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Challenges Faced By Gifted People

by Stacy J. Zemon

The challenges facing gifted people arise directly from the exceptional qualities that make us genuinely unique. Gifted people can misinterpret their complex and deep way of thinking as craziness. We can mistake our emotional intensity for emotional immaturity, or see it as a character flaw.

Other people may respond to the gifted with unjustified anger or accuse us of behaving in a superior manner because they are jealous.

Most of us have never been given information to explain what is “normal for gifted,” therefore we frequently experience frustration in the world, alienation, anger,self blame, and emptiness.

Without an adequate explanation of our gifted difference, we often cover up our authentic selves; instead showing a a facade to the world in order to fit in, and avoid disapproval.

Medical Misdiagnosis

Because of our unique characteristics, gifted people are frequently misdiagnosed, and are prescribed medication for our wrongfully perceived “mental illness.” Gifted people are often misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD among other conditions.

Unfortunately, many of us have used therapy as a place to share well-worn versions of our painful histories long after this had ceased to be cathartic or even helpful.

As a result, some of us who have the most to offer the world are the least likely to get our therapeutic needs met, and are taking psychiatric medication unnecessarily. Feeling alone and misunderstood, we are left with a feeling of despair, hopelessness, and alienation.

Self Damaging Behaviors

The irony is that these feelings can actually lead to depressive and anxiety disorders,as well as self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual acting out, eating disorders, and many forms of self-harming.

When a gifted individual is truly understood, validated, and connected to like-minded others, it is possible for an extreme personal transformation to occur. It is precisely this recognition, approval, and connectedness that was lacking, which led to the development of self-destructive behaviors in the first place.

Solutions for the Gifted

Finding ways to connect with as many like-minded others as possible is the most important thing a gifted person can do to get her/his needs met. Also, working with a life coach can help you to better understand who you are, create new goals, let go of the past, “write a new narrative about your life,” and develop mindfulness skills.

A narrative is the “story beneath the story” that we live out on a daily basis. There is the story we tell the world about ourselves, for example what we have chosen for work, our lifestyle choices and the persona we present to others.

Underneath this layer of our personality is another story, the story that drives much of our emotional life, the deeply ingrained beliefs that color how we view the world and how we react to it. It is this story we refer to when we use the word narrative.

A narrative is often a sane reaction to an insane or difficult childhood. It is our mind and being trying hard to adapt and survive emotionally and sometimes even physically. Often these narratives are a double-edged sword, helpful to us at times and damaging at others.

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindful observation and investigation of the Self is the ability to see oneself with an increased clarity; and most importantly, with compassion or a lightness. Emotional healing, healing that is deep and lasting, usually requires a better understanding of oneself.

Mindfulness doesn't come easily to the gifted. It involves deliberately trying to suspend operation of the part of ourselves we're most secure about, our logical minds.

Most gifted people have highly developed skills in analysis, problem solving, and critical thinking. These abilities are indeed valuable, but when they're applied too intensely to the self they backfire.

It is impossible to create change in one's long-standing habits without first understanding what they are. Understanding one's narrative and being mindful of our thoughts and behaviors are tools to help one grow, change, and heal the emotional wounds of the past. It is also a way of preventing the creation o new loss and pain.

Stacy J.Zemon is an Accredited Life Coach who specializes in helping gifted, creative,talented and evolved adults to maximize their potential in life.  She views herself as a combination Possibility Seer, Intuitive Inquisitor, Change Catalyst and Inspirational Muse.  Visit her website at www.LifeCoachStacyZemon.com where you can download Stacy's free ebook: Am I Gifted?  A Guide for Self-Discovery.

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