“It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.”
One of the reasons many of us have challenges in realizing and expressing our exceptional abilities is that we don’t honestly acknowledge them.
In our interview, Kathleen Noble, Ph.D., a Professor of Women’s Studies at the Univ of Washington, Seattle, made comments that can also apply to us as boys and men:
“Change has to come in terms of both social evolution and individual. Most of the women I work with who are gifted deny that they are, or are totally embarrassed to admit it.
“It seems I am always teaching women about the characteristics of giftedness, and asking them to look at themselves: ‘Even if you don’t want to admit this out loud because you think it’s immodest or because you’re embarrassed, at least in your own heart of hearts admit what you’re dealing with.’
“That’s absolutely crucial to do,” she continued, “because I think in order to take one’s own life seriously, which includes making decisions about how that life is going to unfold, whether it’s going to include partners or children, or what kind of work, you have to see life as a deliberate quest.”
Diana Blaine, PhD, a USC College senior lecturer – and “philosopher, writer, adventurer, bon vivant and buttkicker” as she describes herself – makes a refreshingly confident and non-egotistical statement about healthy self regard in her blog post I Am Ready for My Close-Up Mr DeMille: talking about a meeting with her father’s doctor, Blaine wrote: “She told me she was impressed with my depth and my humanity and my intellect. She also told me that I was beautiful. I told her that I had learned through hard spiritual work to own these gifts of mine, that humility includes both acknowledging strengths as well as weaknesses. Anything less would be to spit in the face of the magical powers that made us.”
In her article Unrecognized Giftedness: The Frustrating Case of the Gifted Adult, Marylou Kelly Streznewski talks about interviewing many people for her book Gifted Grownups, and comments, “Saddest of all have been the encounters with women who, over and over say, “Oh yes, the kids are gifted but they get it from my husband, not me.”
Of course, this isn’t a gender issue – we men can just as readily self-efface.
His quotes – and those by Emma Watson – are from the article:
Getting beyond impostor feelings.
[Photo from Porter mag. cover from Facebook/Emma Watson]