Actually, it might only be a hate relationship. I don’t know anyone who actually loves the word. Or feels that it applies to them. You understand. Perhaps– You don’t feel all that smart. You think gifted only means genius. You believe all humans have gifts so aren’t they all gifted? You know how much you don’t know. You know people smarter than you. You hate how the gifted kids of color are often not identified in schools. You did not excel in school. You never understood math. You were bullied in school because you knew the answers. You are a slow reader. You keep changing jobs once you master the skills. You are not a stunning success at, well, anything, except maybe curiosity. You have a list of achievements but you don’t value them because the accomplishments came easily. You are often anxious and catastrophizing. You have learning disabilities. You forget where you parked your car. Your kids are gifted but you are not.
Even if you admit that you seem to think, feel, and know more deeply and broadly than your cohorts, your sense of justice and your empathy make using the G word about yourself cringe-worthy. And, in your view, maybe even inaccurate. Even though you ask questions no one can answer, you skipped grades in school, you speak five languages, you cry when you hear Jacob Collier lead his audiences in song, your favorite websites this week are Masterclass and Fantastic Fungi, and you collect unusual words for fun (are you bafflegabbing?), you still squirm when someone says you are gifted.
I get it.
So, for those of you looking for an alternative, here ya go. (Disclaimer: This description fits the many gifted folks I have known over the decades. But it is not a totally comprehensive fits-everyone metaphor. It works for the nonlinear creative types, which is many but certainly not all.)
What if we use an ecosystem analogy for humans? What if some are like meadows– sweet, simple, fragrant, and flowery. Some are like deserts– resilient, uniquely beautiful, and deeply rooted. Some like volcanoes– waiting to explode. And some like rainforests– complex, resourceful, colorful, intense, highly sensitive, nonlinear, overwhelming, intelligent, influential, creative, and misunderstood. All ecosystems are necessary and valuable. No ecosystem is better than another. It is just that the rainforest ecosystem is the most complex on the planet. And, I might boldly suggest, these humans are the most complicated, too.
You might relate to a couple brief examples from this post.
Carlos. 42. Self-taught, successful IT expert. Highly sensitive, empathetic, deep thinking, and emotional (although he hides it well). Bullied in school because he preferred grasshoppers and string theory to football. Spends hours writing a three sentence e-mail. Repeats himself often in an effort to be deeply understood and to calm his anxiety. Researches for days in order to make a decision. A slower, deliberate, deep thinker and processor with a quirky sense of humor. Learning to dance the Argentine tango so that he can finally experience being followed.
Frances. 59. After running her own children’s bookstore, raising two kids and their friends, volunteering on the board for the ballet, and remodeling her home, she’s in her latest job working as a city planner. She’s considering going back to school for another Masters degree because she’s always wanted to be an art therapist or a landscape architect or a stand-up comedian. She thinks she’s flakey or shallow because she’s walked so many different career paths. Her sense of social responsibility keeps her awake most nights. Her intuitive abilities frighten her.
And so, my dearest gifted ones, in the book by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the tropical rainforest is described:“…The magnificence of the rain forest is something powerfully sacred, something so clearly worth protecting...the rain forest is one of the most important biomes on the planet for human survival…it offers us an unbelievable abundance of nourishment and resources…”
You, too, are powerfully sacred and unbelievably abundant. And, yes, so clearly worth protecting.
To my bloggEEs: If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, all this will be familiar. But I realized I didn’t have a simple post that you might share with others as a way to begin the conversation about the G word and your rainforest mind. So, now you do! Of course, my second book, Journey into Your Rainforest Mind, is also a fun way to introduce the topic to friends and family. And, don’t forget, I would love to hear from some of you who are using the new journal. What are you discovering? Can you post a photo of yourself with the journal on social media? I’d love to see you! Thank you, as always, for being here. So much love!
(Note: If I were going to offer a class/group online or a podcast or some sort of audio recordings of my blog posts, which idea appeals to you? I’m a little restless wanting to create something new. Do you have other ideas? But, don’t worry, I will not abandon my trusty blog….or you!)