Posted by Cat Robson
For most of my life, finding friends and work that honored my intensity and intelligence wasn’t an issue for me.
I thought I was just weird and damaged and that my loneliness was deserved.
“Calm down,” “You take things too seriously,” “You’re so intense.”
Most people seem calm and unphased by a world that for me is often emotionally overwhelming, deeply troubling and unjust.
In her illuminating article ‘On Being “Too Much” to the Right of the Curve’, former SENG Director Heidi Molbak [photo] talks about the dilemmas of giftedness. Here is an excerpt:
When I took my first statistics class, I thought about the bell curve in a new way; I was saddened but comforted. There on the page of my textbook was a pictorial representation of the struggle and isolation of giftedness.
I saw IQ scores above 130 off to the right, scores of 145 even further to the right, and over 160 so far “out there” that the term “outlier” seemed an understatement.
The percentage of the population that scored over there on the far right was so small, and the percentage of the population to the left of 130 seemed huge and daunting.
No wonder. No wonder the need for connection with others can be hard to meet among gifted people.
No wonder many gifted children cannot find friends in high school who share their passion for medieval history, black holes, and writing.
No wonder it’s so hard to find other third graders who feel overwhelmed with emotion when they see a painting, hear a piece of music, or discover Fibonacci numbers.
But we are comforted at the same time because the bell curve on the textbook page showed us why gifted people struggle to find understanding with so many people.
There are fewer people who experience life from the same lens as a gifted person.
Humans crave the feeling that comes with knowing someone else “gets” them. We all want that friend who finds our jokes funny and clever, shares our same level of concern about global warming, and has the same level of intensity that we do.
Often gifted individuals are “too much” for the people who surround them in their daily lives. And they know this because they are told as much on a frequent basis.
Their thoughts, feelings, and ideas do contribute significantly to humankind. It’s just that humankind doesn’t always let them know how much they are appreciated.
You can love someone in your life whose intensities are strong by showing them through words that you accept them just the way they are.
You’re not too much for me, honey. You’re just right!
Learning to manage your intense feelings, thoughts, and ideas is a big job. It takes a lot of work and a lot of loving yourself. I’m there alongside you as you go on this journey.
There may be fewer children who enjoy the same things you do, but we can find kindred spirits together through hobbies, online interest groups, and mentors.
The thrill that comes with intense learning and excitability is a rush to be enjoyed!
Finding people who get you and who don’t find you “too much” is challenging when the pool of people is smaller over on the right of the bell curve.
Give the gift of love and acceptance to the gifted people in your life. It will last longer than roses and taste sweeter than chocolate.
Site: High Ability
Articles: High Ability – gifted/talented
Mary-Elaine Jacobsen. The Gifted Adult
Marylou Kelly Streznewski. Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential.