Being Gifted May Not Be Such A Gift

I have been working with gifted kids and adults since the late 1970’s (were any of you even alive then?), and I am STILL stunned by your beauty. By your big-hearted compassion. By your vast, deep, bold intelligence. By your unparalleled curiosity. By your striving, your questing, your seeking. By your passionate drive to know. By your peculiar sensitivities and your unruly anxieties. By your youness.

I really want you to believe me when I say you have a rainforest mind. I know some of you do believe me. But many of you still question it. You say, you were not good at math. You did not get high grades or high test scores. You do not write for the New Yorker. Me, neither.

(Note: You may have been good at math, gotten high grades and test scores. You may write for the New Yorker. And still question your giftedness.)

Some of you might also have been raised in families where you were neglected or abused. Or where you were ignored because you were so smart so you must be just fine. These conditions would not provide the nourishment you would need to recognize your strengths. Your authentic self would be hidden, possibly crushed, under the rubble of your family’s dysfunctional legacy.

I suspect some of you are resisting your giftedness because you believe it means you have to do something “insanely great with your life. (words attributed to Steve Jobs) But I would counter that you do not want to do *anything* insanely. Great? OK. Insanely? Not so much.

You may have been told how smart you were over and over but with no understanding of what that really meant or with no support for your sensitivities or emotional needs. Just enormous pressure to win, to achieve, to be the best. You may have had to wait for your fellow students or your coworkers to catch up to you or to understand you. You may still be waiting.

It could be you think you are just a terrible communicator with inadequate social skills when you find relationships difficult and human beings kind of boring. Your frustrations with small talk and simplistic answers to complex problems can leave you lonely and discouraged.

Being gifted might not feel like such a gift.

But there is good news.

Trust me. I know this. I have known you since the late 1970’s.

You are beautiful. You have big-hearted compassion. Vast, deep, bold intelligence. Unparalleled curiosity. You are a striver, a quester, a seeker. You have peculiar sensitivities and unruly anxieties.

You have a rainforest mind.

I recommend you keep the gift.


To my bloggEEs: What makes being gifted difficult for you? What are the benefits? Let us know in the comments, please! They add so much. And here are a couple of items you might want to know about:

“A conference for gifted & 2e adults is back – and deeply discounted! You can get on-demand access to 16 experts worth of strategies on dating, friendships, professional fulfillment, psychological assessments and everything in between. (Organized by Julie Skolnick of With Understanding Comes Calm.)

This re-release also features a brand new piece of content: an interview with therapist and author of Your Rainforest Mind Paula Prober on August 9th at 5 pm ET! (that would be me) Learn more and sign up today using this affiliate link.

And, for those of you looking for more specific ideas on how to rehabilitate muggles create a better world, I wrote this post last week for Highly Sensitive Refuge.

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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