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.
Sometimes hurrying up is to our advantage in life – when we’re running to catch a train, when we’re faced with an important deadline, or when we’re joyfully accomplishing a personal challenge. However, hurrying, beyond a certain point, becomes self-destructive. As a constant way of being, it is not sustainable. It is a “yang” energy in our lives which must be balanced out by the “yin” of slowing down, if it is to be effective and valuable. It is a “doing” micro-energy that can only have meaning and value in the context of a “being” meta-energy. Clients are often initially disappointed to learn this, because they arrive at the coaching process in a race to reach their goals, and are often impatient to move forward. But it is the wonderful yin meta-energy that gives their goals context; and to see this, they first must slow down and observe.
Have you ever wondered why at times your creativity and productivity seem to flow, and other times you can’t think straight and produce mediocre work? Why at times you are happy to be with people, and other times you are fed up with their presence? In reality, each of us has a preferred way of approaching and ordering activities and tasks, and if we plan according to our preferences – when and with whom and how we collaborate, solve problems, make decisions, and brainstorm, for example – we naturally find effectiveness and joy. The trick is knowing our preferences in the first place! Let’s learn about them together…
Many people equate emotions with feelings, but they are two different things. Many people also believe their thoughts are their feelings, and that is not the case either. Understanding the differences, links and feedback loops between emotion, feeling, and thought is an important basic understanding in psychological and emotional health. This, as well as the differences between self-experienced emotion and carried emotion, are foundational aspects for gaining conscious control over one’s self and one’s life experiences.
Often accompanied by an intense inner disharmony, giftedness has more than once been confused with pathology in the course of history. Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration offers an astoundingly positive and hopeful approach to understanding the seemingly pathological disharmony that the gifted often experience. Rather than mental weakness or illness, he argues that this inner disharmony is the great catalyst of self-actualization.