Gifted is good, right?
To be gifted is to belong to an invisible minority – a society so secret that many people don’t even know they are members. Still, we recognize each other. The friend whose conversations are as fulfilling as good literature, the classmate who delves deeply into esoteric topics, the colleague who laughs at your allusions and gives you knowing and supportive looks during staff meetings – those rare people who seem to really understand.
Often, being gifted means being misunderstood. Many gifted people grow up being told they are too sensitive, hyperactive, over-the-top, exhausting, or intense. Gifted children may get labeled as strong-willed, defiant, underachievers, daydreamers, or arrogant. Gifted adults may be told they are insensitive, too emotional, perfectionistic, idealistic, or complicated. Sometimes the professionals get involved and provide official-sounding labels such as Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Mania, or a host of other diagnoses.
It is also true that being gifted means experiencing life more fully, connecting more deeply, and contributing meaningfully to society. Gifted children and adults have vivid imaginations, are creative and resourceful, and have incredible amounts of energy. When gifted people identify their passions, there can be no stopping them. People who appreciate the gifted find them exciting, interesting, funny, motivating, and inspiring.
So is it good to be gifted? Like everyone, gifted people have the tasks of learning to know themselves and finding their place in the world. This is more easily attainable if we are blessed with people in our lives who understand us, truly appreciate our gifts, and support our idiosyncratic path. If we are missing those people in our lives, we may struggle to feel like our lives make sense and have the meaning we want them to. And of course, gifted people DO sometimes struggle with depression, anxiety, relationships, or other mental health concerns.
Gifted people are people first, and, just like any minority, are more different from each other than alike. Like everyone, the gifted need a community of people who understand, offer support, and care. When I am part of that community, it is always my honor and pleasure to be part of the journey.
"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."
My friend Lisa VanGemert is the Gifted Guru
Friendship 101 article published in the Mensa Bulletin February 2013
Adult Giftedness Self-Tests on the Rocamora School Website