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?


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.


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




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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.

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  6. Jackson Avatar

    This is the first time I’ve investigated this omnipresent feeling properly. It’s comforting to hear others stories, especially those which resonate with me. I’m young. 17 years old. Hardly a prodigy by any means, yet without wanting to sound cocky, I feel as if my intelligence is on such a different level that I find it difficult to be affable with those around me.

    I’m the currently the dux of my school, and have grown up with some very likable people around me, still I seem to miss the mark in terms of relationships. I understand it’s because I’m different. I understand it’s because I set goals and expectations for myself which others don’t, especially at my age. To make it easier to visualize, I suppose one could imagine my character as being reminiscent of Gatsby, Will Hunting, or Nietzsche.

    I withdraw from many things which involve me putting down my walls to let other people see in, because I know they won’t understand; no matter how reassuring and sympathetic they are, they can’t relate. To share with people these thoughts would brand me as a weirdo as you have said, or would create a reputation for myself wherein I’m seen as possessing more than a fair share of vanity.

    In such a society, wherefore Descartes’ idiom, “I think therefore I am” pleads axiomatically true in my case, this egregious burden shall unfortunately dictate the future propensity of my relationships.

    Thus I’m alienated.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      What you say here will resonate with many of my blog readers, Jackson. And the higher your level of giftedness, the more lonely it can be. But don’t give up in finding some like minds. They’re out there! (they’re here!) Just not in great numbers. Have you looked at http://www.intergifted.com yet? That might be a good resource for you. I’m so glad that you’re here.

      1. Jackson Avatar

        With all manner of respect, I feel like classifying oneself (or myself for that matter) as gifted is base and possibly iniquitous. Even with the purest intentions at heart, it feels like a term that people would assign to those who are significantly different. For the purpose of this website, I suppose it is fine but to go out into the world convinced that I am atop an illusory hierarchy of intelligence is immoral, not to mention snobbish and largely embarrassing.

        I feel it would be beneficial if it were kept as little more than a discreet classification, preferably even by a different name. This isn’t simply a preferential suggestion, I was wanting to raise the following point:
        If people like the ones you talk of on this site (that is myself included) are given a label which further differentiates them from everyone else, not only will some find it belittling, but also not very helpful, considering our base desire is to fit in with those around us.

        Again, I mean no offense in this, it is merely a topic to consider. Thanks for responding and sorry for being an analytical pain in the posterior.

        1. Themon the Bard Avatar
          Themon the Bard

          I think many of us feel the same way, Jackson. I certainly do, which is why I’ve fallen in love with Paula’s term, “Rainforest Mind.” It doesn’t carry that same hierarchical stigma of higher/lower. But it does capture that we are different.

        2. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          I appreciate hearing your thoughts, Jackson. I hear the conflict. It’s tricky for sure. How to navigate this thing where we talk about these differences without implying superiority or separation. When I originally created the metaphor, it was with the intention of saying that we can compare people to ecosystems. We value all ecosystems for their particular traits and beauty. The rainforest is simply the most complex. Also, in my experience, there needs to be a place where rainforest types feel understood. But I get what you’re saying. And appreciate your analysis!

  7. Anthony Avatar

    The rainforest analogy is good. Before that, I saw it as a labyrinth. Everyone has a labyrinth mind, with intersections as choices (including thoughts) and dead ends as failures. The differences is that normal people can see above the walls. We struggle to run alot faster and make maps and stash them in disorder in our backpacks. But we can dig secret passages, see through the cracks in the walls, and normal people cant understand how we find our way in the maze. They see the objective, “two left turn, two right and there it is”, but yet, we are gonna take a complicated path, or are gonna cheat to get there. This is how we find undiscovered pathways or sections of the labyrinth, because we don’t know where we are going, normal people see the edge of the maze, but if we cant, we try to get there as hard as everytime, and sometime we light up new sections.

    For some, there can be fog that adds up to this lack of vision. Its when it reaches a point where we cant function anymore and are disconnected from reality.

    What works well for me is to observe my thoughts, to see life not from my eyes but from a camera that is set up slightly above and behind my head, so that it not only sees like my eyes but also sees my actions and thought, my posture, my body language.


    Anthony, expert miner.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Love the labyrinth analogy, Anthony. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  8. Sharlynn Knarr Cochran Avatar
    Sharlynn Knarr Cochran

    At age 50, I finally found my tribe when I began a new career teaching high school. Yes, I get so frustrated at the slowness and repetitive nature of faculty meetings, but being with 15 or so different teens every 50 minutes, eight periods per day, in MY classroom makes my introverted spirit soar! As for adult friends, I am still looking (I live in a small Midwestern town), but I know they are out there. Thanks so much for providing like-minded company!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So good to hear that you’ve found your niche, Sharlynn. Don’t give up on the finding adult friends! My latest post is about that: https://yourrainforestmindbbwpc.wpcomstaging.com/2016/10/04/the-gifted-adults-guide-to-finding-friends/

  9. sara Avatar

    what I really would like to know is that if I’m so smart (IQ 158, XI – 5) then WHY can’t I find a way to repair all the damaged relationships I’ve been in?????

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hi Sara. It’s likely BECAUSE you are so smart, you have trouble repairing the relationships. That’s why it’s important that you understand the complexities of what it means to be “so smart.” Your intellect doesn’t necessarily give you the skills in relationships. And there can be confounding factors, like family dynamics, that make it confusing. If there’s a pattern of damaged relationships, you might benefit from seeing a counselor. More and more counselors are learning about giftedness.

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  13. wisebeyondherreach Avatar

    I just stumbled upon this site while looking for some advice on how to help my bright teen cultivate friendships…..this post just blew me away…..so perfectly expresses the things I want to tell her!
    It is wonderful to know this community exists and I am looking forward to reading more.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      And we’re looking forward to having you and hearing from you!

  14. Katharine Di Cerbo Avatar
    Katharine Di Cerbo

    “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.” Spot on! Haha.

    It reminds me of a story in a Susan Cain book where she talks about thinking summer camp was going to be a bunch of kids sitting around a fire reading books! Sigh, how nice that would be, huh?

    Lovely Post. Thank you for sharing. The one thing I will add is that I believe in my heart of hears that any two people can share in an emotional connection, even if one wants to play Candyland and the other wants to write poetry. It’s a skill that everyone should learn to remain feeling connected in this world.

    Thanks again!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for reading and sharing, Katharine. If you want to share more about how you create your emotional connections or if you have any suggestions for resources, we’d love to hear them. So important to find ways to connect.

  15. Merche Avatar

    “I have always been joyful, but it hurts so much to always be alone” sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t a real contradiction. I am searching for people to share my pleasure and emotions with.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I can see how it’s not a contradiction, Merche. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Merche Avatar

    Reading this from the Netherlands. I haven’t found a place to fit in yet. I am so lonely I usually feel like all hope is gone. Joining college (Dutch University) has never been a challenge at all. I have to slow down my way of thinking and explaining, most of the time I even have to defend my eidetic memory. I have always been joyful, but it hurts so much to always be alone. Most of all I miss a partner. It is my main question in life if there is a real connection between my empty social life and being smarter than the majority of my peers. I’ve tried to connect with older people ( in college, at work, whatsoever), but age does not necessarily make a big difference.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hi Merche. Do you know Noks Nauta? She lives in the Netherlands and is a researcher in giftedness in adults. You should contact her! Here’s her website: http://www.noksnauta.nl

  17. Trent Avatar

    I am a rainforest mind, I am extremely right brained, and can see patterns where others fail to. It gives a deeper understanding of everything, but also a burden of understanding complexities. Sometimes I feel empty though, like it’s hard to feel things. I make an effort to spend time with my new wife’s family/my family now, because the importance of human interaction is paramount. I don’t speak like this, but as you said, my mind is poetic, so I have to structure my life to be coherent. I don’t mind physical labor, because it distracts from my thoughts. I seem to be on an endless quest for information sometimes, that leads to.. that leads to.. and I wear myself out on my quest. Many of my struggles are more of a spiritual nature, because it is seemingly more important/has more permanence than material or physical things of this world. When I talk to my wife about my trade, or some other thought I am having, she just blurs me out. I literally see her eyes glaze over, and she’s like uh’huh… I have cut out LITERALLY EVERYONE in my life basically except family I feel obligated to talk to. It sucks. I don’t even know what side is up sometimes, I don’t sleep really until I pass out in the morning. I just gogogogogogo to slow my thoughts trying to catch my body up to them. If you know a long term solution to these issues I would welcome some feedback.

    1. KtCallsita Avatar

      Trent – You could be writing about my life. Although I have learned to embrace some of the emotionality finally – through lots of persuasion and advice that I needed to acknowledge the intense things I feel and not clobber them with an intellectual and logical straightjacket, but to include them in a mostly rational manner by allowing them access to the rest of me. Yeah, it’s not perfect. Isolation isn’t the solution, even if it is easier than dealing with or overwhelming everyone. You need to find a person, online or in real life that you can engage with. Then you need to modify your job so that you can utilize more of you. Your mind is screaming and while getting it to shut up by manual repetitive tasks is so entirely blissful, you also need a place to create, craft, and develop the ideas that are swirling through the vortex of your cranium. They won’t stop, and they are already preventing you from sleeping; because they are being denied their opportunity to have a presence in your daily existence. If you can’t find a job that lets those ideas out in a creative way, it has to become a hobby. Until my most recent job (which is highly demanding of many skills and processes) I would spend my nights filling in all the stuff I didn’t meet the needs for during the day. Creating, crafting, writing, designing, developing. I had a small blog as a way to get some of the ideas out and honestly I only published a small fraction of the things I wrote, because I just needed to get the ideas part way out to see they weren’t worth contributing to societies clutter. But then they were gone, they moved on and I could move on and there was less swirling and fussing and bothering and needing.

      I hope you find a release. You need one.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hi Trent. I hope that you can find solutions as you read my other posts. I address many of your issues. It can be so hard to find people who can stay with you while you share your thoughts. Also, for sleeping, for your body, there are herbal remedies that can help. Or a client just told me about magnesium at night that can help. And there are CDs at healthjourneys.com that help with relaxation and sleep. I have many clients who have trouble with sleep because their brains don’t slow down. (some say exercise helps) And I see that KtCallsita has some thoughts to share.

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  19. markvilhelm Avatar

    One thing I have been struggling with a lot lately is the creeping feeling that not only are many of my friends apathetic when they know I am feeling REALLY down — or are otherwise struggling — but that they do nothing to try to help me feel better because they secretly actually kind of LIKE it. Schadenfreude if you will: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude

    This is always the last possibility that I ever want to entertain, but sometimes it seems to slap me in the face and go: “Wake up! These a**holes hate it when you are there to show them up, make them feel less smart, draw attention to their lies and hypocrisies or otherwise make them feel inferior — regardless of whether that was your intention or not. Whenever you fail, they feel retribution.”

    Kind of explains the popularity of the internet meme that went around a few years ago: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

    It’s a fine idea. “Yeah, I AM surrounded by assholes!! No wonder I feel so shitty!!”

    But of course real life isn’t so simple. I don’t want to feel like my “friends” really wish me ill, but then again can it really be a coincidence that the ones who seem least empathetic to my difficulties are also those who have the least to gain by my success and the most to gain by my failures?

    Who else secretly feels like the people supposedly cheering them on may not actually be cheering so enthusiastically?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      This is a tough one, isn’t it, Mark. There are certainly cases of “friends” being jealous of the gifted person’s abilities. I hope you can find a real friend who will celebrate your strengths with you and be supportive when you’re down. Don’t give up!

      1.  Avatar

        Thank you. It really is a tough one, because of course thinking about it can get mighty close to crossing into “conspiracy theory” territory. Referring back to a previous post about bullying, knowing for sure whether we are being bullied (for being gifted or otherwise) is sometimes tough enough. But not knowing if people secretly revel in our misfortunes and failures, or perhaps even act in a way that might make our failures more likely — that’s a real mind bender.

        Trust is so important to people, ALL people, gifted and non-gifted alike. So it is really hard to think that those whom we believe wish us only the best might not actually be wishing such good things for us. This seems to be a big problem with being gifted; giftedness means we may also be very perceptive, for example detecting dishonesty or concealed malice in others, perceptions we really would rather not have and so instead often write off as coming from our imaginations.

    2. themonthebard Avatar

      I’m going to put in a plug for both therapy (NOT the drug sort), and a self-guided experiential-spiritual path (NOT religion). I was pushed into the former by the death of an infant daughter, and it surprised me to find that therapy opened a lot of doors inside myself that had nothing to do with the immediate trauma, and a lot to do with the childhood traumas expressed by many here. Therapy won’t take you very far, in my experience — it just helped me pull the nails out of a door that I’d hammered shut over the course of growing up. That, in turn, opened up a whole world of possibilities, and exploring that world is what I’m calling a self-guided experiential-spiritual path. That path takes you to a place where you aren’t as dependent on the opinions of others, and are more free to accept them as they are — kind, cruel, loving, hating, supportive, jealous. Some are toxic, and you get them out of your life. Some are allies you’ll keep for a lifetime.

      It’s a long journey. My first step down that road was at the age of twenty-nine, and I’ll turn fifty-nine this year. I have to say that it keeps getting better.

      1.  Avatar

        Oh I agree 100% so thank you. I am by no means out of the woods, and no doubt it is a LONG journey, (my journey being approximately the same as yours), but one of the biggest steps forward that I think I ever made was to begin to give certain dreaded thoughts , well, MORE thought. Serious thought. Sit-yourself-down-and-discuss-“worst case scenario”-thoughts such as “So what happens if you are all alone? Is it possible to live that way? If so, are there any positives to being alone?”

        Well, yes, turns out there are — though of course I forget from time to time ;). I won’t go into any details, but I once read a Zen book and the author said one common technique monks use is to openly, soberly contemplate death. I suppose this is to help one realize that if one sees that even the worst case scenarios may not be all bad, it makes other things more bearable.

  20. CC Avatar

    May I ask how these gifted children find belonging in society when placed with not-as-smart individuals who don’t always understand them?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It’s quite hard for many gifted children to feel like they belong, if they can’t find intellectual peers. If you click on the image at the end of my post, the link that says ‘relationships,’ you’ll find a list of posts on this topic, Most of them are writing about gifted children.

  21. Jessica Ivey Allen Avatar
    Jessica Ivey Allen

    Reblogged this on thelostword.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for the reblog, Jessica.

  22. pamelarichardson8 Avatar

    Hello Paula. This is the first time that I have read your blog, as I just discovered it through links on my Facebook page. WOW! Thank you so much for your insights – very helpful. I have felt so lonely for many years because I am quite different from my family somehow. I get so excited about a huge range of topics, and I love to share my knowledge with friends and family about things ranging from neurophysiology to theoretical physics to art history. But my two brothers just could not care less! However, I have managed to find one friend who has a similar enthusiasm for learning, and who is probably even smarter than me (I keep telling her that she is!). I will definitely read your blog in the future! I appreciated reading the comments too, to get some insight into the lives of other people. Thank you so much!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Glad you found us, Pamela. Welcome! (and thanks for your comment–I’ll look forward to hearing from you.)

  23. Malvi Avatar

    I do worry for my son.. He is 4 and sticks out like a sore thumb everywhere. I worry if he will ever find a true peer!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      With your help, he will! They’re out there; just harder to find.

  24. Angela Janecke Avatar
    Angela Janecke

    Loved this, especially about finding your tribe.

  25. Celi Trépanier Avatar
    Celi Trépanier

    “It’ll require time and effort. There may be crying” Yes. If there is anything I have learned on this journey for myself and helping my sons on their journey, it is that. It will take time and there will be crying, but you will come out on the other side! I think I repeat this daily to all three 😉

    Thanks for another inspiring post, Paula!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for reading, Celi. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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  27. frenchc1955 Avatar

    I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Here is the link: https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Charles. I’m honored! And so happy that you’re following my blog. I’ll get to answering your questions soon-ish.

      1. radiolizner Avatar

        I am looking forward to those answers, too!

  28. Dawn Greaud Avatar
    Dawn Greaud

    Thanks! I’ll look for the book.

  29. Gail Post, Ph.D. Avatar
    Gail Post, Ph.D.

    Beautifully written description of what so many gifted people feel – the differences, isolation, insecurity – and how to move toward self-acceptance. Your post is so validating and encouraging.

  30. jofreitag Avatar

    Thank you Paula for such an encouraging Rainforest Mind perspective! 🙂

  31. cindyjachrimo Avatar

    Great post and one I really needed today as I was feeling a little lonely and sorry for myself. I’ve felt different for much of my life and sometimes I forget to put myself out there.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing.

  32. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants Avatar
    Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Well said! It’s tough to find other rainforest beings, but they are indeed out there. I was lucky to marry one 🙂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks Natalie. That will be encouraging for others!

    2. Ro Avatar

      Very happy for you and your beloved, Natalie.
      I too was lucky enough to marry a man of rainforest mind. Though… add in his autistic spectrum disorder, my PTSD, our two abusive upbringings & ongoing issues with families of origin, my debilitating medical condition since age 28, discovery of an unknown about daughter (husbands) with serious emotional and behavioural issues… all whilst trying to safely bring up our younger daughter together, and on a single income – it’s a bit of a wild ride at times.
      That said, I suspect it’s the rainforest mind connection that keeps is together. It sure is nice to have somebody beside you who ‘gets it’ when life keeps throwing up challenging situations! We problem solve together, a lot. Little by little life improves 🙂

  33. Mark V Avatar
    Mark V

    With a Rain Forest Mind, when it comes to relationship problems:

    A] It’s always your fault.
    B] Due to ‘A’, it is always your responsibility to fix the problem.
    C] Due to ‘A’ and ‘B’, you may come to resent your role in a relationship and the unbalanced nature of it, and eventually give up.

    While the above is written somewhat with tongue in cheek, nevertheless there’s some truth to it.

    -‘A’ may be true because you are “too much” for the other person, (too intense, too energetic, too emotional, too hard to follow…etc), or on the flipside of the coin because you are too sensitive or have values or standards of conduct that are too high, so you come across as too reactionary and too highly strung .

    -‘B’ may be true because the other/s are often completely unaware there are any problems, or are baffled by your intense emotional reactions to things they find harmless or benign. So you feel responsible to explain yourself to hopefully get them to better understand in order to restore the peace.

    -‘C’ may be true because trying to explain yourself to people who never seem to get it can be absolutely draining. You take it on as your own failure because despite that rainforest mind you cannot find a way to get your point across, and because you have high standards you feel guilty for letting yourself become angry out of frustration, or for judging others negatively for simply not being able to put themselves in your shoes — but without a rainforest mind of their own, how could they?. So often the only choice you feel you have left is to withdraw or move on before an ugly feud develops.

    I hope that at least made some people nod or even laugh knowingly. Feel free to add your own thoughts or parameters to my list. 🙂 -Mark

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So, Mark, when are you going to start your own blog?? I’m guessing others are nodding and agreeing. Hopefully, some will comment here.

      1. Mark V Avatar
        Mark V

        Doh! I’ve overstepped my bounds again. See what I mean? You get excited about something, then you yap too much or too loudly and the next thing you know you’re stepping all over everyone else’s toes….

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          You weren’t overstepping, Mark! No! I just meant that you had a lot to say that was valuable. No toes were stepped on that I’m aware of!

          1. Mark V Avatar
            Mark V

            Ah so. Thank you. (Add “you are always paranoid that you are being overwhelming or imposing yourself” to the list. 😉 )

            I actually have started THREE blogs over the years, none of which I stuck to because my attention is always rapidly bouncing from one thing to the next.

    2. Dawn Greaud Avatar
      Dawn Greaud

      Wow! Thanks for spelling it all out. I feel a little less crazy. 😜 And:
      D] All of the above answers are correct!
      I’m living this everyday in my marriage and it is about to kill me! I wish I knew how to have peace and harmony. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Hopefully, you can find some peace, Dawn, reading some of the blog. Glad you feel “a little less crazy.”

    3. Dawn Greaud Avatar
      Dawn Greaud

      Ok, so how do you cope when this is happening within a marriage relationship? I’m so tired of not connecting with my spouse.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        There’s not a quick answer to that question, Dawn. As you might imagine, it’s complicated. But I do know of a good book for couples that was recently published. It’s by Linda Carroll and titled Love Cycles. It might help. (and I’ll think about how I might write a post on the topic of couples)

    4. KtCallsita Avatar

      Thank you, Mark. Your list really nails a lot. Trying to keep the peace, balancing my neediness in relationships (with friends and my husband – who I’m also fortunate enough to have found a fellow rainforest minded partner) while getting some benefits from the interactions and moving beyond “how’s the weather” type interactions. I know loneliness has been a big personal issue for me this spring/summer. So much so that I’m struggling to find the energy to invest in new story lines, to meet new fictional characters. I hope this too is a season and it will pass, but I’ve traced the reluctance I feel to the loneliness of not having local friends and the exhaustion of trying meet new people, that I have so little left, even for books.

    5. Aslaug Avatar

      I did nod and laugh 🙂 Although I do believe there are more ways to adapt.

      *You hide your rainforest mind. After all, people always resent you for being so “smart and clever”. Maybe you’re scared to do something with “your potential” (scary thought, what if you’re not good enough?). You constantly seek approval and canæt make decisions on your own, being dependant on your partner, who may or may not feel you’re “too clingy”.

      *You’re perfect. You’re so smart and clever nothing could possibly EVER be your fault.

      *You’ve been hurt so many times your trust in others are broken, and you feel unable to connect to anyone. Which you feel is fine, because everytime your mind comes close to think about trusting someone it recoils. Being alone suits you just fine.

      I wouldn’t call this “well-adapted” by any means, and the last one can be really tough. It’s easy to take the blame (being so smart and all), but it’s also easy to learn other mal-adaptive strategies to dealing with others.

  34. themonthebard Avatar

    Wish you’d been blogging when I was raising my kids. Wish you’d been blogging when I was a kid. Of course, there was no Internet back then.

    Forwarded a link to my step-son and his wife: they’re rainforesty themselves, and have two off-the-chart rain forests on their hands — the oldest is just starting to mix it up with the educational bulldozers.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Appreciate your forwarding the link. They’ll need support to get through the “educational bulldozers.”

  35. Changes of Man

    […] today, there was an interesting post over at Your Rainforest Mind that really reminded me of my childhood and, really, most of my life.  I was pretty much a loner […]

  36. frenchc1955 Avatar

    Thank you for a wonderful post! I have never thought of my mind as a rainforest mind, and it fits perfectly. Again, thank you!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for following!

  37. Sals Avatar

    Amazing help for my good friend whom I have sent this link. Thank you.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for passing it on.

  38. lauralynnwalsh Avatar

    One way I have found to “find [my] tribe” is to seek out MeetUp groups that are doing things in my interest areas. It may take a few false starts – some MeetUps aren’t quite right – but when you do find a few people who share an interest, it can be fun.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Great idea, Lauralynn. Thanks.

  39. Justin Fisher Avatar
    Justin Fisher

    35 years ago I met a woman who was as smart as I am, and now we’ve been married for 34 years. It can happen!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for the message of hope, Justin!

  40. Kristi Avatar

    Yes, again, your posts are so reassuring. My husband, 2 kids and I are on an extended-family vacation with my six siblings and their families — we’re the only “rain-forest” folks in the crowd — everyone else is very bright but so . . . not-sensitive, so normal, so practical, not-odd. It’s a challenge! I’m glad that the 4 of us have each other. My husband and I spent most of our lives feeling different than most other people (we married late / were lonely a long time); at least our kids won’t have that experience!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It’s so helpful when you find a rainforest-y partner. Way to go, Kristi!

  41. J Avatar

    I love this post! And, moreso, I love that you are here, doing what you are doing, and sharing your thoughts with people like me. SO grateful to you for showing us that there is an “us”, even if we seldom find each other in person.
    Thank you, Paula!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So happy to be able to do this, J.

  42. KtCallsita Avatar

    For myself and my children, this has been the absolute hardest part of our move last fall. We still are looking for local people. Sure we still have online friends, but the lack of prominent academia in this much larger town has made the search so much harder! And the classes my children attend so much more normal/average/generic/stereotyped – I really don’t know what word I’m looking for, but not a group of kids, rainforest-minded or not, that thrive on academic challenges and being engaged in school. I miss that, I miss the moms that felt that education is just so important that we had in our little college town.

    It boggles my mind, the people here. The normal everyday happy everywhere kind of people that I see. I don’t understand them anymore. And as much as I want friends here, friends that aren’t part of my program (although the ones in my program tend to be amazing) I just am exhausted to try to relate to this cross-section of life right now.

    Thank you for reminding me that I need to make myself go out and be visible, to find those people in this strange sea of faces.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I hope you find someone soon. It can be so hard to feel so alone. In the meantime, we’re sending our love!

  43.  Avatar

    I too have had the experience of others not being able to keep up with me, or of being told to hold back and let someone else have some of the findings. And I realized that I can do this. I can wait and let someone else find part of the puzzle, step back and let someone else come to the answer for the group. For me this takes humility. Not humiliation.

    For me, it can be very rewarding to allow someone else to catch up with me. While I am waiting for them, what can I do? I can give my lovely rain forest mind a gentle watering by watching my breath flow. I can mentally step back and look at the whole picture of us, as a team, working together.

    As a kid I was so eager, I didn’t get this. I was afraid to be bored. Now, I take those moments of “waiting” and reframe them as “grace.” I get to have moments of awareness to savor as I wait in the grocery store line. I can look at the trees on the street while waiting in traffic — I am fortunate enough to live in a place where there *are* trees on the streets. I have music on in my car, but it could be a tape of someone I want to listen to and can’t make time for at home. Just a few minutes of that can be restorative to me.

    It took a crushing illness for several months for me to learn how to be alone, mostly because I could not tolerate noise and light. Today, 26 years later, I am *never* lonely. Well hardly ever. 🙂 I learned how to be alone and be okay with it. It took a leap of faith to get there, and a lot of practice. But then, anything worth learning requires practice.

    So those moments of “alone” time? They are my continuing education units! And I get them for free!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas. “Waiting” is a common complaint. Finding “grace” while waiting. Ahhhh. I might just have to write a post about this from all of these lovely comments. Thank you.

    2. cruthirds777 Avatar

      It sounds like you have embraced gratitude in your life. Congratulations! Seeing the beauty in moments that are lost to most is a gift, and part of giftedness–seeing what most do not. 🙂 I call these the moments between, or zen moments. Like in The Matrix, there is no spoon.

      1. cruthirds777 Avatar

        I wrote about this here: There is no busy but this comes from the opposite of “waiting”.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Hi cruthirds777. You might want to check the link. It doesn’t go to your writing but links back to this post.

          1. cruthirds777 Avatar

            http://wp.me/p4wHTt-aE 😀

  44. unnahbar Avatar

    I know this feeling, being left out, being told that I was too fast/smart/whatever – and I can remember how much that hurt when I was small. Now, it doesn’t hurt that much. I’ve learned a lot about myself, I learned to slowly accept the way I am and I also know people who think in a similar way, who maybe wouldn’t call themselves gifted but I think they are – people who simply understand and I love them a lot. I’m glad I have them – so it actually is possible to find people out there who understand and who think and work in the same velocity as you do.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m sure readers will appreciate your sharing your experience finding like minds–who work at your ‘velocity.” Thanks unnahbar.

  45. Ro Avatar

    I love love love this! You hit the nail on the head Paula. ‘There may be crying’ – made me laugh. True though.
    What I’ve learned lately is this; It starts with myself. I’ve got to practice being kind to myself, to have patience with myself… that’s how I can finally find out who I am. Without self compassion, self reflection is just too terrifying and abusive.

    Thank you for another bit of light showing the way, Paula.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ro. Good to hear from you.

  46. the glimmering girl Avatar
    the glimmering girl

    Oh yes, well, hello. Get out of my head! Not really. It’s so reassuring to read these words and hope I can find others who share this experience.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Keep glimmering.

  47. Aslaug Avatar

    Just yesterday I was told by a colleague: “It’s impossible to like you, you’re too smart!” It was said jokingly, as I had just finished some task in days that he had spent weeks working on. I thought we got along great but now I am not so sure. It’s not like I go around telling people I’m smart, I just get things done. After years of teachers telling me to slow down and let others “catch up” and/or “don’t finish that, let someone else be the first to raise their hand”, I started to get anxiety for doing something “too quickly” or even working with something of my own. What if someone else wanted to do what I did and I did it better? Then it would be my fault if they felt bad. And people could feel bad for a lot of stuff, it would always be my fault, as I should have prevented it (because I was “so smart”). It was exhausting always taking care of others’ need before my own. I developed trust issues (if anyone is talking to you, they want something from you and will ditch you afterwars, or just lie straight to your face), and that really didn’t help me getting friends.

    Luckily I met someone two years ago who showed me how to trust people and enjoy the company of others, and the last years – with lots of hard work – I’ve done some real progress with both my anxiety and trust issues, there really are like-minded people out there! Just too bad they’re sometimes hard to find and easy to spook.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing your example. I’m sure other readers will relate. I like that: “hard to find and easy to spook.” Yes.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You raise many ideas here that are important. You may see them come up in a future blog!

      1. Aslaug Avatar

        Happy to share! There are too many ways to adapt to a bad envinronment, and rainforest people are quick learners. To top it off we remember as well.

  48. Sleepymama78 Avatar

    What about those of us (are there any others?) who feel lost and lonely in the middle? Who are as intimidated by the brighter stars as we are impatient with the dimmer ones? Who read Paula’s words week after week and think, “well, maybe I fit here”…but then read the comments and feel, “nope, can’t run with this crowd either”…? Who feel too bright for the average kids yet too dim for the smart ones? What do you have for this type of lonely mind and heart?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I would say that many many of the readers here would say exactly what you’re saying. I’m not sure what you’re reading in the comments that makes you feel like you don’t fit but I assure you, most of the rainforest-minded that I know struggle with LOTS of self-doubt. Hopefully some of them will read your comment and respond. If what I’m writing resonates with you, BELIEVE IT. You belong here.

    2. Tanya Avatar

      I just pick and choose the stuff that’s helpful to me. And to be blunt, I’m grateful for the things that aren’t hard for me (or my kids), that I know are hard for others (I don’t want to denigrate the struggles of others when I say that).

      At a practical level, I think most of us have areas where we see ourselves and our experiences very closely reflected in these articles, and others that are less relevant. But I still feel, and think I am, less intelligent than many here, and that’s okay. I think that’s one of the big positives of an online environment, that we can choose what is helpful to each of us and leave the rest, but it also makes it hard because we don’t have a complete picture of other peoples’ lives and so sometimes we (I) fill in the blanks in a more polished, graceful way than most anybody’s real life could be.

    3. Antarmukhi Avatar

      Sleepymama78, I can resonate very well with what you say. You are not alone, most of us here are trying to find that unique place we fit in & that internal balance where things feel fine, as fine as can be..
      Hope this helps you feel a bit less alone..

  49. Margo Fontijne Avatar
    Margo Fontijne

    Wow, and again a new, hopeful writing…. For myself, for my children. This is – again – just soooo true…. Thank you so much, it’s helping me a lot. Margo Fontijne Amsterdam

    Op 1 jul. 2015, om 15:05 heeft Your Rainforest Mind het volgende geschreven:

    > >

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Margo. It’s exciting to know that you’re reading this in Amsterdam!

  50. singlemoeder Avatar

    of all your excellent blogs I love this one the most. This is so how it is. Thank you so much Paula!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Glad you like it. Thanks for following and commenting. Good to hear from you.

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