Gifted individuals are the vibrant souls that (consciously or subconsciously) illuminate our world with creativity, innovation, and brilliance. Yet, beneath their exceptional abilities often lies a deep, sticky complex of denied self-worth.
The main reason behind this is the lack of proper mirroring, the process by which individuals, especially during childhood and adolescence, come to understand themselves through the responses and feedback they receive from those around them.
Many gifted individuals, often inclined to question conventional norms, explore subjects beyond their age, and express unconventional ideas and interests, lack the crucial mirroring and validation they require from others. This absence of essentially psychological momentum prompts them to hide their exceptional ideas, repress their creativity, and withhold their innovative and futuristic concepts.
Almost no environments, whether at home, school or the broader community, have enough knowledge and capability to provide the necessary mirroring for these exceptional minds. The absence of a supportive and validating presence leads gifted individuals to start to serve society, ultimately burying their potential.
Lack of proper mirroring impacts gifted individuals as:
– isolation: struggling to find peers who share their interests or can engage in discussions on their level can lead to feelings of being misunderstood or even rejected by their peers and to devastating feelings of alienation,
– perfectionism: setting impossibly high standards for themselves that, for them, seem normal, leads to a painful perception of being a failure if not met, and, therefore, even lower self-worth,
– imposter syndrome: they attribute their achievements to external factors or luck rather than acknowledging their genuine talents, which result from a lack of affirmation and validation of their abilities that runs from early childhood (mirroring),
– identity confusion: without the proper mirroring, gifted individuals might struggle to define their identity and place in the world. They question whether their unique qualities are a source of pride or a burden. They don’t recognize that ‘the others’ are not gifted; therefore, they assume everyone has the same capabilities. Confusion can lead to severe misconceptions of one’s identity, depression, and passivity.
– emotional struggles: the emotional toll of not having their giftedness mirrored can manifest in anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even suicidal tendencies.
To address these challenges and nurture the self-worth of gifted individuals, it’s crucial to create environments where their unique qualities are acknowledged, celebrated, and supported.
Providing opportunities for meaningful connections with like-minded peers, mentors, and educators who understand and appreciate their giftedness can make a PROFOUND difference.