wisdom

Gifted People: You Have Strength, Not a Negative Trait.

 

I only found out I was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) two years ago, but then after researching giftedness recently, I fit the profile.

Emotional intelligence and empathy are the main hallmarks of giftedness, but there are other traits listed below.

Here are a few ways I fit the picture:

  • In eighth grade, I had to take some tests at school as I was having difficulties in some subjects. However, upon the results being revealed, it was discovered I had the verbal intelligence of a 17-year-old at age 13. That was balanced out with a fourth grade level in maths, but I wasn’t going to go into science anyways. Besides, in this day and age, everything can be calculated with a device. I don’t know if it was because I grew up around adults as an only child or because my mother read to me and my grandmother encouraged me to read.
  • I was 14 when my mother, a family friend, and I were on a farm scavenger hunt during a fall fair. One of the questions on the scavenger sheet was What’s the famous red rock in the Australian outback? My mother and her friend were thinking, dumbfounded. I piped up Uluru without much hesitation. They were surprised and wrote the answer down. I don’t know how I knew it was the right answer, but I guess those hours at the library paid off and having that superb memory helped too!
  • When it comes to jobs, it’s been an array of temporary roles. Dog-sitter. Dog trainer. House-sitter. Paper-deliverer. Office cleaner. Store-delivery-packager. Freelance writer. Aspiring novelist. Like a typical mercurial Virgo, my dream career changes. I want to go into forensic anthropology. Work as an intelligence analyst at Europol. Run a cat sanctuary. Even though I’m anti-military, I find military studies intriguing, especially concerning women as victims of war and as combatants. I’ve even toyed with being a screenwriter and fashion designer. I love movies and fashion and I drew clothes when I was younger. It’s crazy, and I still feel directionless. Novel-writing is competitive and there is no guarantee of earning a big paycheck. I do have a history degree, but degrees don’t guarantee a whole lot these days. Blogging and screenwriting are just like novel-writing, highly competitive. I’ve considered going into fashion design and finally completing a certificate in intelligence analysis, pending my health allows it.

The following is a list of positive and negative traits of gifted people.

Positive traits:

  • Good memory.
  • Both a big-picture and detail-oriented person.
  • Curious and good learner/teacher.
  • Broad range of interests/skills that improve over time.
  • Righteous, conscientious, and justice/truth-seeking, often activists of some cause.
  • Independent thinker, non-conformist, enjoys deep stimulating discussions.
  • Flexible in beliefs/openness to new experiences.
  • Adaptable.
  • Analytical/logical/sees all perspectives or sides.
  • Artistic/creative/imaginative.
  • Prefer cooperation to competition/conflict.
  • Fast thinker/grasps ideas quicker.
  • Good at reading between the lines; in other words, good lie-detectors.
  • Gifted children prefer the company of adults, compared to their other peers, which might allow them to mature a little faster.
  • Self-directed in work, prefer to work solo or in small groups of like-minded people; no need to micromanage these folks.
  • Good with animals/likes nature/enjoys art in many forms (film, literature, music, etc.).
  • Connects the dots, which may seem unrelated to other people.
  • Zany sense of humor.
  • Interested in meanings/good with symbolism/likes esoteric knowledge.
  • Rich inner life.
  • Idealistic and realistic.
  • Motivated/driven, which can often lead to burnout and/or chronic health issues like fibromyalgia.
  • Doesn’t like authority/rules/structure.
  • Sees things holistically.
  • Good observation skills.
  • Good work ethic/has high standards for themselves and others.
  • Likes mysteries/riddles/puzzles.
  • Self-reflective/introspective, almost to a fault.

Negative traits:

  • Points out holes in people’s ideas/plans or calling people out on their BS (which puts off some people); gifted individuals seem to trigger something in people who have not healed from past trauma.
  • May get pushback from employers/authorities.
  • Feel out of place and find it harder to make friends who get them.
  • More sensitive to pain, both mental and physical.
  • May ruminate more.
  • May have obsessions.
  • Can be at risk of being pathologized by mental health professionals and diagnosed as ADHD or BPD as they are more moody/erratic than other. Not to say they could not have some mental health issues, but in some cases abnormal is actually normal.
  • More likely to overthink and have anxiety.
  • More likely trauma will affect them (developmental trauma, bullying, work-related harassment, etc.).
  • Impatient with other people/life for not matching their speed of thought/enlightenment.
  • Sleep issues abound; their brain simply cannot shut off for the night!
  • Can often be labelled by other people as narcissistic or know-it-all, maybe even snobs or all-in-their-heads.
  • May be perfectionists.
  • Rejection-sensitive (more likely if they had rejecting parents or caregivers in early life).
  • Can be a jack of all trades, master of none. It’s hard for them to find constant work/careers, because novelty is something they strive for, and repetitive things are boring to them.
  • Can be easily stressed when there’s lots of stuff to do in a small window of time.
  • Can suffer from imposter syndrome and low self-esteem.
  • Wants to pursue meaning in life/career so there’s always a sense of a hole existing in some way. Coupling too proves difficult, as gifted people often cannot find a good match who’d tolerate their needs. They are not satisfied with conventional jobs/partners!
  • Easily startled/hypervigilant.
  • Find small talk boring and shallow.
  • Can be sensitive to external stimuli, whether that’s clothing, scents, lights, etc.
  • Might misinterpret something said or how someone acts.
  • Prone to attracting narcissists/energy vampires.
  • Prone to people-pleasing.
  • Vulnerable to stress-induced illnesses, like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
  • Might give off an impression of being slow because they don’t process as the general population does (they weigh all options, take everything into consideration, which slows down the process of decision-making).
  • Speaks bluntly, states facts. This can put some people off.

This is in comparison to the mass of society that makes a decision without much thought for consequences or outcomes.

  • Gifted people also do not learn like the mass of society. Often typed as INFJs or ISFJs on the MBTI (I am one), they learn in a spiderweb fashion. Something propels more digging into something, which leads to another interesting find, and so on and so forth, as opposed to a straightforward learning method that most people have.
  • Their high standards impress some people, but for others, it may come off as demanding, bossy or intense.
  • For some gifted people, they may feel obligated to live up to their expectations, which puts lots of pressure on themselves.
  • People tend to take advantage of their advice-giving/kind nature, so gifted individuals can overextend themselves. They must learn boundaries and assess relationships regularly.

There are a few things gifted people can do to help better understand themselves and educate others on the matter.

  • Take a test or check as many criteria off a profile as possible.
  • Learn about it (there are hundreds of resources out there).
  • Accept the negative stuff that might be viewed that way because most people don’t operate in a gifted way.
  • Get help/support from a gifted group or therapist who specializes in giftedness.

Being gifted should be seen as a strength, something to be proud of. I hope this article helped you all know you’re not alone. I also hope that friends, family, employers and partners of gifted people will understand them better. The gifted among us should come forth to show everyone who they truly are and use their giftedness to help a society greatly in need of help.

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Jade Bald is a freelance writer from Ontario, Canada. You could connect with her via her website or Pinterest.

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