Episode 4 explores our knowledge (and lack thereof) of our gifted-specific needs. To do so, we explore how in response to gifted-specific trauma, we often use symbols to represent ourselves to ourselves, and thus we get distanced from a present-moment awareness of our gifted-specific needs. It's a negative feedback-loop, and here we explore how it happens, and how to exit the loop and become aware of and dynamically responsive to your own gifted needs.
Here's a part of our episode that summarizes our exploration quite well:
"The main symbol that comes to my mind when I think about gifted trauma is the word 'alien'. 'I feel like an alien' is the most common gifted thing that I hear in terms of unmet needs. Symbolism can often be very comforting for us because it allows us to put a name to the pain and any of us who have practiced mindfulness know it's hard to sit with pain, especially when you have no idea how you're going to solve it. When you're not able to be aware of your gifted-specific needs, you don't know how to solve them. Getting your needs met requires that you be able to be aware of them first, and then you're able to take steps, you're able to identify resources, you're able to have courage to reach out, there's room for experimentation and failure. It's a long process, so if you can't even be aware of them to begin with, then there's no hope for getting them met. And that's where you start to see this hopelessness, or whatever immediate feeling, that gets into this habit of using symbols to explain the situation, like 'I'm an alien'. And it's a very accurate symbol, because how am I supposed to know what my needs are if I'm an alien? You can see how you enter into this symbolic representation of your own existence, of your own self, and it becomes this loop in your head: 'what does an alien need? I don't know'. So you go back to that hopelessness, but instead of having to feel it in your body consciously, you can just mentalize it into this image. And it's this weird mix of comforting and terribly tragic.
This is something organizationally that I've been really committed to in my personal work and theoretical work on giftedness, and in creating and cultivating the culture of InterGifted: because of my own journey, it's been really important to have a strong philosophical stance that it's not cool to stay in the 'we're aliens' mentality because it's very dehumanizing. It can be an adaptive coping strategy during a time when you don't have resources to come back into your humanity and figure it out in a comfortable and safe way. But one of the issues in the rhetoric and dialog around giftedness is that there's been to some degree a cultivation of this idea that 'we're aliens', and I think that's a harmful stance to take because of the dehumanizing aspect.
A lot of the work in coaching is about getting out of the symbolism of 'alien' and saying, 'yeah, I know that's how you've represented yourself because that's been to some degree comforting, but the reality is: you're human and you have human needs - you just have this extra other thing that is not commonly defined in regular human experience, and that's the gifted set of needs'".
And then of course in the the episode, we go about exploring how you can discover what that gifted set of needs is and how you can be aware of them and meet them.
You can find links to the resources mentioned in our episode via: www.intergifted.com/conversations-gifted-trauma
Learn more about coaching, mentoring, therapy and our workshops and courses at: wwwintergifted.com
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