You may have reached a time in your life when using your gifts to align with the culture’s expectations fails to provide meaning anymore. A loss of engagement with your life, a need to forge a new direction with no idea of how to do that, these are the crises that point you back to yourself.
A life time habit of using one’s gifts to edit and control one’s self – to camouflage one’s differences in order to fit in – can be an elusive talent to surrender. It takes an enormous shift to sit in one’s uniqueness, to accept the gifts as being what define you. It is new territory to live by, and care for, the very qualities that make you unlike others.
If you are highly gifted, it is likely that early on in life you adopted a socially acceptable persona to help you live in a world that did not recognize, or was threatened by, the levels of awareness and ways of relating to the world that you exhibited. Often, the process of evolving to a more authentic existence involves reframing your childhood experiences from the vantage point of the gifted child:
- Owning the injury and pain that was experienced when your innocent and pure spirit of curiosity was misunderstood.
- Realizing how disappointing it was to find that others did not share attention to the truth, to subtleties, to kindness or decency.
- Learning how you used your giftedness to navigate a world that was so different from you.
With a clear understanding of the radical differences between your way of relating to the world and that of most people, you actually begin to be safe in the world. You can begin to take care of your core self and focus inwards, instead of always attending to external promptings.
Before coming home to your gifts, here are some thoughts that may haunt you:
There is no meaning
Everyone is sleep walking
People don’t make connections fast enough
People are lazy
People don’t want the truth
I have to be like them, I have to slow down
I can’t be me
Others must be like me – why don’t they….
Everyone is having fun but me
There is not enough time to do it all
Everyone wants something from me
I don’t belong
There is no place for me
Gifted people are geniuses, I am not a genius
I can’t be gifted, I have never been successful
I don’t have…. marriage/children/career x – I have wasted my time
If people really knew what I think (want to do) – they’d think I’m crazy
I will be burned at the stake if I am my authentic self
If people really wanted to, they could…
I am a fish out of water
I am a trouble maker
I am difficult
I am not a team player
I always disrupt things
It is an enormous sea change to relate to your gifts as qualities to be taken care of. Considering your gifts as rich sources of unique information and inspiration allows you to tap into the wellspring that is the nourishment for an authentic and meaningful life.
The path toward authenticity is hugely challenging for many gifted people. Standing fully in your gifts is what you have always avoided. From the beginning, you knew that to be yourself (to be authentic) would be dangerous in a world where, what was real to you, was unreal to others.
Your giftedness can prevent you from accessing the very information you need to forge your unique path. A lifetime of using your gifts to fit into the world around you is a hard habit to break. It takes strength to release habits and beliefs that are not authentic, to tolerate the absence of the ways that you have identified yourself.
It is an enormous challenge to begin to look inward and learn where your gifts and your personal needs intersect. If your giftedness lies in the mental realm, your mental dexterity can make it hard to quiet the mind and find the emotional and spiritual truths that lie within.
You may be called to find an authentic way to live your life, yet you find yourself limited by helpers who lack the ability to adequately illuminate your complex inner world. Traditional therapy and other modalities of healing often fail to provide the multimodal framework that the gifted person needs to work within. Many gifted people complain that they have never met a therapist or healer who could hold the whole picture. They feel they have to slow down or hold back in order to be understood. There is also an absence of adequate vocabulary (even in the fields of psychology and medicine) to express the subtle levels of the gifted’s experience.