“Gifted? That’s not me!”. Who knew how loaded the word gifted is in our culture. For most, gifted means being a genius. We know we’re not Einstein or Oppenheimer – so we could never be gifted.
Let’s throw out the word and find (or create) a new word. What word do we want to use to indicate a part of the population who are:
~intensely passionate about one or more topics that absorb them to a degree not found among peers
~driven to explore, learn, and achieve in their areas of passion to a degree not found among peers
~often overwhelmed by the amount of topics and amount of projects that call to them
~often holding themselves back in conversation or company to try to be like others
~finding they can get paid to help others do what is easy for them
~often isolated, unable to find peers
~often unable to find a therapist, coach or counselor who can keep up with them or be deeply helpful?
We can call them highly engaged enthusiasts. Is that more comfortable?
It is not the label that has meaning. Rather, it is the predicament of a highly engaged enthusiast in a culture where people don’t demonstrate the same level of engagement, enthusiasm, depth, or intensity that is natural to the highly engaged enthusiast. This HEE can end up thinking something is wrong with them when the world does not meet beauty, complexity, challenge with the degree of engagement so natural to the HEE.
The HEE can give up hoping to find anyone to accompany him or her to inner worlds of turmoil or complexity that seem to get watered down, or glossed over, by well meaning therapists or coaches. The HEE has a hard time finding peers or people who can really get to the middle of a HEE dilemma.
So, find another word you feel comfortable using to describe the way you never fit in groups, you never found peers to share your inner most thoughts and passions, you never let yourself live at full throttle, and then you can begin to take care of this unique set of attributes that brings with it certain challenges and certain blessings.