Discounting our abilities
One aspect of high ability, being able to do many things well, can be a tendency for many people to discount those abilities, and thinking something like, “If I can do things easily, they must not actually be difficult or worthy of respect.”
It’s a way, perhaps, to keep us more comfortably small in our own estimation.
The image above is from my related article Overcome Impostor Syndrome Feelings.
Valerie Young, Ed.D. an expert on impostor syndrome, comments:
“Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments. They explain away their success as luck or timing. They feel this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
See the article for much more, including a video. Also see her program Impostor Syndrome.
Sharon Lind comments in her article Fostering adult giftedness, “The first step towards building a strong social and emotion base is to recognize and acknowledge one’s own strengths or gifts.
“For many adults this facet of who they are has either gone unnoticed, been ignored or was not expressed for cultural reasons.
“Look at those around you whom you believe are gifted.
“What characteristics do you share with them: intense curiosity, keen sense of humor, creative or artistic bents, sensual or emotional sensitivity, intense imagination, deep concerns about social issues, tenacious academic abilities, superior interpersonal skills, etc?”
Another way to discount abilities is to hold unreasonably high standards, to indulge in perfectionism and unhealthy self-criticism.
Kenneth W. Christian, PhD lists in his book Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement a number of patterns of self limiting behavior that high potential people may use, and suffer from.
One pattern he labels Self-Doubters / Self-Attackers – people who “block their success by holding high standards they feel they can never possibly meet and for which they therefore seldom strive. …
“Paradoxically, they use self-criticism to defend themselves. By attacking themselves, they say, ‘Though I did not achieve all I could, at least I do not accept myself.’”
See more patterns described by Dr. Christian on the page self-limiting