REDISCOVERING YOURSELF BLOG

Articles on giftedness & self-actualization from Jennifer Harvey Sallin

Tools for Rediscovering Your Ecological Intuition

Our world relies on the domestication of other species, yet we often don’t realize the degree to which we’ve also domesticated our own minds, bodies and emotions. It can be hard to feel beneath our conditioning and get in touch with our emotions, even when our survival depends on them. Now more than ever, we need tools and practices to access and feel our feelings so that we can reconnect with the power of our ecological intuition and find our courage to act for our survival. This article gives tools and a reflection process for “rewilding” your mind, reconnecting with your emotions and rediscovering your own inner ecological compass.

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Ecological Grief, Compassion & Action

I’ve worked hard over the last year to find a sense of optimism and hope regarding the state of the world, especially regarding the climate emergency. I have found it is essential to diligently work through grief, despair, and paralysis. But for some of us, we are processing much more than just the state of the world: in facing the climate emergency, we are also facing our childhood trauma head on. How can we heal and find our unique voice and contribution to the collective? What role does compassion play passion play in the process of transmuting our grief and pain into committed action? 

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Supporting Gifted People: Guidelines for Therapists & Coaches (and Advice for Gifted Clients)

It is essential that therapists, coaches and other helping professionals know what giftedness is, how to recognize it in clients, and how to best support their gifted clients. Anyone helping a gifted person is, by necessity, helping a gifted mind – and gifted minds work in unique ways, have unusual needs, and grow in unconventional directions. Here are some guidelines for helping professionals and the gifted clients they support.

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Gifted Adults & Second Childhoods: Revisiting Essential Stages of Development

Growing up without knowing we’re gifted can be like growing up in a distorted mirror. For many gifted adults, learning about their giftedness brings them back to a “second childhood” in which they can rediscover themselves in more authentic ways. They can develop socially and personally in ways they weren’t able in their “first childhood”. In this article, originally published on InterGifted’s blog, Jen explores with us how we can best navigate the essential developmental stages of our “second (gifted) childhood”. 

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Trauma, Giftedness & Healing – a Personal Story

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.

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gifted shame

Letting Go of ‘Gifted Shame’

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?

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Mastery

Mastery: The Gifted Coaching Process

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!

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The Stages of Adult Giftedness Discovery & How Gifted Coaching Can Help

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.

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profound giftedness

High, Exceptional & Profound Giftedness

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 clarifies these differences and why they are important to know about.

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Growing a Gifted Community

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.

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values

Discovering Your Highest Values

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.

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slowing down

Slowing Down to Speed Up: Hurrying vs. Observing

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.

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personality

Personality Preferences: Extraversion, Introversion and Authentic Action

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…

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Binocular Behavior

Binocular Behavior & The Gifted – A Dysfunctional Form of Self-Protection and Control

Observing others’ behaviors is, in itself, rather healthy. It allows us to appropriately anticipate and react to kindness or threat from others, which serves to give us motivation (anticipating kindness) or information to protect ourselves (anticipating threat). However, “binocular behavior”, as I call it, is a dysfunctional level of this observation behavior – when we try too hard to anticipate kindness or threat. Relating to the world from a distance, we distort reality in ways that cause us to lose our motivation or to create feelings of insecurity. Gifted people, with their strong imaginative, abstracting and pattern recognition skills – in combination with their general intensity of mind and experience – sometimes use their “binoculars” to create very elaborate, if misguided, theories about what is happening in others’ minds, the results of which can be socially unpleasant and painful. This article aims at helping gifted individuals put down their binoculars and relate directly with the world, and to understand the crucial role that differences in cognitive timing play in the tendency to pick them up in the first place.

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carried emotions

Emotions and Carried Emotions

Many of our emotions are self-experienced; however, sometimes our emotions are carried emotions — emotions that we do experience but that are not ours. These emotions have been given to us by others (our parents, our culture, etc.) and they make us feel like we are living someone else’s life. In this article, I explore the difference between self-experienced emotions and carried emotions, and show how gifted people can gain conscious control over their inner emotional lives.

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antifragile

Antifragile: Benefiting from Life’s Ups & Downs

Chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors, and uncertainty – among other factors commonly perceived as negative – are not necessarily our enemies. Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out once again in his latest masterwork, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, that we live in a “Black Swan” world where unpredictable events that have maximum impact on our lives happen necessarily and, well, unpredictably. These events are “Black Swans” in Taleb’s prose. In our complex, modern lives, these factors – chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors and uncertainty – are not a matter of choice; they exist and in ever-increasing quantities. We will run into them, or they will run into us. So, instead of positioning ourselves against them, why not use them as “friends” or at least as “allies” in our development of self?

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peace

How Can I Live a Peaceful Life?

How many years do searchers of peace spend looking, but never finding it? And how many conclude that, just maybe, it’s not possible at all, resigning themselves to isolated moments of peace within a more general state of chaos and inner inquietude? Peace is possible, but seems impossible until you find it. We in some way expect to find it as an external “thing,” some physical object found in our outer environment, or as a lifestyle that provides an inner security. But once found, we are often surprised to learn that peace is different than we thought it would be. It is not external. It arises as if spontaneously from a more internal process – a self-catalyzing end-process that springs from an inner “organized” chaos. Thinking about collectively autocatalytic systems helps understand why this is the case, and how we can encourage the seemingly spontaneous arousal of peace in our lives.

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The Power of Choice: Remembering William Glasser

William Glasser was an American psychiatrist who had a profound effect on the early development of my approach to life, therapy and coaching. His unconventional voice in the fields of psychiatry and psychology was responsible for giving me, and many others, hope in a profession that felt stifling and impractical. He passed away this year, but he and his work live on in those millions of us who found hope and healing in his message. Rest in peace, Dr. Glasser.

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Energy Patterns: The Cornerstone of Self-Care and Potential-Realization for Gifted People

 Gifted people have big agendas – they want to learn and accomplish so much in life! However, without understanding how to best manage their energy, they often find themselves burning out or otherwise not concentrating well, not accomplishing what they want, and not being satisfied with themselves. Learn about how I help my gifted clients learn to better understand and manage their energy to increase productivity, creativity, self-care and self-esteem.

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Encouraging Positive Change through Gratitude

Clients often come to me in a state of agitation, impatience and panic (real or existential, sometimes both), wanting a “magic solution” for their current dilemma – which is, in fact, a microcosmic representation or symptom of their overall life dilemma. And while I really do have a “magic solution” to share with them, it’s never what they expect, and like any good magic trick, it takes practice to master. The magic solution? Gratitude.

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Recontextualizing Struggle as a Creative Necessity

Many of us conceptualize “struggle” as “bad.” In our limited view, we consider that to struggle means to be in pain, and that to be in pain is bad. But it is exactly this reasoning that has caused so many of us to fall repeatedly into cycles of struggle recreation (often called self-defeating behavior patterns): to avoid struggle is to short-circuit a natural and necessary growth process, keeping us in a “Groundhog Day” pattern of personal and relational problems. How can we resolve this dilemma?

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Did You Grow Up Too Fast? The Myth of Premature Maturity

The little girl with no needs. The little boy who takes care of mom. Premature maturity, is in fact, no escape from having needs or needing to be taken care of. It is not an escape from being a child, and it is in fact, not often maturity at all. Premature maturity is something else more painful: it is our childish attempt to buy (negotiate) a sense of security in a world of confusion, chaos, pain, death, illness, and feelings of loneliness and abandon. If we are just mature enough, maybe someone will care, will love us, will help us. Or if we are just strong enough, maybe the family can stay together, mom can get better, dad will love us, we’ll find our place in life.

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Actual vs. Theoretical Potential

Visionaries aren’t just “people with lots of ideas.” Rather, a visionary’s brain has an astounding ability to make sense of seemingly millions of complex associations at lightning speed, working and reworking the puzzle of an uncountable number of infinitesimal factors, and seeing possibilities and obstacles that many couldn’t have conceptualized given a year’s time to reflect, research and plan. On one hand, it’s fun be a visionary! On the other, there arrives a moment when all of the speedy imagining must slow down: the connections have to converge in order for the brain and mind to focus on the attainment of a singular integrated goal. And for many visionaries and other types of global thinkers, this is the really, really hard part of life.

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What is Giftedness? Its Meaning and Use in Coaching

As a coach for the gifted, I devote my work to supporting intellectually advanced and intense, or “gifted”, adults because I believe in the importance and potential of these unique, if sometimes overlooked or misunderstood, individuals. But I regularly encounter a lot of confusion about the subject, both in the general public and in “gifted” individuals themselves. What is “giftedness”? And why does it matter? And what is coaching gifted people all about?

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Self-kindness for Life Balance

I often work with clients who want better life balance – better balance between work, personal, and family priorities. Difficulty with this issue could perhaps best be titled the “Syndrome of Too Many Priorities,” and I try to help clients resolve the dilemma by teaching them to practice regular questioning, self-honesty and self-kindness. How do these practices help restore life balance?

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Dr. Hawkins and a Map of Consciousness

Dr. David R. Hawkins was a Spiritual Teacher, Consciousness Researcher, and Psychiatrist whose work changed, and continues to positively influence, my life. Before I discovered his work, I felt stuck, trying to evolve in a world of people that “didn’t understand me” (or so I thought). With his insight, I was able to finally take charge of my own future.

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“Respect the Symptom”

Respect the Symptom: This was one of the four basic teachings of child psychologist and author Bruno Bettelheim.  I start here, just having finished a first reading of psychiatrist and author Elio Frattaroli’s challenging and necessary book Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: Becoming Conscious in an Unconscious World (2001).  In it, Frattaroli recounts, among other…

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