Can gifted children burn out before they become gifted adults?Posted by Sonia Dabboussi | 4 comments
The constant pressure to succeed. The need to produce nothing less than an A in every class. The feeling that no matter what you do it’s never quite good enough, that there’s something more you should be doing, something more you should know. Can this all become too much?
For gifted children, the push to excel by those around them can be incredibly overwhelming. And even though they may be capable of doing great things in the world, when they start being able to make their own choices as teens and young adults, sometimes they choose not to make the most of their skills and talents. They choose to move away from what they have learned in their lives to be emotionally painful – their giftedness.
Maslow says, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. He must be true to his own nature. This need we may call self-actualization.” And in many ways this is indeed true.
The problem comes when this desire for self-actualization conflicts with negative feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy and lack that have been acquired layer by layer, year by year. What then becomes of those who possess the possibility of finding creative solutions to the world’s difficulties? I dare not wonder.
Merging a previous period of perceived failure with a current period of actually reaching far less than self-actualization, and then reshaping both of these into a fulfilling, inspired adult way of being is the challenge facing a good number of our gifted today.
Is this an easy process, altering an entire belief structure and severing negative emotional bonds? Absolutely not.
Is it a possible one? Yes, it certainly is.
But it happens only with a lot of guidance, love and support, one step at a time.