Do you feel like not enough and too much at the same time?

Do you feel like not enough and too much at the same time?

Maybe you feel like you’re not enough because you tend to strive for perfection and you keep raising the bar. Maybe you feel like you’re not enough because you still haven’t found that best friend. Maybe you feel like you’re not enough because you couldn’t save your mother from her fear and her rage.

At the same time, you feel like too much. Too verbal, too sensitive, too dramatic, too curious, too smart, too emotional, too critical, too perceptive, too idealistic. Too much.

You see? Not enough and too much. At the same time.

How is it that you’re not enough?

• It could be that you put pressure on yourself to perform brilliantly at all times. But you can’t measure up to those standards. So you believe that you’re inadequate. If you were praised excessively for your achievements as a child, your self-worth may now depend on what you can do instead of who you are. On the other hand, you may need the bar to be high because your deepest soul demands it. Either way, it’s tough to sustain.

• It’s often lonely in the rainforest mind. Even though there’s an enormous amount of activity, it can be hard to find people to join you. The speed, intensity and complexity of your thoughts and the content of your conversations can perplex potential friends or partners. It might be very hard to find someone who wants to dive in with you to explore the depths.

• If you were raised in a dysfunctional family ( I know, I know, who wasn’t? ), then your perceptive, sensitive child-self probably took on the job of rescuing your parents and siblings. Perhaps, you recognized that something in the family was seriously wrong. You felt that it was your responsibility to find solutions and provide empathy. When you couldn’t turn things around, you blamed yourself and decided that you were not very capable.

Thus, you feel like you’re not enough.

It might be easier to see why you feel like too much.

• People tell you. Often. You’re told to quiet down, calm down, slow down and dumb down. You talk fast and you think fast. Your brain is on warp drive all the time. Even when you sleep. If you can sleep, that is. Even loving parents can get overwhelmed and not know how to feed your voracious appetite for understanding the theory of everything. Your interpretation of it all, may have meant that you felt like you needed to shrink or even become invisible. There was just too much of you.

But here’s the good news. You’re capable of embracing contradictions. You enjoy paradox. You thrive on the mystery. Not enough? Too much? At the same time? No problem. The rain forest holds it all.


Note to dear readers: Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I hope my blog can be a place where you feel a little less alone and a little more understood. Future blog posts will cover topics mentioned so far in more depth and new topics–perfectionism, sensitivities, loneliness, dysfunctional families, multipotentiality, decision making, schooling, social responsibility, existential depression, creativity, spirituality, resources and more. Thank you!



Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

19 responses to “Do you feel like not enough and too much at the same time?”

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  1.  Avatar

    Thanks for this.

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  3. The Arrogant Know-It-All Conundrum | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] 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 […]

  4. Munchkin Avatar

    You didn’t hit too close to home on this one. You broke down the door and marched right on in.

    Why do these blogs leave me in so many tears?

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Because you’re gifted???

  5. Zen Avatar

    Definitely embrace contradiction upon contradiction. It makes the most sense to me (though is confounding).

  6. GiryaGirl Avatar

    A so-called social media “expert” was telling everyone to “let out the full force of our authentic lives” on the internet. From a place of experience I replied that I wasn’t sure the world really wanted that from some of us… I think it’s “ok” to be too much, but have come to understand that the mainstream sometimes needs it organized, categorized, and occasionally drip-fed to be palatable. Sort of a form of self-curation, a rotation of the collections… even the world’s greatest museums don’t have their entire collections on display.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Oh yes. This is so true. I love the way you put it, too. With the rainforest mind, there is SO MUCH going on, “full force” may really not be realistic, especially if you’re wanting to communicate with the “mainstream.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. marta Avatar

    hello paula, thank you for writing this blog. I found it today through an facebook-link from tutorium berlin. please excuse my unperfect english. your posts are written in an easy understanding way. I hate all the separations and science-research made by the society for trying to understand in their system, made by all of us humans ourselves.sometimes it feels like in a science-fiction-movie…my two daughters and me are high-gifted and high-sensitive, so…every day life and the last years had a lot of “adventures” including familiy-separating. my whish to society..and human being is peace, tolerance and implicitness to every being, the same if human, plant or animal and much more respect., more peaceful, free schools, where the children can learn the new things, their generation will need, not all the old issus, which are so grave and slow.- so much things are man-made, without need for it……so thank you for your work and writing this blog – excuse this lot of words,…greetings by heart from austria – thanks for reading, – marta

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Hi Marta. One of the things I’m enjoying about blogging is connecting with people all over the world. I find that pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad that my words are helpful. I share many of your wishes for society.

  8. Maggie Avatar

    Hooray for the interwebs, where it is possible to find ourselves better understood by folks who have never met us, than by some of those whom we interact with daily. Sometimes simply feeling understood is enough. Will definitely be following your blog, Paula.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Thank you for your comment, Maggie.

  9. Anna Avatar

    Wow. I tried joining a Mensa group a few years ago to try and find like-minded ppl who enjoy intellectual stimulation and what happened was that I joined the largest Fb Mensa group where the most active members then were gifted in math, one or two in physics and many had not found their niche as yet.

    My areas of interest are the social sciences, philosophy, and religion. Needless to say, some gifted individuals think that because they are gifted in one area, they possess knowledge in all fields/domains. So when an issue issue was being discussed or debated, most of the most active members would comment without having really thought about what they were saying.

    And obviously I feel as if I’ll explode if I don’t correct false or misleading information and ended up with these active members forming a vendetta against me- long story. I left the group.

    I thought I found a social science and a philosophy group on Fb and those too flopped. So I went to Coursera. I left that as well after having taken some wonderful class and then taking a class with a clerk for a philosophy class the self or something. I keep forgetting that one cannot tell any professor, especially Ivey League professors that they’re wrong AND present why their argument is fallacious. — I believe professors have the responsibility to teach students accurate information and allow them to think for themselves and base their opinion on sound logic. Students are not to be indoctrinated, ever. I dropped the class.

    About a month ago I come across an argument I presented in another philosophy class in Wikipedia- no credit was given to my ideas. They took my idea and ran with it as their own. In this same class professors were acting as if Gettier’s definition of what knowledge is is based on scientific proof or something. They failed to discuss that while Gettier deserved “props” for coming up with an alternative argument/definition of knowledge, his argument wasn’t the argument to end all arguments about what constitutes what it is to know and how belief works. I got disgusted and left. But I did finish the course.

    I know I can be intense. And just as playful as I’m intense. To be honest, I rather be disliked for who I am than to be liked for who I’m not. – cliche, I know.

    The closest I’ve been to being mentally stimulated has been to belong to a group I share nothing in common with other than being an “outcast.”

    It’s very lonely when I want to engage in a great discussion about things that interest me and I’m not challenged. The closest I come to “praise” that I’m not losing my gift is when I find that great minds in the past had the same idea about a topic as me.

    Anyway, not being able to engage in discussions in topics that interests me is the only time I’m lonely. If you know of any group where members love to discuss or debate social science topics, based on good research, let me know.

    I’m just read for your next few blogs and be quiet. 🙂

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Hi Anna. It sounds like you’ve run into a lot of frustration. I don’t know of any groups debating social science topics. I wish I did. If I think of anything, I’ll let you know.

  10. Heather Avatar

    I also thank you!

  11. Elizabeth Hunt Avatar
    Elizabeth Hunt

    Thank you!

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      You’re most welcome.

  12. john Avatar

    Please get out of my head!

    (Seriously, how do you know all this about me???)

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Hey John. So sorry to be in your head. How rude, huh? The thing is, I’ve been working with gifted people in some form or another since 1977. (I was VERY young.) At that time, I got a job teaching gifted kids in a pull-out program in a middle school. Then, I moved to Oregon and taught gifted children in grades 1-5 for a few more years. I started speaking to groups of parents and teachers and eventually went back to school to get a Masters in counseling. It seemed like a no-brainer to specialize in counseling the gifted. And I’ve been doing that ever since. So, I have some years of experience with your kind! And even though gifted adults are incredibly diverse, I see certain issues coming up over and over again. Those are the ones I’m writing about. Thanks for letting me in your head.