The Struggle and Beauty of Being Gifted

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When I go against my nature, I suffer.
I have always felt that authenticity is crucial – for self-expression, for happiness, for connection with others on a deep and meaningful level.

Authenticity is not easy, though. It’s hard to admit to yourself and to another who you really are, especially if you fear you will be viewed differently and may lose something.

As a gifted adult, I have felt out of place for a lot of my life, and have been afraid to share with others what my nature is really about. Even now, a part of me cringes at writing this. I had the benefit of attending a school for gifted children and so my childhood had a solid foundation – interactive, dynamic learning, lots of stimulation, lots of creativity and self-expression. But from high school onwards, I just kinda….forgot about this part of me.

I was not consciously connected to my nature. Yikes! As my yoga teacher, Nicole Mohr, said in class today, “When I go against my nature, I suffer.”

A “Divine Download”
I knew I was different but I didn’t really know what the difference was, exactly. Through the experience of living in my skin and soul, reading about giftedness, and interacting with other gifted adults, I began to learn what that difference really is, and how the beauty and the struggle of being gifted are often intertwined.

I began to coach gifted women by accident (they energetically found me, somehow) and it suddenly occurred to me that I needed to fully own this essential part of my nature. Like a splash of cold water on my face in the early morning, I received a “divine download” that woke me up: I could help other gifted adults, and particularly gifted women, who may be struggling with the same questions:

  • How do I be myself and feel like I belong?
  • What is my life purpose and how do I live it?
  • What are my strategies for managing the struggles of being gifted?
  • What are my strategies for unleashing and enjoying my full potential?

Are these questions resonating with you?

You may know you are gifted because you have had your IQ tested. You may have no clue that you are gifted, but have always felt something was a bit different about you. Either way, you probably don’t feel that the title suits you; many people reject the term “gifted.” Let go of the stigma / shame / uneasiness you might be feeling for a moment, and focus on the essence of what it means:

Being gifted is not just about being “smart”; it comes with a whole personality set. It is a different way of being, of seeing and interacting with the world. There is so much benefit to having these gifts, when channeled and focused with intention. There is much misconception that it is easy. In my experience, it is not.

In blogs to come, I will share how I have answered these questions for myself (it’s a process!) and detail some strategies on how to manage the struggles and strategies to unleash the beauty.

The Beauty and the Struggle
Here are some of the struggles and beauty of being gifted (this is by no means a final list, just a start, and everyone is different and unique):

Characteristic #1: Having many interests and talents
The struggle: Not knowing what path to choose; feeling paralyzed by indecision at times; trouble “sticking with” something.
The beauty: Multitude of abilities and options; skills that translate between different fields; ability to learn new things rapidly and well; can be satisfied by many activities

Characteristic #2: High standards
The struggle: Interpersonal tension; not accepting limitations of others; unrealistic and unattainable standards, at times resulting in disappointment; impatience or sense of urgency can create stress
The beauty: Quality results; attention to detail; impressive ability to improve systems, behavior, and products for the greater good; efficiency and productivity

Characteristic #3: Emotional sensitivity
The struggle: Others’ pain becomes your own; difficulty with boundaries; emotions can be overwhelming and stagnate progress towards goal; sorrow and despair is intense
The beauty: Ability to sense when another needs attention and support; depth of understanding of human emotion; high leadership potential; ability to “read a room”; happiness is intense

Characteristic #4: Sensory sensitivity
The struggle: Bright lights can be blinding, fabrics can irritate skin, sounds can be distracting,;difficulty or shame in asking for sensory needs to be met when no one else requires the same; feeling uncomfortable in your body when environment is not supportive
The beauty: Intuitive sense of what is needed to complete desired atmosphere (music, volume, lighting, etc.); understanding of others’ comfort; can create a seamless and dynamic aesthetic experience

Characteristic #5: Highly creative
The struggle: Can be impulsive; can be easily distracted; desire to follow the next “new idea!”; impatient when others don’t see the solution as quickly
The beauty: Sees solutions everywhere and quickly, connects patterns, ability to create beauty and quality, born innovator, can focus for long periods of time when “in the zone”

Do you see yourself in here?

The majority (not all, but the majority) of the resources out there on giftedness focus on raising gifted children. That is a great place to start, but what happens when those children grow up? (aka, us).

We are still gifted. Our natures do not change. We still need strategies and tools as we grow up if we are to live as who we are and reach our full potential. Squashing our potential is one of the most detrimental things we can do to ourselves, because we are hardwired for challenge, success, and self-actualization.

The desire to fulfill our potential is our life force.

My hope is that this will be a place of support, community, and dynamic growth for gifted women to connect and share and support one another in living the lives we were born to live.

As always, please share your thoughts. More blogs to come!