In a world that emphasizes conformity, it’s easy for those of us with gifted traits to feel out of place, even embarrassed about our unique qualities.  How many of us have heard and internalized snarky comments like, “You’re such a perfectionist,” or “You’re so intense,” or my favorite, “You’re so extra!”  It’s no wonder we often choose to downplay our giftedness. 

Researcher Mary-Elaine Jacobsen explains why so many gifted adults have a negative self-image: “They realize they are intense, complex, and driven, but they have been taught that their strong personalities are perceived as excessive, too different from the norm, and consequently wrong. In a culture that often equates different with wrong, it’s inevitable that gifted adults point a critical finger [at themselves].”

It’s heartbreaking to think about the hundreds of thousands of creative and talented people who have decided to hide their light under a bushel to keep from being unfairly criticized for their completely normal behavior.

In fact, it is precisely these unique gifted traits that allow us to learn quickly, solve problems, and make valuable contributions to the world.  Far from being something to hide, our gifted traits are actually our superpowers!  We simply need to adjust our mindsets to view them in a positive, rather than a negative light. 

Which of these traits sounds like you?
 

1. Overthinking:

  • Perceived Weakness: Viewed as indecisive or anxious.
  • Reframed as Strength: Analytical thinking and attention to detail lead to thorough problem-solving.
  • For Example: Overthinking can result in comprehensive planning. Many successful project managers meticulously think through every detail, ensuring successful project execution.

2. Heightened Sensitivity:

  • Perceived Weakness: Labeled as overly emotional or fragile.
  • Reframed as Strength: Empathy and emotional intelligence, allowing for deep, meaningful connections.
  • For Example: Highly sensitive individuals often excel in counseling and therapy roles due to their ability to understand and empathize with others’ emotions.

3. Perfectionism:

  • Perceived Weakness: Seen as overly critical or never satisfied.
  • Reframed as Strength: Attention to detail and commitment to excellence drive high achievement.
  • For Example: Perfectionists often excel in creative fields. For instance, renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci meticulously perfected their art, creating masterpieces that continue to inspire.

4. Social Awkwardness:

  • Perceived Weakness: Viewed as aloof or unfriendly.
  • Reframed as Strength: Deep thinkers often find profound meaning in relationships, valuing quality over quantity.
  • For Example: Socially awkward individuals often make loyal and trustworthy friends. Their authenticity and depth of character can lead to lasting, meaningful friendships.

5. Non-Conformity:

  • Perceived Weakness: Regarded as rebellious or disruptive.
  • Reframed as Strength: Independent thinking fosters innovation and challenges the status quo.
  • For Example: Non-conformists are often pioneers. Think of inventors like Steve Jobs, who revolutionized technology by thinking differently and challenging traditional norms.

6. Heightened Emotional Intensity:

  • Perceived Weakness: Seen as moody or overly dramatic.
  • Reframed as Strength: Intense emotions drive passion, creativity, and a deep understanding of the human experience.
  • For Example: Many gifted writers and poets channel their emotional intensity into their work, creating profoundly moving literature that resonates with readers worldwide.

7. Restless Mind:

  • Perceived Weakness: Labeled as unfocused or distracted.
  • Reframed as Strength: A constantly active mind leads to diverse interests and multidisciplinary expertise.
  • For Example: Restless minds often excel in fields requiring adaptability. Consider entrepreneurs who thrive in dynamic environments, rapidly shifting their focus to meet market demands.

8. Intense Curiosity:

  • Perceived Weakness: Seen as nosy or intrusive.
  • Reframed as Strength: Deep curiosity fuels a thirst for knowledge and innovation.
  • For Example: A curious mind can lead to groundbreaking discoveries. Many inventors and scientists, like Marie Curie, were intensely curious, leading to significant advancements in their fields.

 

Do you recognize yourself in this list? Keep reminding yourself that the parts of your personality that may have been labeled “too much” are actually common among gifted people, and are a clear indication that you have much to offer the world.

You are not too much. You are just the way you need to be. 

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