As another New Year looms, some of you might pause to consider who you are and what you want for the year ahead. And if you are gifted, you might question what kind of gifted person you want to become.
A strange question, I know. After all, we are who we are. We might relish the fruits of our powerful mind or creativity or intensity or even our multipotentiality - or we might resent being gifted and view it as a burden. Either way, we are no more responsible for our intellectual strengths than for our eye color. Right?
Well... perhaps we do have some control. Many studies suggest that despite the heritability of intelligence, we all are affected by our environment: the impact of pollution, nutrition, early childhood deprivation, trauma, poverty, and the quality of the education we received. Those lucky folks among us seem to have hit the lottery; a smooth, easy ride through childhood, the absence of trauma, and supportive, yet challenging families and teachers. The rest of us... well, we have struggled. Or our giftedness remained hidden or misunderstood. Or we never fully reached our potential.
As a psychologist, writer, parent, and fellow traveler along this life journey, I have encountered many gifted folks. Some enthusiastically embrace life, learning, and their amazing potential. Others suppress and hide their talents and abilities. Still, others feel bitter and angry over lost opportunities and a world that misunderstands their quirks and intensity.
The takeaway is that you, as a gifted person, are entitled to take charge of your life and utilize your talents and abilities. Your passionate engagement with what is meaningful is the best possible use of your inherent strengths. Even if you have endured trauma or a lackluster education. Even if you have been bullied or never feel quite like you fit in. Even if you make mistakes and are far from perfect. Regardless of whether you are 15 or 50 - you deserve to embrace your strengths and challenge yourself to expand your reach.
Poet Mary Oliver's wonderful quote applies here:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
What will you do? What kind of gifted person will you become?
** For more insights about giftedness, please see my new book, The Gifted Parenting Journey. Available through the publisher and on the usual bookseller sites, this book addresses a previously neglected topic in the literature: the needs and emotional life of parents of gifted children - who are often gifted, themselves.**
This blog post is a revision of a similar post from 2021.
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!