SELF-PERCEPTION AND EXTERNAL PERCEPTION
It is important to understand the particularities of highly gifted people and the differences to normally gifted people (cf. Traits and Challenges).
This will enable you to
- relate better to normally gifted people
- understand what kind of impression you make on them
- estimate the differences in interests and stimulus processing that are currently at hand
- understand at which point you overtax people and which effect that has on them
Apart from the theoretical background, practical feedback is very helpful:
- You could ask family members, friends, teachers, colleagues, therapists: “What effect do I have on you? What do you find strange or different? When? How do you perceive the world in this moment?”
- It is best to ask for feedback in the specific situation: “Could you please let me know as soon as something is strange or incomprehensible to you?” Then, you can directly discuss and think about how to dissolve the misunderstanding.
- Of course, this also works the other way: If you feel strange and don’t understand the other, you can communicate this in a friendly manner and seek dialogue and exchange.
- On the part of family members, counsellors, therapists, teachers and educators, it is very helpful to let the gifted person know, in a friendly and solution-oriented manner, if there are discrepancies or if they are causing harmful emotions or overexertion. Analyze the reason and find a solution together with the gifted person. It requires greatness to tell somebody that you are not logically following them, or notice a sense of envy, for example. There might be very personal issues involved that you need to confront, or you may have to differentiate how many people would feel the same. Gifted people (given their cognitive and emotional capacities as well as life experience), must appreciate this effort and understand that this kind of very personal conversation and self-disclosure, even though it may be helpful, cannot be expected from anyone and at any time.
© Frauke Niehues