The intersection of trauma and giftedness is not a fun topic to explore. But it’s a real one, because there are many gifted adults in the world struggling to heal from their past trauma. I’ve been wanting to write an article on this topic for a long time, but I’ve struggled to do so, ironically, because of my own trauma. If you’re working through trauma, I hope reading my story and healing journey will help you on yours.
Many gifted people struggle with shame related to the ways they don’t fit into normal expectations, or the ways their “gifts” are a “bother” to others around them. In this very personal story, I share how unidentified “gifted shame” impacted my own life and how I worked my way toward self-acceptance as a gifted adult. How has your “gifted shame” impacted you?
As a gifted person, what should you do with your life? How should you use your talents? How can you find your inner callings and attain excellence in your domains of interest? Robert Greene’s fifth book Mastery is an exceptional step in helping all of us in search of answers to these often complicated life questions. Greene’s process toward mastery mirrors my own coaching method and process remarkably well, outlining the specific steps of the very same process I have been intuitively guiding my gifted clients through for years. If you are curious about where the coaching process would take you, are currently coaching and want to accelerate your progress, have been coached before and want a useful review and resource, or plan to start coaching and want to ‘get a head start’, I highly recommend you read this book!
The discovery that you’re gifted as an adult has personal and social implications that are known to create some measure of chaos in your self-understanding and in your understanding of the world, until you learn to integrate your gifted mind fully into your life. In my experience as a psychologist and coach, I have witnessed a fairly predictable pattern that follows the discovery of one’s giftedness. It includes some of the famous stages of grief from researcher Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, as well as some key aspects of giftedness researcher Kazimierz Dabrowksi’s Levels of Positive Disintegration.
Giftedness is averaged to make up well less than 5% of the general population, and within that small number, there are subclassifications: mild, moderate, high, exceptional and profound giftedness. Relatively little has been written about the later three of these, with the unfortunate result that the net is cast wide in the existing literature on giftedness. With various levels and concepts of “giftedness” often grouped together into a one-size-fits-all description, the highly, exceptionally and profoundly gifted are misrepresented in important ways. We all know that a mild or moderately gifted person can feel a strong sense of being an “alien” in a group of non-gifted people; so too can a highly, exceptionally or profoundly gifted person feel a strong sense of being an “alien” in a group of mild or moderately gifted people (the same is true between profoundly and highly gifted too, and so on). This article is an adapted excerpt from my upcoming book, which aims to clarify these differences and why they are important to know about.
I started InterGifted in 2015 as a means to connect gifted peers around the world. In this article, I share my experience of publicly talking about being gifted for the first time, my motivations for creating InterGifted, how gifted people can recognize giftedness in themselves and others, and why it’s not arrogant to be sincerely who you are.
If I ask you how a bicycle works, you probably will say yes; but if I ask you for a precise explanation of exactly how all of the bicycle’s parts work together, you may have to think longer, and might even need to consult an actual bicycle in order to answer the question competently. It is similar with our values: we think we know what we value in life, but when it comes to fully understanding our highest values, and living by them consistently, we aren’t so sure anymore. Sometimes, we need to consciously examine our most authentic values, and like with the bicycle, observe them closely to fully understand how they work. This article holds a favorite values exercises that I regularly do with clients in coaching.