Time for another installment of the positive aspects of emotional intensity. I’ll be honest, it was a tad harder writing this article this morning. See, my own intensities are running wild at the moment, and finding the positives in the midst of the angst can be a real challenge. But, as my writing partner reminds me – I can do hard things. And I can. Like seeing the upside to things even when I am feeling less than “up”.
In the last post I tackled the attributes of perfectionism, continual worry, and stubbornness. Today, let’s look at excessive questioning (also seen as defiance), being bossy, and being rigid. If you are like me, you know the more negative aspects of these attributes all too well. But each one has a positive side too.
EXCESSIVE QUESTIONING (aka defiance) -
We all know this one – the questions that seem to come nonstop from our gifted kiddos. Sometimes there are so many we wonder if they are questioning our authority, looking to point out any flaw they can find, or worse. It can be a nightmare! But, there is a silver lining. This kind of questioning is NOT a negative thing, nor is it a sign of defiance, though it may feel like it at times. Actually, this type of questioning is related to curiosity.
And curiosity is a GREAT thing.
Curiosity spurs us to look for deeper meaning, hidden answers. It is a catalyst behind innovation and creation. It helps us refuse the status quo – all good, important things.
For me, the need to question has enabled me to develop deep philosophical beliefs, delve more deeply into my spirituality, and develop that aspect of myself. Questioning has led to my writing, and the creation of the stories that now provide such a needed respite for me. Sure, this type of questioning has drawbacks – at times I never feel satisfied. And that can be a drain on me and my relationships. But it isn’t that I feel unsettled or such, it is just the constant need to question, to explore, to discover. And what could be more necessary than that?
BEING BOSSY -
Ah, yes….Bossiness. We have all experienced this – either with our kids or ourselves. As gifted individual we have a lot of information in our heads and at our disposal; information we tend to share too readily. And in sharing, we come off bossy as we quote the rules, insist we know more, and refuse to back down when we think we are right – which is most of the time. It is a curse.
Or is it.
That trait of being in charge, taking command, knowing the answers, is also a type of leadership. People come to expect that we will have the answers. And due to some of the other aspects of giftedness, we will take the lead at times. Many gifted individuals are natural-born leaders. We see the paths not taken, the risks and potential gains in multiple situations. It’s just how our brain works.
But here’s the thing about being a leader – it is often a lonely road. That’s the part most people don’t realize. We alone shoulder the weight of our decisions and the impact of those on others. This is not a bad thing, it is just another aspect of our natural leadership qualities, and something vital in the world.
As a child I was accused of being bossy most of the time. I always had an answer for everything – and trust me, it was seldom appreciated. Over time, I learned to temper that aspect of me. It isn’t that I took less of a leadership role in things, it’s more that I no longer “needed” to be right. There was room in my life for other points of view. I learned to enhance the leadership qualities and inspire others to their own greatness. I learned to subtly lead.
Some have interpreted that as weakness. I see it as a strength. I still have strength behind my convictions, and I am no less silent on these than I was as a child. But I have come to learn that there are many paths from point A to B – and all of them have a measure of merit. I have learned that the world is far more grey, not simply black and white!
Bossiness and leadership – it is a fine line that divides the two. In fact, I would argue that they are the same trait in different forms, separated by maturity and nothing more.
BEING RIGID -
This is a lot like the stubbornness I talked about last week. Though this time, I am particularly referring to the difficulty gifted people can have when then need to multi-task, or switch from one activity to another. It is something I run across often, that task stubbornness that prevents a gifted individual of moving forward. I see it in myself when I start a new project and struggle to move forward until the first thousand or so words are “just right”.
But getting stuck is only one side of the rigidity coin. The other side is really task commitment – being able to see a project through to the end. Sticking to something until it reaches its conclusion. This is something sorely needed in our day of quick answers and short-term memories.
Gifted people are tenacious and willing to stick to things, no matter how difficulty they can become. And man, we need more of that in our world!
So there you go, a new way of looking at just a few of the more problematic aspects of giftedness. What do you think? Any positive aspects of these traits I’ve left off?