Too Smart For Your Own Good!

How often have you heard you are too smart for your own good?  And that comes right on the tale of you are oh so smart, look at all you know.  Yep, mixed messages.  At one point you are admired and respected for your knowledge, genius, creativity and the next moment you are ridiculed and rejected because you are too smart and showing off.  Which is it?

This is a constant dilemma for those who are gifted.  You see solutions to problems.  You get the answers by a leap from point A to point B not by doing steps.  You see patterns that make things fit together and wonder why everyone else cannot see what is there.  You get very excited about what you have figured out, what the puzzle is, what the different aspects of the question are.  You want to discuss, share, and explore the subject or problem to the nth degree.  You want to create the story, the melody, the picture, or the dance you can see and feel.  Then you either get support and encouragement or you are told to be quiet or frowned at for disturbing the meeting.

So what do you do?  That depends on your experiences to date and your personality.  You can shrink away and hide as much as possible, you can dumb down your responses to fit in, you can be confident and express your gift with respect or disdain, you can lead or you can follow.  You may also vacillate among a variety of responses depending on the setting and where you are at, at that moment.

I know over the years I have experienced each scenario and responded with all the above options.  I have strutted to the front of the room and been delighted to teach my fellow sixth grade classmates math for the day.  I have been the only girl as a 10th grader in the junior physics class and ridiculed for knowing the answers and receiving smart remarks that I might as well fill out their homework/test papers also.  Being elected student board president of a campus organization and shrinking away from my responsibilities.   I lead a group of 50 different people to establish a specialized credentialed vocational school that was a significant contribution to the community and the field.  Successful in developing and establishing the requirement of an at-risk youth program transition from a child care facility to a treatment facility.  I have attempted to provide program changes that were rejected because “we have done things this way forever” or “that is too much change and won’t work” and changing to just doing my job.

The key is feeling comfortable with myself, my gifts, and my abilities.  Another contributing factor is in the presentation of the ideas, concepts, or solutions so that, others can accept, respect, be part of the process, and contribute to the results.  You can also be selective in the format that you utilize your “smarts”; choosing a field or venue that allows you to produce alone and that put it out there for the world to accept or not.  The field can be one that you are to work alone with a specific dedicated “problem” to solve and with a solution comes recognition.

What else is important is being true to yourself and your gifts.  Honor your needs and potential.  Knowing your own gifts, talents, and what you can create is also a responsibility.  The responsibility provides meaning and purpose to your life.  Figure out how to express your gifts for your own joy and / or the benefit of your community.

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