As an adult acknowledging and sharing oneself as gifted is a challenge.
Many gifted adults were identified as children and then of course they “outgrew” being gifted. Other gifted adults were never identified and struggle with being different and, of course, having a condition (whatever label that may have been assimilated/provided). Yet, other gifted adults, may see themselves through different eyes as they raise gifted children – wake up call, validation, coincidence. And yes, there are those who knew and know they are gifted relating to those factors readily on a day to day basis.
Coming out gifted is as important and difficult, in many cases, as – gender preferences, experiencing domestic violence, learning disabilities, and mental health dynamics – the hidden differences. Being human involves having personal preferences and biases – from different points of view, experiences, culture. However, that can still create uncomfortable and potential risky situations. Yet, we have seen increased understanding through information facilitates communication and more positive interactions.
My experience is: knowing I was smart and different and minimizing lots of the effects through early childhood with moving as a military dependent. As a teen, being faced with several biases simultaneously and internalizing the consequences of being different with significant pain and resiliency. Change was part of my life. Leaving and learning was too. Being responsible and moving forward was another aspect. All that is good and yet has it disadvantages, also. I developed strategies of meeting many expectations (mine, parents, and others) and my needs. Some of those strategies included blending in, dumbing down, minimizing emotional response, leading from others perspectives, and being selective on goals / dreams.
Coming out gifted for me means – gaining understanding of being gifted, my giftedness, and other factors that impact who I am; overcoming the void of not fitting in and attempting mediocrity, as well as the intensity and expectations; developing skills needed that do not come easy, mastery of my talents, and balance of all the facets of being gifted and life; expressing giftedness with exuberance just for me and for the world; and finally connecting with myself, others like me, others around me and those marvelous dots.
Our world society is talking about needing a renaissance to manage the mess we are in today (messes have existed throughout history so that is not new). A renaissance involves creativity, innovation, change, leadership, respect, passion, compassion, ideas, discoveries, new thought, etc. Thus we see and need minds that go beyond, that are exceptional, that make leaps, and that see the big picture. And, those minds belong to gifted adults and adults-to-be. You and me!
There are discussions happening from different perspectives (business, education, coaching, counseling, leadership training, nonconformity, uncollege, etc.) to discover and express your abilities, passions, dreams to meet your needs and create change for the better. True not all of that refers to being “gifted”, but an emphasis on self-development and beneficial interchange for the world. We, as gifted, need to be part of that trend/revolution.
Opportunities to gain more understanding and interact with others are available with:
Giftedness across the Life Span: When it Looks Like Psychopathology but Isn’t
Presented and developed by Lisa Erickson, MS, LMHC April 6th, 2012 This workshop is for Mental Health Professionals
“Giftedness can be easy to miss. The psychological characteristics of giftedness are not recognized by most clinicians. But, their effect on treatment can be strongly positive or negative. Gifted people may be misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities, mood disorders, or Axis II disorders, including narcissism. They may also have difficulties with addictions. If you are having challenges with clients not improving as expected, unidentified giftedness may be one factor to consider.”
Lisa Erickson’s article on Coming Out Gifted — http://www.cascadia-training.org/assets/docs/ComingoutGifted2.pdf
Institute for the Study of Advanced Development Director, Dr. Linda Silverman
“ISAD currently publishes the yearly Advanced Development Journal, the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to questions of adult giftedness. Last April, they even held the first-ever Symposium on Adult Giftedness. And in 2012, July19-21, they’re hosting the 10th International Dabrowski Conference. The conference is aimed at helping gifted adults and the parents of gifted kids.”
More information and perspectives can be found at my site http://www.howtoinlife.com