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If You Relate To These 7 Problems, You're Probably Gifted

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Man thinking

Dr. Joey Lawrence, who goes by Dr. Joey, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in neurodivergent psychology. She recently posted a video in which she discusses the traits that “gifted people” have.

Gifted people have the capacity to perform and learn at an increased rate, compared to their peers, but according to Dr. Joey, they also seem to share particular traits and personality markers that are separate from IQ. 



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Through her work with gifted and neurodivergent people, Dr. Joey has been able to identify what she describes as "unique psychological problems" they all seem to face. She cites a research paper written by Francis Heylighen and explains the common problems most gifted people, who often don't believe they are gifted, encounter in their daily lives.

If you relate to these 7 problems, you may be a gifted person with high intelligence.

1. You often question authority.

The first problem that gifted people tend to struggle with, according to Dr. Joey, comes from their tendency to question authority. “They ask embarrassing questions because they want to know details that they shouldn’t ask about and they are nonconforming,” she explains.

They’re searching to gain a deeper understanding of things that they may not entirely be able to process. As a result, this can lead to a sense of alienation or feeling out of step with others. They might be asking questions that no one else is, and so they’re outcasts for not falling in with the norms.

2. You have 'unusual ideas' and look at things from multiple angles.

Thanks to their inquisitive nature and way of processing information and the world around them, gifted people are capable of tackling thoughts and ideas from angles that other people may not be able to.

They can come up with “unusual ideas” because their minds are operating on a different level than what is deemed “normal.” They think more abstractly and deeply, but this isn’t always a good thing. Dr. Joey says that this can “lead to social isolation.”

According to Heylighen’s paper, children or people who think in this way could oftentimes be deemed “weird” or “odd,” and that only leads to more frustration from the gifted people who are being misunderstood.

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3. You're highly sensitive, empathic, and compassionate.

Dr. Joey explains that gifted people are incredibly good at reading and anticipating people’s thoughts and behaviors. Because of their heightened sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others, they’re also more prone to being sensitive, empathic, and compassionate.

This may seem like a good thing, but sometimes, gifted people are considered “too much” of any number of these things: too sensitive, too empathic, too compassionate. They have very strong feelings and opinions, and when these feelings are brought to the surface, they may rub others the wrong way.

4. You have strong moral convictions.

Since gifted people are capable of such deep and creative thinking, they also land on opinions very strongly. They have a strong sense of justice and moral conviction.

Whenever they see injustice in the world or a breach of moral rightness, they are outraged by it and are impassioned to stand up for it.

5. You often search for the 'ultimate truth.'

Part of questioning authority (read: questioning everything) comes from trying to understand everything to the fullest extent in order to reach the “ultimate truth.”

The “ultimate truth” is often defined as a fact that cannot be changed, and in order to reach the ultimate truth they ask a lot of questions. Some people can be put off by someone who asks a lot of questions, especially when those questions target why they might say or do things.

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6. You struggle to believe that you’re truly gifted.

“What I see a lot clinically is gifted people who have all these ways of being, don’t actually realize or believe that they are gifted and they’re expecting everybody else to be able to process things just like they are,” Dr. Joey explains.

This is what she calls “binocular thinking.” Other people around them truly don’t think on the same level as gifted people. Whereas gifted people often think incredibly deeply about the world around them and create complex matrices in order to understand everything, other people aren’t.

However, they are under the assumption that everyone else is thinking the same way as them, so they sometimes struggle to believe that what they’re doing is actually different from the norm.

7. You actively try to avoid coming off as arrogant.

Another problem that stems from whether or not you believe you’re gifted comes from the gifted person’s complex relationship with authority. Coming to terms with being gifted means accepting the reality that you think in a more complex way than your average person.

That’s something gifted people struggle with because they never want to place themselves above another person. They don’t want any moral authority over someone, and they don’t want to come off as arrogant. “They don’t want the authority of mind over somebody else,” she explains.

Dr. Joey believes that the key here is accepting that being gifted is a “unique neurotype that comes with challenges and benefits, and recognizing that, in a lot of cases, gifted people experience it more as a disability than an ability.”

Whether you're gifted and identify with these "problems," or not, it's important to remember that all the idiosyncratic personality traits that make us who we are should be celebrated. Ask all the questions, embrace the "unusual ideas," and always keep searching for the "ultimate truth" because these differences are what makes the world a beautiful place.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.