Now Would Be A Great Time To Start Appreciating Super Smart People

photo courtesy of Dave, Unsplash

Today I am sending love and light to all of the super smart people in the world. We need our visionaries, empaths, scientists, healers, researchers, seekers, philosophers, perfectionists, intuitives, and overthinkers, now more than ever. Don’t you agree? We need the people who stand up for justice, honesty, and integrity. Who can compassionately and intelligently articulate the complex challenges and opportunities of our times. The artists and journalists who seek out and speak the truth. The kind, sensitive souls who strive to create a better world. 

Now would be a great time to start appreciating these humans. 

But I don’t have to convince you. You are aching to find them and experience their brilliance. Because. You are lonely. You are one of these super smart people. We might even say you are gifted, although I know you still feel awkward using that word. So, I am sending love and light to you. Because, at the very least, we need you to start appreciating yourself. To see who you really are. To identify why you struggle. To allow yourself to love your depth, sensitivity, and your extraordinarily active, fascinating mind.

It would be a good place to start.

As you may know, I am a big believer in introspection. It is one of my favorite pastimes. Facing your fears and doubts. Understanding the roots of your despair and anxiety. Gaining clarity about how your gifted mind works so that you stop misdiagnosing and misunderstanding yourself.

Many of the rainforest-minded souls I meet have been ridiculed or rejected because of their layers of complexities. Your passions for learning, books, research, libraries, bookstores, meaning, purpose, justice, and knowledge. For starters. Maybe you were the child who was rejected for their questioning, effervescent curiosity. And now you are the adult who feels guilty and confused because you can master most things you try but have not found a career path that is satisfying or a college curriculum that feeds your soul. 

And then, to make matters even more complicated, many of you grew up in homes that were neglectful or abusive. You were not safe in your own home. And, to cope, you may now minimize the impact or explain how others had it so much worse. Perhaps, you have been told you should just put all of that in the past and move on. After all, aren’t you so smart? Can’t you think your way out of it? 

Ugh. It’s just not that simple.

Of course, I have written a lot about the benefits of psychotherapy. You can find some of the posts here.

And now, now that we are in a pandemic, you may feel like you are back in trauma territory. You may feel those fears, doubts, despair, and anxiety rising up all around you, and in you. An event like this, in itself, is frightening and disturbing for many reasons. But it can also trigger old unconscious memories of being out of control, unsafe, and threatened. 

You may feel extra hypervigilant, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

What, then, can you do?

Well, it depends on your circumstances. You may only have the energy and resources for basic survival strategies right now. If that is the case, I am sending you extra love.

If you can do more, here are some ideas:

Give yourself permission to be introspective. To be deeply curious and to investigate your own patterns and family history. Journal. Do art. Try Soul Collage. Read. Rest. Develop your spirituality. Deepen your connection to Nature and the larger, loving, invisible world. Trust the guidance you find there.

You may have heard about the.holistic.psychologist on Instagram. She does a fine job explaining the way childhood experiences influence your sense of self and she provides tools for her community of #selfhealers. You might also look for a therapist in your town through the Psychology Today therapist directory

And, finally, send love and light and appreciation to all of the super smart people in the world.

One of them looks a lot like you.


To my bloggEEs: How are you managing during this pandemic? I hope you are staying safe, healthy, and employed. Let us know where you are in the world and what it is like. What are the ways you are coping and finding hope and meaning? Are you noticing old anxieties resurfacing? What ways are you allowing yourself to be introspective? How are you taking care of yourself? How are you getting help? Your comments make my blog so much richer. 

And, by the way, writing to you is surely sustaining me right now. In addition to my chenille emotional support animal sweater, I have you. Thank you so very much for being here.












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.

35 responses to “Now Would Be A Great Time To Start Appreciating Super Smart People”

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  1. renovatio06 Avatar

    P.S. That little paragraph alone is proof enough for me of her being “one of us”: “Payne-Gaposchkin died in Cambridge in 1979. Near the end of her life, she wrote “Young people, especially young women, often ask me for advice. Here it is, valeat quantum. Do not undertake a scientific career in quest of fame or money. There are easier and better ways to reach them. Undertake it only if nothing else will satisfy you; for nothing else is probably what you will receive. Your reward will be the widening of the horizon as you climb. And if you achieve that reward you will ask no other.” What an inspiring person! (like you are as well)

  2. renovatio06 Avatar

    You nailed it, as usual! B.t.w. and on a – not too remote – side note: Anyone familiar with her? Just found a female role model to further the gender role transformation:

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, renovatio06. She looks pretty amazing!

  3. M2D15: Leading while Gifted (Leadership V) | joycyclingchicks

    […] sensitive, curious, and introspective (among so many other traits). Two articles, one from 2017 and one current, showed up (coincidentally?) in my Facebook news feed today that paint vivid pictures of gifted […]

  4. Dr. Dad Avatar
    Dr. Dad

    I think I could benefit from psychotherapy, but I’m unlikely ever to get it. I went to a few different psychiatrists long ago, when the medical model was a bit different than it is now. I thought them all simple-minded. I would always see where their questions were headed and get really bored by it. It’s preferable to interact with someone who only needs to see a little bit of me than to attempt to spend the time to really explain myself to someone whose mind doesn’t work fast enough.

    I get my meds through a nurse practitioner now. I like him a lot better than I liked them. He doesn’t have to pretend to understand me, so he doesn’t. He’s just a nice guy who helps how he can, like a contractor for my mind.

    You can specify all the different types of jargon you want to when you do a search for a therapist. You can specify issue, sexuality, gender, faith, ethnicity… There are therapists who specialize in intellectual disability. Therapists who specialize in intellectual hyper-ability? Not so much. I’m better off reading and trying to understand myself informally than wasting my time again dragging some well-trained dullard through my thought processes.

    I stumbled upon a website you’ve contributed to, and might like to promote more: Great reading there.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Unfortunately, Dr. Dad, it can be hard to find a bright enough therapist, so I understand your plight. There is a list of practitioners on this site. They are screened at least for some knowledge of giftedness. But the higher you are on the gifted spectrum, the harder it is to find someone who can keep up with you and hold a large enough container. I’m glad you found and liked Jessie Mannisto writes in-depth articles on gifted topics. You might look for her interview of P. Susan Jackson. Sue works with profoundly gifted kids.

  5. Liz Avatar

    Hard to manage my rising misanthropism in these times. I am so frustrated with stupidity, with the lack of self-awareness, with total self-absorption, with the misguided belief in the money Gods, trying to convince their constituents they can eat money, with pathological incapacity for empathy and compassion, with moral people witnessing immoral acts but not doing anything about it lest they lose something in the process. Too tired of battling narcissistic leaders and their circling “murder” of sycophants to step into the breach, do what’s right – or at the very least, redirect energy en-masse from “the dark side” and into the light. I have a smidge of the guilts and am only on the precipice of allowing myself some introspection time. Perhaps after a while I might find my place of peaceful enjoyment… or else continue my whimsy – a search for my lost spaceship. Musings over – back to (sur)real life.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for this, Liz. I’m looking for my lost spaceship, too. 🙂

    2. Van Avatar

      Liz, have you ever read Kipling’s poem “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”? Your comment made me think of it.
      At the end, it goes:

      “…Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

      The full poem:

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you, Van. Good to hear from you.

  6. Camila Avatar

    it is impossible for me to read this blog and not feel better, sending love by telepathy, Paula!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Love back to you, Camila!

  7. MikeysMa Avatar

    I’m in Utah and we are beginning to open up. Through this process, I’ve been hyper aware that I am not struggling with the pandemic in all the typical ways; both my husband and I still have jobs, I’m very used to being home with my kids (and they’re able to self-navigate their schooling), my husband and I very much enjoy each other’s company, and I’m an introvert which makes me not crave interaction as much as my extroverted counterparts. Still, I’ve had heightened anxiety and haven’t figured out why, since I’m seemingly doing just fine. I attributed it to the fact that the world is in disarray and that I’m just empathetic to what others are experiencing, but it has felt like it may be so much more than that. Well, after reading this blog I think I have figured it out. The world IS in disarray and, whether I think so or not, my life is as well. Yes, I am doing well, comparatively, but there is a lot of change and I am definitely NOT in control. And I did have a bad childhood. It was your typical abusive-home-turned-cold-foster-home nutshell and I have only recently been able to admit that though I’ve been able to overcome it by creating a stable life for myself, that it has always—and will always—affect me. And your idea that this out-of-control time we’re living in might trigger some deep, inherent fear seems likely. So whether I believe I’m doing fine or not, the truth is that my life HAS been upended, the future IS uncertain, and in the smallest corner of my mind (where it is safe) I HAVE had to face the fact that we are all wildly out of control while living on this insignificant spinning ball. So insignificant that if we were all to perish tomorrow in the most violent of ways, it wouldn’t make even the slightest dent in the galaxy’s history. And I guess that can be a bit anxiety-inducing for anyone, especially someone with a—while deeply-hidden—still fragile core. Maybe it is a good time to speak with someone.

    Anyway…we can just file that under “Thoughts I Have at 4 am”. 😂

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I am definitely seeing that this virus is triggering past trauma so, yes, MikeysMa, could be a good time for some counseling.

  8. unschooling NL Avatar
    unschooling NL

    thank you for this post, it gives me support and some healing too. As a single parent losing work and becoming invisible so it seems, it gives lots of feelings of unworthiness, unwantedness. I see what you say, for me it all points in the direction of hermit life. That seems a perfect place for me to be. I have been working online for so long, working so hard… and did not manage to make a living, because, its all free, online stuff, right. Also, I write. A lot. It does not reach people. All I do, seems pointless, and stays invisible. Confirming over and over it is pointless. On top of that, after trying a million things helping others, contributing to society, some worked, most did not, it is backfired now as, see, nothing you do is successful. While I cannot help it there is pandemic going on… or that people are not ready to see what I mean or they run because it is too hard for them … all of it is so overwhelming…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sending you big hugs, unschooling NL. <3

  9. Mark V Avatar
    Mark V

    Yes, now would be a great time to start appreciating super smart people. But yesterday was also a great time, as was last year, as was the last century…

    I am weathering this pandemic alone in a tiny downtown apartment, trying to get by on criminally inadequate disability benefits. The government I depend on for those benefits, along with many other governments around the world, is acting in a way that can only be described as insane.

    For many years I have been anxiously expecting something catastrophic like this to happen, so I was working my a$$ off to try to turn things around so I’d be far less vulnerable when it did. But I didn’t make it. Talk about traumatizing.

    I am not in this position despite being super smart. I am in this position BECAUSE I am super smart. A part of me has known this forever. And a part of me has always been angry knowing that few others knew it too.

    This pandemic is ripping away the thin veil of a society that was already crumbling in full view of those of us who did not have the luxury of looking away. Seeing how many people are actively hostile to super smart people – the doctors and nurses, the scientists, the journalists, the artists and musicians and other creative freaks, and the ones who know this thing is far from over and are desperately trying to make things better – is heartbreaking but not at all shocking.

    The pandemic is now forcing many more of us to look at the many massive faults in our society and how it treats everything – people, animals, plants, entire ecosystems, even outer space – as mere commodities to be exploited and eventually tossed away.

    But pandemics have also historically been times of great change. So maybe now would be a great time to start asking ourselves what kind of post-pandemic society we want to create. How about a society where super smart people would feel more at home and less traumatized?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds good, Mark. Thanks! Take good care of youself.

  10. cmd1122 Avatar

    Ufff…crazy times we are in, very exhausting times. I am less affected than so many people (I am able to work from home, but worried about what funding for the programs I manage might be like depending on how things go with the virus until there is a cure). Trying to lead a small team at work is tricky as I don’t feel as inspired as I usually would.
    My roomie left temporarily due to the virus (7 weeks ago), so it is just my furry friend Mocha and I–but I am SO glad that I adopted her when I did (just realized–3 months today!).
    LOTS of grief for what is happening in the world, especially for friends in Peru who are working to help the most vulnerable.
    The loneliness is real and that allows for a lot of self-doubt. Tasks have been taking longer than they should and my eyes are so tired of screens so I don’t feel like watching movies.
    Making music (learning more on the cello, and pulled out my violin for the first time in a while yesterday), Norah Jones mini concerts, Modern Love (The Podcast), lots of cooking, a bit of journaling, and starting a balcony garden are great, as are video calls with friends far away. I’ve been doing some ‘distanced’ walks which are allowed here. Pulled out my bike and will try to add that in without replacing yoga (my back sure needs it).
    Just trying to make the days not ‘blend into one’.
    There have been incredible acts of kindness happening, which is beautiful, and I’m excited to be part of forming a new and more just society, but it is hard to do that when I am so tired, so trying to prioritize self-care.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes to prioritizing self-care right now, cmd1122. Glad you have your Mocha! Good to hear from you. I think lots of RFMs are wanting to form a new and more just society. Here’s to that!

    2. Someti Avatar

      Your comments always end up making me smile at the end, cmd1122 🙂
      Keep making music and take care

  11. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    And dears, if you haven’t seen it yet, look for John Krasinski with Some Good News on Youtube.

  12. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    Here’s a beautiful hopeful video sent to me from a dear friend. Worth watching!

  13. lingvoweb Avatar

    I’m a nurse in Spain. I have been moved from my usual position to support nursing homes, which are being very affected by covid19.
    My levels of anxiety have rocketted. I’m just so scared to make a mistake at work or to infect my neighbours. I’m worried for my relatives, friends and collegues. I feel absolut hatred towards the authorities, I think they are doing a horrible job.
    I’m awfuly scared to infect my mum when I buy her groceries as her health isn’t great.
    I think I’m not doing my best as I’m exhausted. This wrecks me, and I feel guilty whenever I’m not trying to learn more about covid19.
    The protocols we use at work are confusing, even contradictory and, most of the time, obsolete. This really stresses me out.
    I know that sport can help me, but most of the time I’m too tired for it.
    I try not to drink, I never had problems with it but I know how much I crave for a fast way to disconnect.
    I try to play cello, I think that this is the only thing that can help me just now. Although most of the time I don’t feel like playing, I’m not that good anyway.
    I’m not scared of getting infected as I already passed it. But I feel a terrible fear towards this virus. It makes no sense, the way it can affect people in so many different ways. We still don’t know enough about it.
    I wish I could quit my job just now, not very hero-like. I know that this is the thing that is bringing me back to anxiety or even depression. But I just can’t quit. True that I’m planning to study computer science and forget about nursing, but only when this is over. Isn’t that the right thing to do?

    But the thing that keeps me me going is seeing my collegues working. The ones on the first line. They are doing their best all the time, they aren’t scared and they are very supportive. They care.
    I think that never before in my life I found myself admiring so many people.
    I’m absolutely defeated. Don’t know if I’m anything close to a RFM. If you’ve read all this senseless drama, thank you, saying it has helped me a bit.
    Take care, stay safe.

    1. lingvoweb Avatar

      Don’t know why I’m called lingoweb, I usually go by Teresa.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Of course you have fears, lingvoweb! Being a nurse at this time must be such a burden. I’m glad that it has helped a little to tell us about it. And keep playing that cello! <3

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        I mean, Teresa!

        1. cmd1122 Avatar

          Thanks for sharing, Teresa. No es drama sin sentido, es lo que sientes.
          Being a nurse is not easy, but you are making a difference even if you think only your colleagues are. There will be better times ahead–it looks as if things are improving in Spain.
          Sigue tocando el cello, yo también toco. Toca lo que más que te gusta tocar y ya, y goza del momento de enfocarte en eso y nada más (sí que ayuda a olvidar de todo lo que está pasando).
          Abrazos, y fuerza.

    3. Someti Avatar

      It’s true that the situation here in Spain is quite pitiable. Send you hugs Teresa! You’re not alone!
      And please: play some cello 😉

  14. simplywendi Avatar

    I live in the Midwest in the US and we are starting to open up again…….as someone who lives with chronic illness, I am taking it one day at a time. 🙂

    1. stephenlegg Avatar

      I live in eastern Washington, in a town very near the border of Idaho. Idaho opened up on May 1. Washington is officially, right now, remaining closed until June 1 but in reality will be opening in phases based on data from testing, possibly earlier, possibly later.

      I’m a lay leader in a small church that is based across the border in Idaho. Our leadership and some of the people who live in Idaho are planning to start meeting face-to-face again next week–ending the Zoom services that they’ve been complaining about from the very start. I follow many of them on social media and they were posting photos of themselves out shopping in the re-opened stores over the weekend. They haven’t taken this seriously from the beginning, and I have to decide whether I’m going to meet with them in a week.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Such difficult decisions. Thanks for sharing, stephenlegg.

      2. simplywendi Avatar

        That is a very important consideration. Please stay safe!

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      ‘One day at a time’ sounds like a great approach, simplywendi. Important to take good care of yourself.

      1. simplywendi Avatar

        🙂 thank you!