Thursday, November 10, 2005

Now presenting... THe Balancing NEEDS

Jo over at Overexcitable asks "How can we give all gifted people acceptance and meaningful work in modern western society?" Like many people who answered her question, I don't think it is a question of giving gifted people something. I think it is a matter of gifted people learning to give something perceived as valuable.

There are a lot of other factors besides being gifted that affect where and how a person can best fit in and give to society. To maximize the fit of all those variable that make up a person, it's important to
  • know your self,
  • be clear about your intentions, and
  • be able to regulate your self.
Yes, being different throws in a few more challenges. (And probably everyone knows what it's like to feel different.) For instance, I often run across the probably common challenge of being in a meeting and wanting to get the best possible outcome for the goal. If I present my ideas and no one has a better idea, so I take control and push my idea, than I lose several of my bigger outcomes. When I'm clear about my real outcomes, which in the case of meetings are usually a goal outcome that works, and happy relationships which will facilitate an effective community, than I will approach the meeting very differently. It is annoying to have to reign myself in, but that's being a mature adult.

Where self-knowledge comes in is putting myself in situations that most value what I have to give. I think that is good advice for everyone. If you give something perceived as valuable, you will be valued. (Maybe that is part of Jo's question. Where will gifted adults most be valued?)

That's my practical answer. I think in reality, sometimes you are bursting at the seams to give your gift, and you must give it, whether or not it is valued. I'm thinking of Van Gogh, and a thousand other musicians and artists and writers. The thing is to know yourself, and be clear about your intentions. I don't think it will work to tell society, "Please value me!" Nor do I want to do that. I do think that it is reasonable to provide support for everyone to help them learn how to balance their needs, including self-expression and belonging.

How do you balance your needs for self-expression and your need for belonging? Do those needs converge in your life or do they pull you in different directions?

1 comment:

jo_jo said...

LOL about the meeting stuff. I usually go in with good relationship-building intentions, but can always rationalize speaking my mind in the service of a higher goal. After all, what's personal comfort compared to spending other people's money wisely? I end up destroying the opportunity for create change in that forum. I can think myself into all kinds of trouble!

Self expression and belonging - both are so necessary to my happiness. What I do is belong to groups where individuality is valued, and I can express myself through art - improv, music, debate, visual art, etc. Belonging to bigger, more traditional groups (like a workplace!) doesn't appeal to me much any more, and I'm lucky enough to live in a place where many others feel the same way.