Just Because You Can Do The Task Better, Does Not Mean You Have To Do The Task — And Other Important Reminders For Your Gifted Soul

Just because you can do the task faster, better, and more completely, does not mean you have to agree to do that task.

Just because you were told you must live up to your great potential, does not mean you have to be the best whatever who ever lived, win all the awards before you are 30, and never ever let all of those well-meaning but misguided, unimaginative people be disappointed that you chose yourself over your potential.

Just because all of your relatives and friends have chosen one long career path, does not mean you cannot change jobs, career paths, hobbies, and maybe even relationships over your richly varied lifetime.

(photo by jeffery erhunse, unsplash)

Just because your parents want you to join the family business and continue their legacy of alcoholism and denial because, they say, you owe it to them, does not mean you have to follow in their footsteps. What they do not know is that your choice to step out of alcoholism and denial will change the trajectory of their lives even though they may never actually know it, feel it, or acknowledge it. And it will surely change yours. For the better.

Just because you are the best acupuncturist in town and sick people are clamoring for your attention, does not mean you have to exhaust yourself to accommodate them.

Just because you are great with children, does not mean you have to create any of your own.

Just because you are highly sensitive to visual stimuli, sounds, tastes, textures, emotions, smells, chemicals, and obnoxious neighbors, does not mean you have a diagnosis or a disability. And it does not mean you have to let yourself be bombarded by said sensitivities when there are ways to avoid, reduce, and manage them even if other humans will judge you and say how diva-like you are.

Just because you can always make your projects better, does not mean you have to raise the bar after you finish said projects so that you never really celebrate the finishing.

Just because you can intuit what people, animals, and plants are thinking and feeling and sense when they are unhappy even when they say they are happy, does not mean you are delusional or psychotic or a witch. (Although you may be a witch, and that would be a good thing, we need more witches.)

Just because you have 13 thrilling unread books by your bed, 8 podcasts you long to download, 4 new apps you want to design, plus numerous poems to write, songs to compose, and trees to plant, does not mean you are having an unusually difficult day. In fact, the difficult days are when you do not have ten items on your plate while juggling six more and looking forward to the items on those other plates you have yet to meet.

Just because you color code your sweaters, organize your books by author, and are repainting your bedroom for the fourteenth time, does not mean you are obsessive compulsive.

Just because you are extremely articulate and can describe your deep existential depression and anxiety in great detail to your therapist while being successful at your job, does not mean you must be fine and not actually need therapy.

Just because you think about the climate crisis, racism, and poverty most every day does not mean you can not also find joy when you are hiking the trail on a sunny afternoon.

Just because you think deeply and often about the meaning, purpose, and quality of life on earth does not mean you are a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess. And, even if you are, on occasion, a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess, it is much better than being a neurotic, self-absorbed, underthinking mess.

Just because even simple decisions are almost impossible because you wonder about the implications, the variables, and the impact of said decisions, and you put pressure on yourself to always be right, does not mean you are not as smart as everyone says you are. In fact, you may not score well on multiple choice tests because you see all of the reasons each answer might be correct, as only a smart person can.

Just because you have been single most of your adult life, does not mean you have missed the Love Boat and will be bereft and alone forever and ever. In fact, it may mean you have been on the Love Boat all along, it just doesn’t look like two and half kids, a partner, and a picket fence.

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To my bloggEEs: Can you add a “just because” to this list? Which ones fit for you? Tell us why. And much love and gratitude to you all, as always.

Speaking of your gifted soul, if you have not yet heard about The G Word Film, check it out. It is in post-production and needs funding to get to completion. If you want to donate any amount, the film makers would greatly appreciate it. This full length feature film will be a game changer.


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Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label “gifted” is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They’re also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I’ve been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. 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, was released in June 2019.

44 responses to “Just Because You Can Do The Task Better, Does Not Mean You Have To Do The Task — And Other Important Reminders For Your Gifted Soul”

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  1. Someti Avatar
    Someti

    Thank you for the post, Paula
    I relate to most of these “just because” sentences 🙂 and there are even more that are applicable to me (and I assume to more people too). Like: just because I love travelling, I have visited different countries/cultures and I love learning languages, doesn’t mean that I don’t need a quiet place called home to go back to safe and sound and relax. Or: just because I pray, doesn’t mean I want to be a piriest/nun or that I agree with each and every religious tradition. Or: just because I love musical instruments, musical composition, harmonic analysis of pieces, counterpoint, etc., doesn’t mean that I cannot enjoy pop/folk/whatever_non_classical music.
    Well, I know the ones I wrote above are not as well written as yours, Paula. The way in which you write is clearer, more engaging, funnier…


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks Someti! Good to hear from you.


  2. Artie Avatar
    Artie

    *sigh* Today is like the first day in four years that I feel so tired. Tired of so much intensity and tension, of feeling guilty because I couldn’t change the world and feeling like a piece of sh*t because of my dark feelings over humankind (thank you for that “just because”, Sue42). I’m thinking about finishing my science fiction novel, to see if my soul can be healed and in the process introduce some conciousness into the world.

    This tiredness feels good. It’s like the first time that I feel sleepy and relaxed. All thanks to discovering this awesome place with so many beautiful and empathetic people. Gotta love RFM.

    Thanks, Paula. You did something amazing by creating this blog and introducing the concept of Rainforest Mind. It’s indeed better than saying “gifted”.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, Artie. Welcome! So glad you are here. Definitely write the novel!!


    2. itssue42 Avatar
      itssue42

      Hugs Artie, we are a steadfast tribe of like-minded souls and this is often a superb haven in which to find solace and cheer and a sense of peace


  3. itssue42 Avatar
    itssue42

    Oh it lifts the heart so, seeing again that you know us all so well, and it so much makes me feel part of a ‘family’ (finally) in reading of everyone else’s experiences. Yes, to almost all of those ‘just becauses’

    Had to laugh at:
    “Just because you think deeply and often about the meaning, purpose, and quality of life on earth does not mean you are a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess. And, even if you are, on occasion, a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess, it is much better than being a neurotic, self-absorbed, underthinking mess.”

    That reminds me, yet again, that we have permission on occasion to indeed be an overthinking mess, in other words…it’s always OK to be myself, whatever that is at the moment. And boy am I grateful that I never am an underthinking mess! 😀

    my just because… you abhor (to the point of insane stress & vehemence) what the human species has done/is doing to destroy this mind-blowingly amazing planet and its species, and the human species itself, and you spend a lot of your time trying to do all you can to help save the planet from our species ……..
    doesn’t mean you don’t admire, adore, empathize with individuals, reach out to strangers to cheer their day, laugh at others’ whimsy, miss seeing faces, delight in the massive variety of humanity, cherish human friends, cheer for all the creative, hard work individuals put in towards saving this beautiful home, …


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Powerful, Sue. Thank you.


    2. Touching the Dirt! Avatar
      Touching the Dirt!

      So, it’s not Dissociative Identity Disorder!!!? Every day is filled with ambivalence and I often feel like I am straddling the fence between two worlds. The Magnificent truth, where joy lives, and oblivion where everyone else lives! Glad you were able to bring that forth itssue42. Thank heavens for this community and you Paula, for making it possible!!


  4. Sometimes my soul needs reminding – Anne Elrod Whitney

  5. Pegi Ficken Avatar
    Pegi Ficken

    In 72 years, this is probably the most important lesson that I’ve ever learned. I am only sorry that it took me so long. I tried to teach it to my children, but never applied it to myself. Some people are slow learners.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It’s never too late, Pegi! I am a slow learner, too. 🙂


  6. Ian Avatar
    Ian

    I can think of several ways in which this resonates with me:

    1. “In fact, you may not score well on multiple choice tests because you see all of the reasons each answer might be correct” – that’s one of the reasons why I tended to underachieve in exams in my teens. The mark scheme would see only one “right” answer, whereas I’d see several, and I’d struggle to decide on which one was the official “right” one. Indeed, even in adulthood, in multiple choice tests I often find myself having to switch off my brain and keep second guessing what the test designer wants me to answer.

    2. “Just because you have been single most of your adult life, does not mean you have missed the Love Boat and will be bereft and alone forever and ever. In fact, it may mean you have been on the Love Boat all along, it just doesn’t look like two and half kids, a partner, and a picket fence.” – I’ve spent much of my life seeking out Love Boats other than the conventional one. It often hasn’t been easy, but I think it’s important for people to have more than one way of finding love.

    3. “Just because you can always make your projects better, does not mean you have to raise the bar after you finish said projects so that you never really celebrate the finishing.” – this is something that I need to work on! I got good at it when doing paintings, but there are plenty of other areas, such as composing music, where perfectionism gets in the way of me finishing anything.

    There are quite a few others that I can relate to as well, but these three particularly stuck out.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing these examples, Ian. I am glad so many resonated.


  7. PJ Avatar
    PJ

    My just because is: just because everyone said you were “destined for greatness” and for years you gave every outward appearance of happily doing “great” things does not mean that you are a failure or lazy when you feel burned out and take a break. Even if it’s longer than people think it should be or if they’re expressing their disappointment and concern to your partner. Totally hypothetically speaking of course….


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Of course, PJ. Totally hypothetical. 🙂


  8. M. J. Cuthbertson Avatar
    M. J. Cuthbertson

    My own version of “Just Because …” is a new appreciation for deeply questioning others prior to making life changing choices. It’s been my unfortunate experience to make major choices, only to find out later, perhaps years, the choice I’d made was based on a lie I’d been told. I can’t even begin to imagine how my life would be different had I known the truth prior to making those particular choices.

    Most of the examples I might give are too long to write here, but I’ve a fairly brief benign example that’s the correct flavor. A few years ago I interviewed local art galleries which I might fit with to sell artwork I was creating. The owners to a person said they sold art. Turns out, that was a lie. Everyone of them made their, stay in business money, by selling frames. They all seemed blissfully unaware of this, while being certain they were art galleries. Those lies only wasted some time, but other lies in relationships caused real life changes.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Makes sense to deeply question, M.J. And I’m guessing that even with that, there are times when one could still make the wrong choice. So sorry you had to go through that.


  9. Arachne Avatar
    Arachne

    My Just Because to add is… Just because you care about everyone as much as the entire world, does not mean you are responsible to take care OF them. Because you cannot and should not take care of everyone else. (This is so hard!)

    I wish I had learned some of these “just because” years ago.

    Especially the time my boss asked me if I wanted to take on this particular project… I said that no, I really would rather not do that type of project anymore; I am tired of it. My boss said something like, “but this one is really important. Can you think of anyone else here that would do as good a job with it as you would?” I tried. I knew it was a trap. I tried to think of someone! But I had to say no. And now I am 5 years into a 12 year multi-million dollar project that takes up 50% of my job that I do NOT like. Arrrg!! And now I wonder if I will ever get out of doing this type of project so long as I stay at my job, because there will always be more. *head-desk* I did it to myself. It did qualify me for a promotion that I wanted, but… still… totally did it to myself.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      That is definitely a bind, Arachne, that I have heard before. So hard to say ‘no’ when there is that pressure.


  10. ewabs2 Avatar
    ewabs2

    it is easier to pick the one that doesnt fit, and that is the multiple choice one. I learned to figure out what the teacher wants to hear. It might be the wrong one to me. but it is the one that teachers or the ones making those tests wants to hear.

    my just because.
    Just because a friend acts like a helpless victim doesnt mean you have to fix their life. at the cost of your own.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh yes, ewabs2!!


  11. Me Avatar
    Me

    This was just what I needed! 🙏🏻

    just because I am not very articulate, does not mean I have nothing to say or are somewhat stupid or do not have an opinion …. I have been silenced as a child, successfully silenced I might say, and I still struggle to find my voice.

    Oh yes, the world needs more witches! 🧙
    I have been called one quite often mostly with the intention to insult me, but I always saw it as a compliment. I believe that those calling me one actually see my RFM, even though it gives them the creeps 🤣


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Well, it seems there are many witches among us! 🙂 Thank you for your “just because.”


  12. Nimue Brown Avatar
    Nimue Brown

    Thank you.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You are welcome, Nimue.


  13. carolineb69 Avatar
    carolineb69

    The multiple choices questionnaire… This one is so true 🤣 And so many more as usual. These days I’m obsessed with medieval capes and totally feel like a witch. Thank you for reminding us we are not crazy. 😄👍


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Absolutely, not crazy, carolineb69!


  14.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks for this…it found me at just the right time.

    I believe any action done with intention is a ritual and anything spoken with conviction is a spell. In this way we are all witches.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Fascinating, Anonymous. We need all the witches we can get!!


  15. Tiffany Avatar
    Tiffany

    Oh wow, that was beyond perfect.
    Thank you so much. I needed every word of that. ❤️❤️❤️


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You are most welcome, Tiffany!


  16. Lolly Williams Avatar
    Lolly Williams

    The witch comment. I am not a witch at all but with my intuition and “free range hair” I feel witchy sometimes. It ain’t so bad.
    Wonderful article. Thank you.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, I do have witchy hair. You, too, Lolly?!?


      1. Lolly Williams Avatar
        Lolly Williams

        Yes, going on three years. I believe my hair has sea witch origins. I love the term “free-range hair” cuz that’s exactly what it is. Such a great term.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Actually, I can’t take credit for the term. It was first coined by a follower of mine on Twitter.


          1. Beth Avatar
            Beth

            Funny about the witch thing, yesterday my mum told me that two of my granny’s aunts were said to be witches… and I think my mum and I might as well 🙂


  17. cherylhlmn Avatar
    cherylhlmn

    I simply appreciate all that I get to read, absorb, feel with this post.

    I went through old photos last night, and was reminded of how I didn’t follow my path…the biochemistry degree and go into research and how lost I felt at 30. That I landed up in a different profession, one that wasn’t as “blinky ,blinky” light screaming Gifted Adult.

    But I picked a career that fit my brain in ways and gave me lots of ways to use the unique set of skills I have. Because at the end of the day, I made lots of money for companies, they gave me lots of freedom.

    Which I need…Like I need air.

    Thank you Paula for giving me a village. I feel very fortunate to be in the company of these rainforest humans.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So glad you are here in our village, cherylhlmn.


    2. Arachne Avatar
      Arachne

      I didn’t wind up where I wanted/planned to be either (a field ethnobotanist or ecologist), but also wound up where I never thought I would be… this gave me a lot of heartache and makes me feel like an under-achiever, but truly, I stayed there because it is the only job that changed frequently enough and moved fast enough that it could keep me engaged for more than a few months at a time. I think it is good that we both wound up finding what our brains needed, despite it not being what we thought we wanted! Thank you for sharing. You are not alone!


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Certainly for RFMs, jobs that have a lot of variety and move quickly so that your brain is stimulated can be essential. Thanks for sharing, Arachne.


      2. Touching the Dirt! Avatar
        Touching the Dirt!

        Wow, so true!! I went from an Ivy League graduate student to a stay-at-home mom!! But I no longer question or regret the choice. Today, I trust that the universe knows what’s what, even if I don’t!


        1. cherylhlmn Avatar
          cherylhlmn

          It’s just amazing the places we will go…isn’t it? I love your journey…and I too left my profession for a few years to be a stay at home mom. No regrets!


  18. clignett Avatar
    clignett

    Actual situation now: (sorry, longer story than intended 🙈)

    I sent a kindly worded message to a (former now) friend that she should have warned me that she might have Corona (Omikron mutation) because she was in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with it, which really hurt me.
    Before that she didn’t respond at all to any of my messages for 4 days (unrelated to that, didn’t know about it yet), which I found strange, but ok, I’ll leave it.
    When she finally responds to my previous messages, she tells me that she feels awful, might have Corona, she’s not well at all. So I first sent her a message saying I’m sorry for her, that I feel for her, and that maybe I should do a rest myself. No response again. Sent her a message that I did the selftest, luckily negative. No response again. I tried to call her, no response.

    Then I sent her the message I mentioned at the beginning, and after 2 days she picks a huge fight with me (by message of course) over it saying all kinds of hurtful and bad things about me that I couldn’t even consider her feelings and that I hurt her with my messages..
    I just asked her for my house keys back. Nicely.
    Twice. She did the same, not so nicely..

    So, as a conclusion: just because someone picks a fight with you, it doesn’t mean you have to engage.

    Yes, I lost a friend, but I’m relieved that I do not have to deal with all the negativity around her anymore. And that’s a relief. Sure, it still hurts, but I have to remind myself that I need to surround myself with my kind of people. People who lift you up, people who care, people who are mature enough to say sorry if they messed up.. lesson learned.. again..
    Just sorry that our dogs don’t get to play with each other anymore. Breaks my heart to see their confusion and frustration..


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Ah, yes, you don’t have to engage! Thank you, clignett. And I bet you will find a better friend and dog! 🙂

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