Intense inner disharmony can sometimes accompany the experience of giftedness. But rather than framing this disharmony as mental weakness or illness, Dabrowski looked at it as a catalyst for advanced personality development. Learn about Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities, Theory of Positive Disintegration and the climb toward gifted self-actualization in this article.
Clients often come to me in a state of agitation, impatience and panic (real or existential, sometimes both), wanting a “magic solution” for their current dilemma – which is, in fact, a microcosmic representation or symptom of their overall life dilemma. And while I really do have a “magic solution” to share with them, it’s never what they expect, and like any good magic trick, it takes practice to master. The magic solution? Gratitude.
Many of us conceptualize “struggle” as “bad.” In our limited view, we consider that to struggle means to be in pain, and that to be in pain is bad. But it is exactly this reasoning that has caused so many of us to fall repeatedly into cycles of struggle recreation (often called self-defeating behavior patterns): to avoid struggle is to short-circuit a natural and necessary growth process, keeping us in a “Groundhog Day” pattern of personal and relational problems. How can we resolve this dilemma?
The little girl with no needs. The little boy who takes care of mom. Premature maturity, is in fact, no escape from having needs or needing to be taken care of. It is not an escape from being a child, and it is in fact, not often maturity at all. Premature maturity is something else more painful: it is our childish attempt to buy (negotiate) a sense of security in a world of confusion, chaos, pain, death, illness, and feelings of loneliness and abandon. If we are just mature enough, maybe someone will care, will love us, will help us. Or if we are just strong enough, maybe the family can stay together, mom can get better, dad will love us, we’ll find our place in life.
Visionaries aren’t just “people with lots of ideas.” Rather, a visionary’s brain has an astounding ability to make sense of seemingly millions of complex associations at lightning speed, working and reworking the puzzle of an uncountable number of infinitesimal factors, and seeing possibilities and obstacles that many couldn’t have conceptualized given a year’s time to reflect, research and plan. On one hand, it’s fun be a visionary! On the other, there arrives a moment when all of the speedy imagining must slow down: the connections have to converge in order for the brain and mind to focus on the attainment of a singular integrated goal. And for many visionaries and other types of global thinkers, this is the really, really hard part of life.
As a coach for the gifted, I devote my work to supporting intellectually advanced and intense, or “gifted”, adults because I believe in the importance and potential of these unique, if sometimes overlooked or misunderstood, individuals. But I regularly encounter a lot of confusion about the subject, both in the general public and in “gifted” individuals themselves. What is “giftedness”? And why does it matter? And what is coaching gifted people all about?
I often work with clients who want better life balance – better balance between work, personal, and family priorities. Difficulty with this issue could perhaps best be titled the “Syndrome of Too Many Priorities,” and I try to help clients resolve the dilemma by teaching them to practice regular questioning, self-honesty and self-kindness. How do these practices help restore life balance?