Do You Feel like Not Enough and Too Much at the Same Time? You May Have a Rainforest Mind.
Do people tell you to lighten up when you’re just trying to enlighten them?
Do you see ecru, beige, sand, and eggshell when others see white?
Are you overwhelmed by itchy clothes, strong smells, clashing colors, bad architecture, angry strangers, needy friends, breathtaking sunsets, and global suffering?
Do you spend hours seeking the exact word, the right note, the perfect gift, the finest color, the most meaningful discussion, or the deepest connection?
Do you find deciding about your future career and what color to paint the bedroom equally daunting?
Have you met too many chainsaws?
If you answered Yes to most of these questions, then you may have a rainforest mind.
Does it matter if you know this?
You bet it does.
Rainforest-minded souls are highly sensitive, intuitive, creative and smart. They’re often misunderstood and misdiagnosed by others and themselves. You may have been misdiagnosed with OCD, ADHD, or bipolar disorder. You may have been called a know-it-all or a geek or an over-thinker. You may have been told that you think too much, that you feel too much, that you know too much.
If you can realize that your too-much-ness is a result of a deeply sensitive, capable and unique soulfulness, you might then be able to find your voice and your purpose in this wild world, instead of misinterpreting your anxiety or depression or loneliness to mean that you’re a slacker, a weirdo and a freak.
Granted, you may be dealing with both anxiety and depression. Granted, you may have grown up in a dysfunctional family that has distorted your self-understanding. Granted, you may have trouble relating to other humans. But, even so, finding this particular piece of your puzzle can make a huge difference.
I mean it.
I’ve seen it.
Take Maggie, for example. At 16, Maggie talked and thought at warp speed. She loved debate, chemistry, art, philosophy and anthropology. And more. She was reading like a maniac at age 4, and writing lengthy stories about mythological creatures when she was eight. She loved learning but was told by teachers, “No one likes a know-it-all,” and to wait until the other students caught up to her.
Maggie preferred mathematics to the mall. She had exceptionally high standards for her work, and engaged in endless research when she was interested in a topic. You might say that she was a severely curious persnickety perfectionist.
Then there was Mario, 34. Open-hearted, sensitive and smart, he struggled in school to memorize multiplication facts and manage his anxiety during tests. He was in and out of college for 15 years without graduating, changing majors several times as he had so many interests and couldn’t choose just one career path. Mario was told to tone down his enthusiasm and hide his deep emotions.
He was a self-taught IT expert, distraught over the way natural resources were wasted and how humans were ignoring climate change. You might say that Mario was a brilliant college dropout who was an exceptional wonderer.
And Susan. At 53, she’d never found a lasting relationship. Her knowledge of biology, art, feminism and mythology was vast and deep. She longed for a partner who could follow her musings and not be overwhelmed by her effervescence. She had difficulty simplifying her communication with others, and didn’t realize that what was obvious to her wasn’t always clear to anyone else.
Mentors were always a disappointment. She found solace in her powerful spiritual connection to nature. You might say that Susan was an articulate, lonely empathic enthusiast.
These are examples of humans I’ve known with rainforest minds. They all felt like they were not enough and too much at the same time.
When they began to understand that their painful experiences were the result of their rainforest minds and not due to their over-thinking lazy dysfunctional craziness, they started to blossom: To feel confidence. To meet companions. To speak out more fully. To find purpose. To discover meaning. To make the world a better place.
To live like the thriving rain forest…
… in peace, grace, balance, and beauty, and in support of all beings on the planet.
Paula Prober is a psychotherapist, blogger, author, consultant and tango dancer living in Eugene, Oregon. She blogs at Your Rainforest Mind, a blog in support of the excessively curious, creative, smart and sensitive. She writes about mental, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health for know-it-alls, geeks, dropouts, perfectionists, wonderers and empaths in her book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth.