Don’t Give Up On Yourself And Your Rainforest Mind

photo courtesy of Nadim Merrikh, Unsplash

Don’t quit. Don’t stop striving. Don’t stop growing. Don’t stop believing.

Don’t give up on yourself.

Even if you grew up in a family of chainsaws. Even if you have been told over and over and over that you’re too sensitive, too dramatic, too smart, too quiet, too noisy, or too weird. Even if you think you’re too old or too young or too whatever. Even if you’re overwhelmed by politics or racism or natural disasters or anxiety or depression or physical disabilities. Even if you procrastinate. Even if you’ve changed jobs multiple times and never learned how to build rocketships and send them to the international space station. Even if your hair is curly and free range. Even if you don’t look like George Clooney or Beyoncé.

Even if you haven’t partnered with the person of your dreams and you don’t have perfect, high achieving children. Even if you feel like too much and not enough at the same time. Even if you’re post-menopausal. Even if you’re grieving for the planet and are anxious about the future. Even if you’re gluten-free. Even if you can’t leave your home. Even if you don’t have a home. Even if you haven’t renovated the school system. Even if you didn’t go to Harvard. Even if you did go to Harvard. Even if your curiosity has been misinterpreted as arrogance and know-it-all-ness. Even if you weren’t popular in high school. Even if you can’t decide what to eat for breakfast. Even if you can’t afford psychotherapy. Even if you’ve been in psychotherapy for years. Even if you don’t speak seven languages fluently. Even if you’re seen as extremely successful in your field and yet you still feel bereft and lonely. Even if you haven’t saved the world. Yet.

Don’t stop believing.

You never know. You could be a late bloomer. You could start tango dancing at 47. You might become a blogger at 62. You might get your first book published at 64. You could discover that people around the world love and admire you. You could be helping smart, sensitive people self-actualize and find their purpose(s). You could finally accept and love your curly free-range hair.

You could finally know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that. you. are. gifted.


To my bloggEEs: I am so inspired by all of you and so grateful for our community. Let us know your thoughts, questions, and reactions to this post. Your comments add so much! And thank you for being here. This post is part of a blog hop from the amazing site For more posts on the topic: Things I Wish I Knew Back Then, click on the image below. And for those of you who are parents of gifted children, here’s a little treat. My colleague, Tina Harlow, edited this eBook that has lots of great advice from professionals (including me!) in an easy-to-read format. It’s available free to download.

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.

38 responses to “Don’t Give Up On Yourself And Your Rainforest Mind”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Giannina Lilian Avatar
    Giannina Lilian

    Second article I read from you, Paula (shared in spanish on a facebook page for gifteds).
    And already feeling like you said “love and admire you”.
    You were talking about you!
    Thank you very, very much.
    I feel finding myself in this world for this :O

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m so glad you’re here, Giannina. Let us know the Facebook page that you’re talking about. I’m guessing there are some Spanish speakers here that would love to find it!

  2. Dorothy Avatar

    How beautiful to read all of the comments! Thanks to everyone for sharing. It is so helpful to “hear.” That alone is a great gift.

    Yes, I also read this at a really opportune moment and was deeply touched as it hit just the right chord while simultaneously inspiring hope. Thanks Paula for illuminating this pattern in such a vivid, heartfelt, and down-to-earth way. Very precious. As always, with gratitude for your beautiful expression and gracious assistance with this journey.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, Dorothy, thank you for letting me know.

  3. Heather E Birt Avatar
    Heather E Birt

    Love, love, love you Paula – and your curly free-range hair! 🙂 Your words always remind me I have kindred spirits, and all is well.

  4. Sarah Avatar

    I’ve said this a few times before and it’s true again today. How do you do it? Thank you for once again providing meaning and support. At the right time.

  5. wisebeyondherreach Avatar

    Uncanny! What you write is always perfectly on target for the moment I am in…thank you Paula : )

  6. Becca Perry Avatar
    Becca Perry

    I just got back from the Gifted Women’s Symposium in Denver (thank you Paula!). One thing I got in touch with there is how much I was “pruned” by my parents to only feed my intellectual gifts (mostly math and science). They cut me off from dancing, art, and music because it was a “distraction”. Because I didn’t show virtuoso talent at those things before even having training. They didn’t consider those things to be “realistic” career paths, so they kept refocusing me on academics.

    I am recommitting myself, at 51, to nurturing/exploring my talents in those areas. I need to keep telling myself it’s OK to sound awful or be out of shape for a while. Everyone starts somewhere. I have a viola I haven’t played in years, and keep meaning to, but I haven’t wanted to “inflict” my practicing on my husband. I had a vulnerable conversation with him about it, and he was appalled that I thought it would bother him. One more excuse in the trash bin!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It was lovely to see you, Becca. I’m so glad you benefitted from the day. Good that you talked to your husband. Go for it, Becca!

    2. Carina Avatar

      WOW, Becca! I got the same message from my parents. I was good at English and Spanish, therefore my career had to relate to this. Predictably, I chose translation. I did like it, mind you, but I wonder if I would have still chosen it if it hadn’t been for all the subtle and not-so-subtle messages I received over the years.
      But we still have time, so let’s start over! 🙂

  7. Laura (Perfectly Mixed) Avatar
    Laura (Perfectly Mixed)

    Thanks, I need this.

  8. Maureen Helen Avatar
    Maureen Helen

    Began a PhD when I retired at 65, eloped at 69, first book published at 70, began blogging at 75…and still saying, I haven’t done (whatever), YET at 80. So good to have affirmation from you that this is OK, not weird, Paula. Love reading your posts.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh my goodness, Maureen. You are awesome!!

  9. 3C Style Avatar
    3C Style

    Awesome Paula!

  10. Carina Avatar

    You do have a great gift of expression. I always enjoy your posts, not only because of the content (which describes me to a tee 90% of the time!), but I also find the way you combine the words and phrasing very pleasing. They read like poems in prose style.

    And, incidentally, you do speak to my heart AGAIN. I’ve been meaning to write a book since I was 7. I’m 40. The story that’s on my mind has been developing over the course of 20 years (not exaggerating) but I’m terrified, petrified, panicked (and all the other synonyms of fear you can find!) to get a single word on paper. And lately I seem to be meeting people who share their book writing experiences, as if God was reminding me of something pending, right? 😉

    I am so glad you bloomed, even if “late”. Who’s to say it’s late or early anyway? If you think about it, all animals and plants have different growth patterns. Why should humans be different? Some people display their brighter colors in youth, and then unfortunately as time goes by they devolve instead of growing. Others grow slowly and are delightful to be around in their senior years. My grandparents at 80 were amazing people. There is the spark of youth when we don’t lose our childlike curiosity and desire to keep learning and helping others in their journeys.

    I am very, very happy to have met you!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I appreciate reading your comments on my writing, Carina. I’m so happy to have found a writing style that fits me and that resonates with others. I guess this means you’ve gotta start writing that book…today! 🙂

  11. Gail Post, Ph.D. Avatar
    Gail Post, Ph.D.

    Even if… Love this concept. So many “even ifs” we all struggle with. Great reminders.

  12. skpicard Avatar

    Well put Paula! Even if…this list really resonates. Thank-you for putting it into words.

  13. lauralynnwalsh Avatar

    Even if you wrote your very first song when you were 58 and now you have the audacity to keep on writing music. Even if no one will ever hear your two musicals performed. Even if you still are just “playing around”. Even if you think you aren’t good enough.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yep! Even if… Thank you lauralynnwalsh!

  14. navanconsultation Avatar

    Dear, Dear, Paula, You nailed it! Your litany of “evens” read as a heartfelt anthem of giftedness for gifted individuals, children, adults, and elders. You.are.SO.gifted! Thank you!, Like Sally, I needed to read this today. <3

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Joy. I’m heading to the blog hop to read your post!

  15. rattiesforeverworldpresscom Avatar

    Reblogged this on Rattiesforeverworldpresscom.

  16. Sally Motley Avatar
    Sally Motley

    Thank you, I needed to read this today. So tired.

  17. Carol Avatar

    Really really really needed this today….thank you!!

  18.  Avatar

    I keep meaning to leave a message every time I read your blog… today I am doing it! For this, and all the others – thank you for keeping me sane! Spot on, yet again. Paula, you are fab : )

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It’s never too late to leave a comment. Appreciate it, Anonymous!

  19. artyplantsman Avatar

    Reblogged this on The Arty Plantsman and commented:
    Another wonderful post from Paula!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for the reblog! 🙂

  20. artyplantsman Avatar

    Too right! Brilliant post Paula 🙂

  21. Devon Avatar

    I. get. it. It took me quite a while to see it (38 years) and then another while to accept it (2 years). For some reasons() the tears still well in my eyes when i acknowledge it. But I get it. I am gifted. It is what it is, neither good nor bad. In my acceptance of myself and in relinquishing the chainsaw family, I have found that I am finally done looking for ‘my tribe’ or a surrogate family and have settled for connecting with my soul mate… just one. Would you help me Paula? Would you close your eyes for a moment and ask for my beloved to make himself available and come to me now. I really am done with all the aloneness. Don’t worry, its not all on you. In true style I am tackling this from all angles and one is asking every single powerful person I know to take a moment and send him a message to come now… please.

    Much love for all your wisdom and compassion x

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Great idea, Devon. And working it “from all angles” is important, too!

  22. Donna Avatar

    Thank you, Paula. I was feeling quite low this morning about my perceived lack of achievement, and feeling terminally unheard, un-listened to. This was just what I needed to read, to regain hope. Thanks again!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m so glad I can help, Donna!

  23. Single Moeder Avatar
    Single Moeder

    it is amazing and somewhat creepy that every post you share seems to be how I feel at that moment… I am actually giving up for many reasons you mention in this post. I do not see solutions. By reading your post, I have hope again. Thank you so much Paula. You are my hero!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Keep up the hope! (I know…I’m in your head…:))

  24. helenjnoble Avatar

    Reblogged this on helenjnoble and commented:
    I just love this…Never give up!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Helen!

%d bloggers like this: