~ by Mary Rocamora. M.A. ~Even if you have doubts about the extent of your giftedness, you will really bring your talents to life if you will embrace your drive to become, serve, create, achieve, and contribute. The purpose of self-recognition is not to fuel egotism or elitism, but to align with a more powerful, creative part of you that will let your heart, your knowledge, your talent loose on the world. If you feel that you're on a path or that you have a mission in life, an explosion of energy becomes available to you. That energy overcomes fear, uncertainty, getting stuck periodically, and going through periods of exhaustion. "There are at least two competing definitions for 'talented adults." One of these is simply an extension of the most common definition of gifted children, that is, high IQ...Another definition holds that talented adults are those who have the capacity for superlative performance in one or more areas of socially valued endeavor...The most distinctive feature of talented adults is that the development, refinement, and perfecting of their extraordinary talent is the central task of their career development." (Kerr, B. and Claiborn, C., Counseling Talented Adults. Advanced Development, Vol. 3, Jan., 1991). We all suffer impairment as a result of our psychological wounds, but for a gifted person, the results of a traumatic childhood can be devastating. But when a gifted person's inner drive toward self-actualization is blocked - by low self esteem, unresolved dependency needs, shame, depression, internalization of abuse, or fear - the very sense of aliveness is thwarted. The best psychological recovery and growth for gifted individuals is that which is provided by exceptionally talented facilitators and by those who understand what it is to be gifted. "Derived from the Greek word for having a goal, entelechy is a particular type of motivation, need for self-determination, and an inner strength and vital force directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being. Gifted people with entelechy are often attractive to others who feel drawn to their openness and to their dreams and visions. Being near someone with this trait gives others hope and determination to achieve their own self-actualization." (Lovecky, D.V., Warts and Rainbows: Issues in the Psychotherapy of the Gifted. Advanced Development, Vol. 2, Jan., 1990). Because so much of a gifted person's process takes place in the inner world of thought and feeling, time and reflection is highly recommended. Making frequent visits to your inner world opens a channel for new ideas and solutions to current problems to flow without being impeded by "thinking." Formal education is only one form of preparation for a life of advanced development and excellence. If you do not prosper in a conventional setting, you might consider some alternatives. Having a mentor is one approach. Or you can invent your own unique method of learning, design your own program of study, getting all the literature, research materials, life experiences and consultants that you need and going to work with them in your own way. Listening with feeling and intuition to the inner voice helps us to see we all carry a reservoir of wisdom and knowing that can serve us wonderfully, if only we would pay attention. Even if you are poor, uneducated, in ill health, or culturally disadvantaged, you can still gain access to everything that you could ever need. Be always on the lookout for resources that are not apparent. If you're thinking "How can I...?" rather than "I can't because...", the opportunities will appear. Examine all known obstacles, and pay attention to those that are less obvious. What would you need to do to be fully prepared to make self-expression a priority? Many of us have unwittingly lost much of our authenticity to oversocialization. Doing what we should is programmed into us at an early age. If you are only now beginning to recognize your giftedness, you may find yourself trapped between two identities: the ordinary self that habitually and unquestioningly yields to the expectations of others, and the gifted self that must have time and freedom to devote to your talents. This presents an even greater challenge for gifted women who are in the early stages of self-recognition and personal development. Women in our culture are raised to be care-givers, and as such, their identity and self worth are defined primarily by that role. For most women, it is a major psychological achievement to shift their primary identification and sense of worth to the development of their talent. Not only is it threatening to the woman, but often to friends and family who are used to being put first. Those of us who are contemplative from the heart cannot tolerate the idea that life is accidental, purposeless, directionless. Therefore, we are faced with two alternatives: to erect and inhabit belief systems so as to posit meaning and purpose, or to cultivate the capacity to feel and experience life directly, and allow it to teach us its secrets, in accordance with our level of development.