How can being "gifted" affect your life as an adult?
How do you know whether you’re gifted?
In her book, Too Smart to be Happy? (a French title), psychologist Jeanne Siaud-Facchin notes that gifted people often don’t recognize their giftedness. According to the author, one of the characteristics of intelligence is that it doubts itself. Consequently, gifted people don’t think of themselves as gifted. Siaud-Facchin also notes that giftedness is about much more than intelligence: it is also about heart, emotions, and a particular way of interacting with the world.
She adds that to be gifted is to possess both powerful intelligence and intense sensitivity that impact every aspect of life. Giftedness, like any other categorization of personality, isn’t a matter of black-and-white, “you are or you aren’t.” Everyone is different, and not all gifted people present the traits discussed here to the same degree, but as general descriptions they can be helpful as a tool for helping you fulfill your true potential.
Giftedness and hypersensitivity
Like children, gifted adults have a great capacity for wonder. They can be overcome by profound joy at the most gentle prompting, or completely devastated by the slightest injustice. They also tend to be very susceptible to humiliation. Because of their extreme sensitivity, their reactions are sometimes excessive. As a result, gifted people generally possess deep empathy and feel concerned about everyone else. They absorb the emotions of others, which can provoke feelings of guilt: how can I be happy while others suffer? Properly channeled, this sensitivity and empathy can make them great saints, philanthropists, or artists.
Gifted adults are often sharply perceptive — not only about the world, but about themselves. But these heightened capacities can sometimes be destabilizing.
Gifted people tend to be very aware of their limits and feel perpetually dissatisfied. They may seek frequent change in an attempt to find the satisfaction that eludes them. Regrets often feature prominently in their minds. However, this insight can also be a blessing. Clear-sightedness about limitations and failings makes it possible to find solutions and to make progress, and can also be paired with a greater appreciation of success, beauty, goodness, and truth.
Seeing the possibilities
Gifted people may be beset by many fears. In daily life, they can end up anxiously considering everything that might go wrong. Conversely, this mental exploration of possibilities can also lead to great creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Gifted people may have difficulty handling their intense interior life of the imagination. Their thoughts can drift into unwanted daydreams and vivid imaginary scenarios, both good and bad. Their strong emotions can overwhelm them. In some cases, this can lead to isolation and a strong perception of being different. If they channel this vivid interior world properly, they can become great storytellers.
Striving for perfection
Gifted people strive for perfection in everything they do. When perfection seems unattainable, this type of perfectionism can result in inertia or paralysis. It is important for them to learn to prioritize, according to the importance and purpose of the matter at hand: sometimes, “good enough” is perfect, so we can focus on doing other things of greater importance perfectly.
Giftedness is also accompanied by high ideals. These type of people want to make an impact on the world. Combined with their creativity, insight, and empathy, they can be true world-changers — even if that world is just the lives of the people in their local community.
Marching to the beat of their own drum
Gifted people often feel out of sync with others. They might be ahead, stalled, or behind …
Gifted people can become “stalled” when they focus on a minor detail that interests no one else, but is of capital importance to them. They may remain in place while others continue to advance. This can be of great value, because that detail that catches their attention may actually be key to solving a problem or making a discovery.
Gifted people might be “behind” on achieving such goals as fame, money, or material goods, but they probably don’t care. As they see it, other people grant too much importance to values that should be secondary, without asking themselves important questions, such as: Where am I going? What am I doing with my life? What am I trying to obtain? What are my priorities?
Once again, this feeling of being out of step can provoke a sense of solitude, as it highlights the distance between the gifted person and the world and between him and others, even within the family. However, their capacity for empathy can help them build bridges with people who are different from them.
Do you identify with this description of giftedness?
If you’re curious what a professional would say, have yourself assessed. Knowing the truth about yourself can help you take charge of your life. It encourages you to be who you really are, without pretense. Also, being reminded that you are gifted can help you remember that every gift comes from a Giver, who is always there to help us use our gifts to the best advantage for ourselves and for others, in accordance with His will.