I am giftedWhat does it mean to be gifted? Many people never know – and that includes many of those who are themselves gifted. It’s not just that others misunderstand the gifted. They also misunderstand themselves. They often don’t feel as though they fit it – anywhere – no matter how hard they try. They may go through life believing there is something wrong with them. You will never hear them say,  “I am gifted.”

If a gifted child has no idea she is gifted, she will not understand why she hates the feel of sand in her shoes, causing her to stop and clean them out while the other children are running around happily ignoring the feeling. Or she won’t understand why childhood insults cut her to the quick while the other kids seem forget them before the day is over. She won’t understand why everyone else seems to be thinking in slow motion while she is thinking in light speed.

If a gifted teen has no idea he is gifted, he won’t understand why it’s so hard for him to focus on school work and get his assignments done, when at home he is researching and writing about issues in organic chemistry. Or he may not understand why he believes he is stupid because the solution to a problem doesn’t come to him in ten seconds.

If a gifted adult has no idea she is gifted, she may attribute her failures in both her personal and professional life to be a sign of her being a misfit, of being different. She won’t understand that trying to be like everyone else is unlikely to help her. Even when she is successful, she may feel like a fraud, like an impostor, and will live in fear that she will be found out.

What about those who know they are gifted? They may better understand themselves, but they mostly keep quiet about their giftedness – even when they are in a roomful of gifted people. Why is that?

Admitting to being gifted is like admitting to being an alcoholic or drug addict. We say addicts should feel no shame and that we should support them, but ask an addict about how easy it is to admit their addiction. The first step is to admit the problem to yourself. Even that is uncomfortable for an addict – and for most gifted people.

But admitting that you’re an addict – or gifted – to yourself is just the first step toward self-awareness and healing. Once we admit it, we can be open about it with others. At this point, we aren’t just helping ourselves – we are helping others. What did we experience as a gifted child? A gifted teen? A gifted adult? What did we think? How did we feel? What were our relationships like? What was school like for us? When we share, we help others know that they aren’t alone. We can help those who struggle with their identity.

There is no shame in being gifted. We are born that way. Admitting to being gifted isn’t bragging either. No one is likely to walk into a room full of strangers and randomly shout out that they are gifted any more than someone is likely to walk into a room full of strangers and randomly shout out that they are a drug addict. Context makes a difference.

It really is time to come out of the shadows and admit who we are, share our stories of what it’s really like to be gifted. Let’s help others understand us better and help those who don’t yet realize that they are gifted.

I’ll start. My name is Carol and I am  gifted.

I wrote a story about my life , which you can read to get started. Please share your story here. If you have a website, share your story there and provide a link here. If you have no website and would like to share your story, but it’s too long to fit here, let me know. You can write a guest post that I will post.

Carol BainbridgeAbout Giftednessgifted adults,giftedness,i am gifted,support
What does it mean to be gifted? Many people never know - and that includes many of those who are themselves gifted. It's not just that others misunderstand the gifted. They also misunderstand themselves. They often don't feel as though they fit it - anywhere - no matter how...