Gifted & Behaving Badly

picassoOne of the things we tend to find confusing is when gifted people behave poorly. For example, a wildly popular entertainer who is suspected of child abuse. Or a charismatic and effective political leader who can’t seem to keep his hands off his secretary. Or a spiritual figure who has anger issues. Or a record breaking, world famous sports figure who behaves like an ass.

It’s difficult for us because we have a natural tendency to group things together in our minds. We assume that because a human being has a wonderful gift that we admire and appreciate, we’d admire and appreciate everything about them. Our brain just works that way by default, because to assume saves energy. But it also keeps us in the dark, when we don’t exert the extra energy it takes to think.

This gets especially tricky when we’re dealing with parents, healers, teachers, counselors and consultants we rely on for support in life. In order to receive all we can of their support, it’s important to be as open as possible. But because people we rely on are only human, we tend to get a mixed bag of good input, and bad input.

It’s the same with friends, relatives, husbands and wives. It’s extremely rare to find someone we can be totally open to, without having to watch out for certain traits, put up with certain character flaws, and deal with certain limitations.

And, unless you happen to be a robot, it’s the same with you and me. We’re all flawed and imperfect, and on any given day, while we may shoot for excellence, we typically fall short. As gifted as we may be, we’re all work in progress in some way.

Of course I believe life here on Earth is set up that way by design, because Creation’s real purpose is to be a learning place for souls. We all come to learn something, and if we were perfect there’d be no reason to be here. Even the important teachers. Sometimes, especially the important teachers. Just because someone is exulted by many, and looked upon as a role model, doesn’t mean they’re not walking their own difficult path.

The imperfection of others works well in our favor, for our own learning, particularly when it comes to compassion, acceptance, and understanding. Any child can blindly follow someone, and assume that everything they say and do is perfect. It takes a mature mind and heart to look at a hero, teacher, or role model, and receive all the benefit of their support, while seeing them for the imperfect human they are. It’s not so easy to look at someone we admire, see them fumble, and still appreciate what we appreciated about them before they became imperfect to us.

So we go through disappointment and disillusionment with our loved ones, our mentors, or political figures and our entertainers. The challenge then becomes letting go of feeling hurt and betrayed, letting go of our judgments, recognizing their humanity, and still valuing what they offer. Thus we honor the best in our heroes, our friends, and ourselves.

I’m not saying it’s easy to do. Just that it’s worth working on. Since we’re here to learn and grow anyway, we might as well.

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