycle mechanics…)

3. And last, and here’s the spiritual (some might say woowoo) part. Use your creativity to energetically call the person to you. You can use song writing, collage, letter writing, poetry, dance, painting, gardening, whatever form that works for you and is fun. Imagine that s/he will hear you when the time is right. Imagine what it will feel like when s/he arrives. Picture your first date. If that image stirs up anxiety, go back to steps one and two! If it creates excitement, that’s a good sign. Then, be like the Buddha and let go of any attachment to outcome. Just live your already beautiful, multifaceted, rainforest-minded life.

( Full disclosure: At the present time, I’m single and seeking a partner. You may have guessed?? I’ve worked through steps 1, 2, and 3 and am in the Buddha phase. But, well, if my future mate is reading this right now, um, you know where to find me. )

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To my bloggEEs: Those of you in partnerships, how did you find each other? Tell us what it’s been like. Those of you seeking, what do you think of these ideas? Those of you who are enthusiastically single, share your insights. Thank you all for reading and sharing. By the way, I hope you like the changes to my blog. Let me know your feedback. Oh, and when my person shows up, I’ll let y’all know.

And for you, dear readers, struggling with recent events, here’s an older post that might help. Sending all of you love.


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The Gifted Adult’s Guide to Finding Friends

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

You’re sensitive. Empathetic. Funny. Generous. Smart. Adorable. And yet, you have trouble finding friends.

I’m here to help.

I’ve gathered my five favorite posts on relationships here so that you don’t need to go searching for them. I’d suggest that you read them all to get my comprehensive take on this topic. You’ll be able to pick and choose from the many suggestions and you’ll see that the reason you’re lonely is not because you’re a hopeless weirdo slacker ne’er-do-well. But because you’re gifted.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started:

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely  (This one has a link at the end to more posts on relationships written by parents of gifted children.)

Gifted? Lonely? Learn The Argentine Tango  (You won’t want to miss the quote from Maria Popova.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips  (This one has a link at the end by a different group of parents of gifted kids, also on this topic.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips–Part Two  (This is where I get all spiritual on you.)

Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up  (I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t be happy if you’re single!! Nooooo. I’m just saying that if you’re single and want a partner, here are some ideas. And this post also includes ideas for finding friends, too, so don’t skip over it.)

One more thing: When you’re clearer about who you are, you’ll be better able to spot other rainforest minds. If you’re doing something you love, at work or at play, and you spot one who has potential, be brave and initiate a conversation. Ask them questions about themselves. They will thank you! If they lead a busy life, don’t let that stop you. You may have to do the work to build the relationship at first. But if your intuition says they’re a good one, keep at it. Eventually the person will reciprocate and the relationship will be more balanced. I know that this works because it’s how I created my lovely circle of dear rainforest-y friends. But you have to be patient and persistent. OK?

One last thing: Don’t forget the online groups. Also, my book has a chapter on loneliness with even more suggestions. And, if you want to hang out with rainforest minds on a daily basis, well, become a counselor/consultant for the gifted. Start a blog. Write a book.

You’ll be so glad you did.

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To my bloggEEs: How have you found other rainforest minds? How do you deal with loneliness? Thank you for being here and for opening your hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Gifted and Misunderstood

photo courtesy pixabay CC

photo courtesy pixabay CC

How are you misunderstood? Let me count the ways.

People tell you to lighten up when you’re just trying to enlighten them.

People tell you to stop being so critical when you’re just making careful, thoughtful and thorough observations.

People tell you that you need to stop overthinking when you haven’t even begun to truly analyze the situation.

People tell you that you’re arrogant when you’re just desperate to find someone who can discuss the philosophy of William James. Doesn’t everyone love William James?

People tell you that you don’t know how to have fun when you’re having a ball reading Tolstoy.

People tell you to slow down when you’re already going at a painfully plodding pace.

People tell you that you’re OCD when you’ve painted your living room 12 times in the last 3 years, but you discern the difference between white, off-white, and off-off-white. And, you’re distressed when the color isn’t right.

People tell you that you’re lazy when you’re actually choreographing complicated mathematical equations in your head.

People tell you to stop daydreaming when you’re actually mentally entertaining yourself because the intellectual stimulation in the room is less than negligible.

People tell you to just write the darned e-mail but you have to get the punctuation, grammar and tone exactly exact.

People tell you to stop repeating yourself but you’re just trying to be sure that they understand what you’ve said; to be sure that they understand. What you’ve said.

People tell you to pick one career and stick with it but you can’t stand a job once you’ve mastered it. Why would anyone stay in a job that no longer teaches them anything?

People tell you to pick one career and stick with it but you have too many interests and abilities so you have to get to at least 42 of them before you die.

People tell you to just make a decision already but you’re considering all of the possibilities and the variables within each possibility.

People tell you to stop being so sensitive, so dramatic, and so emotional but you’ve been looking for the off button for years and have finally determined that there is no off button.

 

Maybe, many of “the people” will continue to misunderstand you. But, that’s OK.

Because now, you understand yourself.

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To my bloggEEs: In what ways have you been misunderstood? Let us know in the comments. And if someone you love misunderstands you, share this post (and others) with him/her, and use it as a way to start the conversation.

And speaking of being misunderstood, I’m getting a little nervous since I haven’t heard from many of you about my webinar. (the last post) I suspect that, because it’s an hour and 20 minutes long, you’re waiting to find enough time to savor the full-on experience of, well, me. Ha! But, if you’re unhappy with something in the webinar post, I promise, I want to hear it. OK?

 

 

 


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Smart, Sensitive, Intense And In Love

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photo courtesy Wilson Sanchez, Unsplash

Do you occasionally overwhelm your partner with your intensity? Does the depth of emotion that comes so naturally to you, scare your sweetie? Is your enthusiasm over your fascinating study of ant behavior not matched by your spouse? Do you find that the love of your life just can’t keep up?

Or is it the reverse? You’re the one who is overwhelmed, can’t keep up, not enticed by the study of ant behavior and frightened by your darling’s emotional intensity?

Or is it this? You’re both super-smart, highly sensitive and terribly intense. It’s thrilling and exhausting to be living in your jungle. Together.

Here’s what not to do: Do not panic. Do not start binge-watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island.*

Instead, here are some things to think about:

~ What do you need from your relationship? Make a list. Verbal intimacy? Shared values? Humor? Love of Reality TV? How many of those needs are met by your partner? How many of them can be met in other ways? How do you take time to celebrate your connection?

~ Is there a balance in what you give and what you receive? How might you create a better balance? Look at careers, child raising, household chores, emotional support, financial support, friendships, extended family, holiday celebrations, spiritual well-being, and other elements of family life. If you have children, how do you make time to nourish your couple-ness?

~ How important is intellectual equality? Where might you and your partner get your intellectual needs met outside of your relationship? Can you feel nourished and supported by your partner without being intellectually similar? Or is intellectual compatibility necessary for you to feel fed by the relationship?

~ If you often communicate like a fire hose and your partner gets overwhelmed, set up a signal so that you can change to a garden-hose-communicator (GHC) when needed. Decide how often you’re being asked to be a GHC and if you’re OK with that.

~ Have your partner read some of my blog posts. Talk about them. What parts fit? What parts don’t fit? If you wrote your own post for this blog, what would it say?

~ Remember what first brought you together. Share those early stories with each other. If you’ve lost your sense of humor, go find it.

~ Share books on relationships by John Gottman, Sue Johnson and John Welwood. Learn more about what draws particular people to each other. Find strategies in the books that will improve your communication skills and deepen your intimacy.

~ If you or your partner have experienced trauma, your relationship will be that much more complicated. Working through past traumatic experiences with a professional will soothe your soul and allow you to open more deeply to love.

~ If you have some differences that are particularly challenging, look for a good couples counselor, preferably one who understands rainforest minds.

Note: Thanks to Anne Allanketner, poet and couples counselor in Portland, Oregon, USA, for her help with this post.

(*For those of you too young or from outside the USA, this was a really ridiculous North American TV show.)

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To my blogEEs: If you’re in a partnership, tell us how you navigate your differences and your similarities. How do you manage your intensities, sensitivities and intellectual curiosity? What are the benefits of rainforest-minded partners and what are the downsides? Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They add so much to my blog!


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Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up.

photo courtesy of STSci NASA

photo courtesy of STSci NASA

If you’re single and feeling lonely, listen up.

Because I know what you’re thinking. You’ve tried. Tinder. Plenty of Fish. Match. E-Harmony. The Church Barbecue.

Nothing works. You must be too much. Too much for love.

After all, you overwhelm your friends with your intensity. You’re too sensitive to shoot-’em-up-movies, to screeching leaf blowers, to wafting perfumes and to commas in the wrong place. You’re too curious about dark matter and too obsessed with how Americans waste water on golf courses.

You must be too much. Too much for love.

But what if that’s not true?

I can hear you now. “Well, obviously, Paula, you’re dead wrong. I’m single. SINGLE. There’s your proof. Obvious. Geez, Paula, you aren’t as smart as I thought you were.”

Let me explain. Think about it. When it comes to too muchness, where real love is concerned: You can never be too much. If your capacity to love is as large as your capacity to worry about the time when you were in 6th grade and you were mean to Mary Sweeney, your future partner has won the jackpot. Seriously.

Now, I realize that it’s not that simple. I’m going to give you a few tips so that you can truly embrace what I’m saying and then find your significant other (or s/he can find you) without further ado. Well, with some ado. A little ado.

I know that it could take some work for you to believe in yourself. And maybe you’ve closed off your enormous capacity to love. It could take some time to open that back up again. And you may need some suggestions about where to look for that lucky person. So, here are the tips:

• You all know that I suggest therapy every chance I get. I recommend it if you feel despair, powerlessness or terrified of intimacy. There are also support groups, journaling and mindfulness practices that can strengthen your sense of self. Journaling, in particular, can be useful for getting in touch with your fears and befriending them.

• Practice expressing yourself in your friendships: Tell the truth. Ask for what you really need. Show your quirkiness and your vulnerability. Geek out.

• Find ways to get intellectual stimulation that involve other smart humans. Take classes at a university, join a Facebook group of like-minds, create or join a meetup group in your town (you might be surprised at what’s already out there), learn a new language and travel, follow bloggers you find intriguing (ahem) and write to them, attend conferences on topics of interest. (Then, when you spot another rainforest mind, be brave and ask him/her to coffee, literally or virtually.)

• Embody gratitude whenever you can. It will improve your health, your confidence and your sense of well-being. (I know you hear this everywhere, but it works!)

And finally, my favorite tip:

Use your creativity to tap the Magic that’s in you and around you. One way to do this: Write a letter to your future mate telling him or her about yourself. Show who you really are through your letter. Be funny or serious or tender or weird. (Poems, stories, drawings, or collages are also possible formats.) Perhaps, you’ll sense that you need to write a series of letters. Trust your intuition. Then, feel deeply into the experience of knowing this person. Use all of your senses to imagine his/her presence. Be patient. Tell the multiverse that you’re ready and that you mean it. Give the letter(s) to your person when s/he shows up.

Note: Thanks to Anne Allanketner and Anne Gordon for their help with this post.

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To my bloggEEs: If you’re single, are you seeking a partner? What do you think of these ideas? And for those of you already in intimate relationships, how did you find him/her? What do you suggest to someone looking for a partner?

 


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If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely?

photo from Dave Worley, flickr, CC

photo from Dave Worley, flickr, CC

It didn’t go well when you were a little tyke.

You assumed that the other 5 year olds loved reading the dictionary as much as you did.

You assumed that all 7 year olds preferred a vacation to NASA over a trip to Disneyworld.

You assumed that the other kids would want to play your intricate games and learn your secret codes rather than play yet another round of Candyland.

You didn’t know that you had a rainforest mind. Maybe you still don’t.

That’s why I’m here.

Relationships can be tricky when you have a rainforest mind.

Have you noticed?

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.

That you are weird.

If you’re particularly sensitive, which I know you are, then, you’re feeling more emotion and more empathy than the people around you. They might start avoiding you because you seem to be less cool, less able to “go with the flow.”

You might find it hard to pretend to like them. Or to accommodate their need for chit chat. You might feel crazy because what’s obvious to you, might not be apparent to them.

But you want to belong. You want to fit in. Have friends for heaven’s sake. Maybe even find a partner. Right? Is that too much to ask?

Well.

I have good news and bad news.

Good news:

There are rainforest-minded people out there. Yes, there are. I meet them every day in my counseling office. (Aren’t I the lucky one?) And they are radiant beings. Shining lights of smartness, courage and sweetness. (Just like you.) Navigating their intricate and luminous existences on this planet. Seeking authenticity, purpose and love. Wanting to make a difference while they’re here.

Bad news:

You will have to look for them. Carefully. They’re probably hiding, like you are.

But I have some ideas.

Mostly, you have to know who you are. Figure out who you are. Use psychotherapy or yoga or meditation or painting or dancing or science or astrology or acupuncture or reading or hiking or music or spirituality or dark chocolate or some combination of these things. It’ll require time and effort. There may be crying.

And then you have to love that gorgeous rainforest-y mind (heart-body-soul-spirit) of yours.

You can do it.

photo from Julia Caesar, Unsplash, CC

photo from Julia Caesar, Unsplash, CC

Take a moment now and feel your glow. Maybe it’s in your heart. Maybe in your belly or your feet. I know it’s there. It’s always been there. It just may be crushed under the weight of a dysfunctional family or inadequate schooling or global suffering or some combination of these things.

As you feel your own radiance, you’ll be better able to spot your cohorts, your mates, your tribespeople– and you’ll have the courage to approach them and create your community.

They’ll find you, too.

You’ll be hard to miss.

They’ll see you sparkling.

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To my blogEEs: I know that it’s not easy to find yourself and love yourself. For most of us, it’s a lifelong journey. Know that you don’t have to be perfect before you find other rainforest-y beings. Just get started. OK? And let us know how it’s going. We’re here for you.

For more posts on the topic of giftedness and relationships, click on the link below. 10430857_10205935258433150_7392407120722756515_n