As most of you know, giftedness is not something that ends with childhood. It is a way of seeing the world and processing information that remains throughout your life. That is especially true with the emotional aspects of giftedness. The intensity takes on a different look, as the gifted child becomes a gifted adult and develops different coping skills. But, the emotional intensity remains is just as much a part of the gifted adult as it is the child.
In the past I’ve done a few interviews with gifted adults. For this post, I decided to merge the answers and really provide some insight as to what some gifted adults think about growing up gifted.
CF: When did you find out you were gifted?
GA: I started participating in some unique activities and classes in school. That’s when I figured out that I had some sort of label. But it wasn’t until high school that I found out I actually had the label of being gifted.
CF: What did the label mean to you?
GA : Nothing really. Maybe that was smarter than some of my friends – that school was a little easier.
CF: Does it mean anything to you as an adult?
GA: Actually, yes. As I’ve come to understand more about the intensity that typically goes along with giftedness (thanks for that Christine), I am realizing that some of my somewhat crazy behavior in my teens and as an adult may actually be related to being gifted.
CF: Crazy behavior? Tell me more about that.
GA: Oh you know, things like overreacting to stress, throwing things around my room in high school when I was stressed out about school; feeling like the world would end when I made a mistake or got a score below 100% on something. Even now, as an adult, I get a little freaked when my boss tries to tell me I made a mistake on something. It isn’t that I think I can’t make a mistake. In fact, frequently I am pretty certain I make millions of them every day. It’s that I am mortified when I do. Then I get mad at myself for my reaction – for the emotional aspects of it.
CF: Are there any other kinds of things that you do that you relate to your giftedness.
GA: HA! I describe myself as passionate. But really, that just means that I am very very emotional. For years I thought it was hormones, or some chemical imbalance. But as I’ve developed a deeper understand of what it means to be gifted (I have attended informational meetings for my kids on this topic), I realize that I’m not imbalanced – just intense. Now I am learning to embrace the intensity; make it work for me instead of against me. I have learned that I need to take breaks, find friends that process the world in a similar fashion and reel in my overactive brain from time to time. But, as long as I do these things, I can keep the more negative aspects in check.
CF: Thanks for sharing a little bit with us!
In future posts I will talk about how gifted adults find balance as well as some strategies that may help. Until then, it’s your turn – what do you find most challenging about being a gifted adult? What is the best part? Does the label even matter in adulthood?