Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gifted and talented but with insecurity and low self esteem

AFINS logo. AFINS is a non-profit assciation f...Image via WikipediaStephanie S. Tolan – co-author of the book Guiding the Gifted Child – finds that “Many gifted adults seem to know very little about their minds and how they differ from more ‘ordinary’ minds. The result of this lack of self-knowledge is often low, sometimes cripplingly low self esteem.” [From her article Self-Knowledge, Self-Esteem and the Gifted Adult.]

So how to counteract and change unhealthy self esteem?
A start is to honestly recognize your abilities and accomplishments, without qualifying or deflating them, as in “Oh, anyone could do that.”
Another effective approach is the cognitive therapy strategy of getting aware of demeaning statements – especially automatic thoughts – you make about yourself (or accept from others), such as “I’m no good at doing that…” – then arguing the logic, validity, merits and faults of the statement, such as: “Well, maybe I am not as skilled as whoever.. but I have been told my work is good and I can get better if I choose to work at it.”
Overcoming impostor feelings
Also related to insecurity is the reaction that a number of talented actors and other people talk about: feeling oneself to be an “impostor.”
Research into this impostor phenomenon or syndrome began with the work of psychotherapists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who found many women with notable achievements also had high levels of self-doubt which could not be equated with self-esteem, anxiety, or other traits, and seemed to involve a deep sense of inauthenticity and an inability to internalize their successes.
They often had the belief they were “fooling” other people, were “faking it” or getting by from having the right contacts or just being “lucky.” Many held a belief they would be exposed as frauds or fakes. [From my article Gifted Women: Identity and Expression.]

Gifted and talented but with insecurity and low self esteem
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