Gifted, sensitive and creative people “can cope with their intense feelings, and transform their perceived deep defects into their greatest gifts which will enable them to make a unique, creative contribution to the world.”
Psychotherapist Sharon M. Barnes.
“There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see.” John Lennon
Many creative people say they feel like misfits
Therapist Sharon M. Barnes works with creative, sensitive, intense, intelligent children, teens and adults.
She hears from many of them statements like Lennon made.
On her site, she explains her home-study program, which is designed to help people gain more emotional health:
We designed the CASIGY™ (Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense and/or Gifted You-s) Social-Emotional ACES Home Video Program™ to help you become ACES, that is, skilled experts in the Social-Emotional arena.
You’ll learn to ride the intense waves of emotion in your life, instead of being pulled under by them.
And if you have creative, sensitive or gifted children at home or in the classroom, it’s also designed to help them ride their waves of emotion instead of being flooded by them.
It will also reduce or eliminate their having an emotional volcanic eruption right beside you.
This is an interactive video-based training program for creative, highly sensitive or gifted children and teens, for their parents and teachers, and for other adults.
As a visitor to this page, you can purchase the program at a discount of $100 – just enter the promo code at checkout: 100OFF
Emotional health for creative, gifted, highly sensitive people –
an excerpt of some of the information and teaching in the program
Learn more at the site: Social & Emotional Empowerment Program
How have emotions and experiences like these impacted you?
Lady Gaga on feeling like a freak
Many creative, sensitive, highly intelligent people may feel like misfits. One example:
“I felt like a freak.” Lady Gaga
An article notes Lady Gaga ‘described her academic life in high school as “very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined” but also “a bit insecure”:
“I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down.
“I didn’t fit in, and I felt like a freak.”
The article comments about her being gifted:
“Gaga began playing the piano at the age of four, wrote her first piano ballad at thirteen, and started to perform at open mic nights by the age of fourteen.
“She performed lead roles in high school productions…”
She was “one of 20 students to gain early admission, at age 17, to a musical theater training conservatory at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
“In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues, and politics, including a thesis on pop artists Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst.”
Read more in my article Dealing With Anxiety – Actors and Performers.
Relieving stress when you’re highly sensitive
Photo: “Dark Thoughts” – from article: “How to Sit with Painful Emotions” by Margarita Tartakovsky.
Used in my article How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety When You’re Highly Sensitive.
In the article, I note:
As highly sensitive people, we may experience many positive aspects of the trait, but we can also be more reactive and vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
There are many varieties of stress, fatigue, worry, trauma, unhealthy self-regard and other anxiety-related experiences that can impact our lives and creative expression.
Taking steps for self-care is important for anyone, but especially when you are highly sensitive.
In the article are perspectives from psychologists, coaches and authors that can help regain healthy levels of energy and deal better with stress, anxiety and other health challenges.
Being a creative person can be a burden
Sharon M. Barnes comments in an article of hers about some of the qualities and challenges she sees in her practice of many years:
“Creativity and creative expression can be fun but can also be a great burden. Creative ideas show up whether we have time to pay attention to them, or do anything with them or not.
“They also often arrive in tandem or multiples, and the creative person has to choose which idea gets to see the light of day.
“Being aware of things that most people are not may lead to exciting AHA! moments. At the same time it can create questions of what’s real and what’s not when no one else sees what you’re seeing.
“It may also carve a canyon of separation between the acutely aware person and others who are less aware.”
Being highly sensitive can bring emotional challenges
“Likewise, sensitivity is a double edged sword. High sensitivity…often brings a capacity for depth of feeling and thought along with a high level of conscientiousness, compassion and empathy.
“On the other hand, when seemingly simple things like sounds, light and textures create a high level of distress, dealing with them can consume great time and energy, leaving less energy and time available for the rest of daily life.
“When any of these are combined with high intelligence, each of these other traits are magnified and complicated.
“The more of these characteristics that a person carries, the more complex the interaction among these traits can become.”
Being exceptional can make people feel like misfits
Barnes notes some of the outcomes of living with these exceptional qualities:
“The cumulative effect is that many creative, sensitive, intelligent and/or gifted youth and adults feel like misfits, or as many have expressed, like aliens from a different planet.
“Although they may have learned to camouflage or try to hide it, they may carry within themselves a deep sense of inferiority and inadequacy, and may have concluded that they are defective in an irreparable way.
“For many, having an awareness of being profoundly different than others and then drawing a conclusion that ‘I’m defective‘ can come as young as ages 2-5 or even younger ─ at the very time that the foundations of the Self are being constructed.
“All too often this can evolve into a secret sense of alienation, and is often accompanied by anxiety, depression, anger, rage and a plethora of additional distressing emotional states.
“This eventually can lead to despair and deep discouragement.”
Here is a brief video about this:
“Emotional characteristics of creative people”
In her articles, and through her counseling and online programs, Barnes details how gifted and creative people “can cope, heal and transform their perceived deep defects into their greatest gifts which, in the end, will enable them to make a unique, creative contribution to the world.”
But, she asks, “how do you do that?
“By first, last and always, understanding that YOU’RE NOT DEFECTIVE; YOU’RE DIFFERENT BY DESIGN!
“And what is it that makes this inner shift in perception and experience possible? Let’s look a little closer.”
Continued in her detailed article Different by Design: “Finding the MAGIC in Being a Sensitive and/or Gifted MisFit OR … How to MOVE From FEELING Defective to BEING Distinctive.”
From the article:
Mary Lou Kelly Streznewski in her book, Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential identifies three types of gifted adults – Strivers, Superstars and Independents.
Strivers are “the high-achieving teacher-pleasers” in school who have high test scores, high grades and high accomplishments.
They often evolve into adults who consider their jobs their lives.
Superstars are the one-third who make the rest of us look bad. Often all gifted people are expected to be like this.
They are “taller, healthier, handsomer, wealthier, happier and nicer than most people….
“They are often the scholar athletes who seem to have it all. Whatever field they enter, they can be found in the same place: at the top.”
Then there are what Streznewski calls the Independents.
They “work hard, often brilliantly, at what interests them… They may ignore the rest, regardless of the consequences.
“Their locus of control comes from deep in their inner value system.”
Another video with psychotherapist Sharon Barnes:
Creative people feeling different and exiled
See longer video on the page for her home-study program to “develop high level social & emotional skills” :
Also on the site are multiple articles and resources.