How is it possible to simultaneously feel like you are just too much and like you’ll never be enough? It is easy, actually, if you have a rainforest mind. And almost every multipotentialite I know has one. Myself included.
What is a rainforest mind?
After a few years of working with gifted children in schools, I felt I needed new language to describe the kids I worked with. I came up with the concept of the rainforest mind as a way to describe giftedness that other teachers could understand and accept, so they would be more comfortable letting me work with their students.
I suggested that people are like ecosystems. For example, they are like deserts or meadows or volcanoes, or rainforests. All are valuable and beautiful. They all contribute to our collective well-being. The rainforest is just the most complex. It is highly sensitive, creative, colorful, intense, prolific, intelligent, effervescent, and misunderstood. Like those kids. Like me. Perhaps, like you?
(By the way, you may or may not have been identified as a gifted child in school. You may not even like the word gifted. Many people I know feel uncomfortable with the label. Try not to let that get in the way of considering that you might have a rainforest mind. OK?)
Why do I feel like too much?
People tell you. Often. You are told to quiet down, calm down, slow down and dumb down. You talk fast and you think fast. Your brain is on warp drive all the time. Even when you sleep. If you can sleep, that is.
You may have been told any or all of the following: You question too much. You read too much. You think too much. You feel too much. You talk too much. You research too much. You do too much. You know too much.
Or, maybe you were told: You are too intense. Too sensitive. Too empathetic. Too curious. Too obsessive. Too smart. Too geeky. Too emotional. Too self-absorbed. Too compassionate. Too introspective. Too intuitive. Too analytical. Too anxious. Too creative. Too idealistic. Too weird.
Even if you were raised by loving accepting parents, they may have felt overwhelmed and not known how to feed your voracious appetite for understanding the theory of everything. Your interpretation of their responses, and the reactions of teachers, relatives, friends, and neighbors, may have been why you felt like you needed to shrink or become invisible. There was just too much of you.
And, on some days, you just might overwhelm yourself.
Why do I feel like not enough?
There are many reasons you might feel this way. Here are some of them:
You know how much you don’t know. You haven’t invented anything “insanely great.” You’ll never meet your high expectations. You dropped out of college. You dropped out of elementary school. You have too many interests. You haven’t settled on one career. You don’t have friends. You haven’t lived up to “your great potential.” You are easily overwhelmed. Your friends do so much more than you do. Your gifted child is getting bad grades in school and hitting kids on the playground. You make mistakes. You couldn’t save your parents from their dysfunctional patterns.
You see, folks with rainforest minds often put pressure on themselves to be high achievers. If you were praised excessively for your achievements as a child because you had advanced abilities, your self-worth may now depend on what you can do instead of on who you are. Not only that. You may need the bar to be high because your deepest soul demands it. High standards are important to you.
Either way, it is tough to sustain. So you believe you are inadequate, not smart enough, not good enough. Not enough.
The complexity of the rainforest mind is a superpower
Think about it this way: If you have a rainforest mind, pretty much everything about you is more. It is not too much. It is just more. Wider. Deeper. It is natural for the jungle to be more. More life. More death. More growth. More wild. More you.
And, of course, not everyone is comfortable in the jungle. So there are people in your life who do not get you – who wish you were a meadow instead of a rainforest. And because your moreness probably includes certain amounts of self-analysis, self-criticism, self-doubt, and self-awareness, it leads you to, you guessed it: Not enoughness.
But here is the good news. You are capable of embracing contradictions. You enjoy paradox. You thrive on mystery and complexity.
Too much? Not enough? At the same time? No problem.
The rainforest holds it all. And then some.
Do you think you have a rainforest mind? Does simultaneously being too much and not enough resonate with you, as a multipotentialite? Share your thoughts in the comments!