Are You Too Much or Are You Just A Lot? Navigating the “Too Muchness” of Your Gifted Mind

You may have been told you are too much. Too smart. Too sensitive. Too creative. Too curious. Too dramatic. Too verbal. Too intense. Too intuitive. Too innovative. Too noisy. Too quiet. Too weird. Too imaginative. Too odd.

(a reader’s vision of me! LOL)

What I am here to tell you is that you are not too much but you ARE a lot. Does that make sense? No one would say a rainforest is too much. But there is certainly a lot going on. So much life! So much diversity! So many species of ants! It is full, rich, lush, fertile, prolific, abundant, generous, bountiful, effervescent, resourceful, stimulating, powerful, visionary! (So many exclamation points!)

And that would be you, too.

Granted, not everyone can handle all that you are. I had a client just this week worry he was sharing too much and that he would overwhelm me. That I might not be able to follow him or keep up. I told him that’s why I take notes. Lots of notes. And that I love his fast talking depth, sensitivity, and complexity. I am also nonlinear and a bit rainforest-y myself, so I can follow his random paths and creative associations. Of course, if he expounds a lot about Nietzsche or Foucault, I may get lost. But I am fascinated and appreciative of his brilliant personhood, always.

That’s the tricky part. Even people who love that you are bountiful, may not always be able to keep up or understand what you are describing. And then, there are those folks who are threatened or jealous. The chainsaws to your rainforest. And maybe there are times when you overwhelm yourself. When you wish your brain would slow down so you could just go to sleep. When you wish you could not think of all the ways catastrophes might descend upon everyone you ever loved. When you wish your high standards were just a little lower so you could finish the darned project already.

So what can you do?

You may know what I’m going to say. First, recognize the beauty of your generous, abundant, resourceful self. This may take a little time, particularly if you were bullied for years or if you grew up with chainsaw parents. Therapy and journal writing may be required. Second, custom design a daily practice that works for you, calms your nervous system, and nourishes your kind heart. It may include art making, nature walks, singing in the shower, yoga, or herbal tea. And last, find yourself some friends who are also rainforest-mind-y. Even just one. Or friends who appreciate your lushness even if they don’t live in the jungle. But RFMs do exist! They buy my books. They follow me on Instagram. They dance the Argentine tango. They follow Susan Cain. Don’t give up on finding one or a few.

And, most important, don’t give up on yourself. Because, like the rainforest, your generous, lush, powerful, creative soul is needed here on planet earth. Whether you finish the darned project, or not.


To my bloggEEs: Let us know how you are navigating your “too muchness.” Your comments add so much. And, thank you, as always for your love! Much love back to you. My next book ought to be released in July! Finally. Watch for an announcement here and on social media.

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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.

5 responses to “Are You Too Much or Are You Just A Lot? Navigating the “Too Muchness” of Your Gifted Mind”

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  1. Marina Avatar

    So much good advice, so many comforting words. Thank you, Paula. I wish I’d had a person like you around me, just one friend or therapist (well, my mum was a pillar in that sense but she passed away too early), telling me that I am ‘very’ and that it’s ok, and not always ‘too much or ‘not good enough’. All my adult life, I’ve constantly heard this, that there is something wrong with me. And it’s only at the age of 50 that I started realising that others feel threatened by me (or jealous) and by my RFM-nature. All my immense efforts to comply simply made others feel more jealous/ fell more threatened. Totally insane! As you say, it takes time to heal from chainsaws. I’ve cut them out of my life and am trying to establish healthier relationships with people who appreciate my RFM. Yoga, textile arts, dancing (Lindy Hop, not tango!), writing a PhD thesis and having interesting discussions with my husband does indeed nourish me. It calms my mind and gives me meaning in an otherwise meaningless-ish and selfish world. Paula, I am impatient to read your new book!

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh, Lindy Hop looks like so much fun! Always appreciate your sharing, Marina. And just a note to everyone, I just realized I wrote about this on the blog not too long ago! Eek!!

  2. Leafy Avatar

    Seconding the herbal tea, but really all these suggestions are helpful. Thank you. Another thing that works for me when facing a frustrating or upsetting situation, one where my rainforesty nature is limited by the context, is to hold in mind a sort of meditative connection with all the RFMs and in fact all people who have been, will be or are currently in a similar situation, eliciting similar feelings. Even in the physical absence of a friendly RFM, that spiritual connection grows with every thought and helps a lot.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh, yes, Leafy. Your technique sounds a little bit like the Buddhist practice of tonglen. Thank you for sharing it!

      1. Leafy Avatar

        Thank you Paula! My spirituality takes largely after buddhist ideas, adapted to my reflections on the world, but I hadn’t heard about tonglen. I’ve read about it with interest.

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