Today, Jean-Philippe Lecreux shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Jean-Philippe! He is creative and currently lives in Alsace.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
I don’t like the term gifted because it implies a global superiority that doesn’t exist. I have facilities in some areas and difficulties in others, like everyone else in the end. To answer your question, yes, I would choose without hesitation to be born with the same cognitive characteristics because I like them.
.WHAT BEING GIFTED MEANS TO ME
If I try to define what giftedness means to me: tree-like thinking, overflowing creativity, hypersensitivity, a vital need for meaning, an ability to learn very quickly and to explain certain complex concepts using metaphors, a great deal of empathy, mental hyperactivity, intuition, permanent curiosity, a visceral refusal of injustice. These characteristics can be found in non-gifted people but they are amplified by my hypersensitivity.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
It is difficult for me to answer this question because there are as many forms of giftedness as there are gifted people, some are highly sensitive, others are not; some have ADHD or ASD which will change the game, etc. I like the term neurodivergent because it seems appropriate: we simply have different cognitive functioning.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
I became aware of my giftedness when I opened a book on the subject, by Arielle Adda [French Author of books about giftedness] if I remember correctly. And it was a revelation, I had in front of me a mirror of my functioning, of my difficulties, of my abilities. That was about 20 years ago, then the doubt remained, feeling the imposter syndrome. I was officially tested at the end of 2021 after a burnout.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
After reading this book, I felt certainty, then doubt, because I thought I was less gifted than average, as I had built up a false and negative image of myself. The term ‘gifted’ is so heavy that it is difficult to accept, especially when you doubt yourself. Then, I did a lot of research to understand this specificity, and I gradually reconciled with myself, and the icing on the cake, my creativity started to express itself through photography, writing and recently through illustration. After having identified my daughters’ Giftedness before they took the test, I no longer had too many doubts about mine, but I didn’t feel legitimate to express myself on the subject. After a burn-out at the end of 2021, I decided to get a specialist’s opinion who confirmed it and identified a very probable ADHD. I was surprised by this last point but it allowed me to understand another side of my personality. Today I have moved on to the stage where I know I am gifted, but I know that this is only an attribute and not enough to define me.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I’m a little over 5’7″ tall. Let’s imagine a box that is placed on a shelf at a height of two meters ten. A person who is 2 meters tall can reach the box by stretching his arms, whereas I have to make a greater effort, using a stepladder, for example, to achieve the same result.
Well, I am not tall, but some, not all, areas of my intelligence are, which makes it easier for me to grasp certain intellectual concepts; I play very easily with abstraction, metaphors or words for example.
Besides that, I am also a highly sensitive person, a bit hyperactive, I have tree-like thinking…
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
I wish to share the remark of a school director when I told him about the giftedness of my eldest daughter who learned to read on her own, by inventing her own method: “Giftedness does not exist. It is the parents who push their children to achieve this result.” This kind of remark is not only unacceptable in the light of current knowledge but it can hurt a lot, especially when the parents or the children receiving it are in a suffering situation.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
It validated what I was feeling and got me out of the imposter syndrome while encouraging me to follow my intuition. It fully unleashed my creativity, gave me back my confidence, and reconciled me with myself. And the fact that I passed the WAIS test gave me a kind of legitimacy to express myself on the subject.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
To express my sensitivity and the poetry that drives me, to write and illustrate a little story that is intended for Gifted families. I had planned to self-publish an ebook and perhaps a book at the end of August, but this may be delayed by one or two months because I have focused on a professional retraining project. Since the test, I have allowed myself to write an open letter to some media who are portraying Gifted People in a biased way, I was surprised at the number of thanks I received on Linkedin, this shows that there is still work to be done to raise awareness and inclusion.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
Up until now I have spoken very little about this specificity out of self-protection and I am surprised to respond to this interview but I think it is important to communicate on the subject to help our children’s journey. I am lucky to be surrounded by open-minded people, many of whom are tested or not (but is it a coincidence?), so the reactions are kind. On the other hand, in society in general, I feel that there is still a form of rejection of giftedness among some “neurotypical” and we come back to the work of raising awareness so that our children can live their difference serenely.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
The fact is that too many parents still have to fight for their child’s cognitive particularity to be taken into account in school learning. It is not normal that a child loses motivation to learn because of boredom, that he or she decides to hide his or her abilities because inclusion efforts are insufficient or absent. It is not acceptable for a school headmaster or teacher to be in denial about this issue even though neuroscience has provided answers. It is not normal that some parents are in parental burnout because their life is punctuated every day by the emotional crises of their gifted child because it is his way of expressing how much the school system makes him suffer and does not take into account his specificity. This does not concern all gifted children, nor all adults, but it is the reality of many families whose courage and love I salute.
Otherwise, I am also angry because I have the impression that many gifted people still feel embarrassed, or even more or less ashamed, about their difference, even though they are wonderful people. When I wrote the article on Linkedin, I used the word ethnic denigration because I sometimes feel that society asks us to hide our uniqueness, not to talk about it too much. To use a historical analogy, for a long time I agreed to keep quiet and sit at the back of the bus, but today I say no. I like my difference and I refuse to let it be denigrated or denied.
Behind this anger, there are lots of ideas for improvement and it’s great because we can work to implement them!
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
The inner flame that animates many gifted people and that is a gift to humanity when it can be used for useful projects.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Finding a work environment where the business has not taken over the values of the company, I am very sensitive to ethics, meaning, and respect. On another subject, I am working on channeling my overflowing creativity in order to realize the many ideas that are born every day but is this related to giftedness or potential ADHD?
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The poetic sensitivity that life has given me, it is such a gift to continue to marvel at the beauty of a dewdrop, a smile or a look. It is this beauty that I try to transcribe in my writings, my photographs or my illustrations.
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
I will mention several: mindfulness meditation, sophrology, yoga and hiking in nature, which are essential to my balance.
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
The uptight nerd. So many gifted people are full of life, of sweet and beautiful madness, of poetry, of creativity. And for my part, I find it hard to listen to very theoretical and intellectual explanations, they put me to sleep!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
A few words that I illustrated and published on Instagram: you are not a social label, you are ONLY you and that’s great! Be yourself and light up the world with your beauty.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
The same thing, the world will be so much better when everyone can be themselves and when we have collectively integrated that each individual is an opportunity for the world.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Talk about it with caring people who know the subject, so that they can accept their feelings. Concerning taking the WAIS test, which is underlying this question, I would advise listening to one’s feelings in order to know if one wants to take it or not.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Using a false self to fit in or protect yourself. Doing so is a direct ticket to depression as it is a denial of self.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Listen to your intuition. If your feelings alert you, before agreeing to work for a company or start a relationship, for example, it may be a sign not to go (and conversely if the signal is positive)!
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Stay yourself, love yourself as you are because this love will give you the strength to overcome the trials and will illuminate your daily life with beauty.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
Rather a moving film, “A Sense of Wonder, which is about autism but which reflects well the relationship of a hypersensitive person with nature.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
That it would be useless if society, especially the school system, valued every difference by helping each individual to express their full potential. Often children take it because it is a pre-requisite imposed by the school system to try to take into account the needs of the child. And as adults, do we need to take it? With hindsight, my intuition had already given me the answer.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
Yes, if this lack of knowledge is detrimental to your development because you lack the structural keys to understanding yourself and building an unbiased image of yourself.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Often, by the sparkle in their eyes, by a shared sensitivity, by an immediate connection.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
The search for meaning, but it is difficult to answer because I do not know all gifted people.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
Understand and accept yourself and build a positive self-image. Continue to trust your intuition. Learn to channel one’s possible perfectionism.
But honestly, I’m not expert enough to be sure that my answer is relevant.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE)
A new label “philo-cognitive” to qualify our specificities, inspired me to do an illustration where my character throws out the various social labels (gifted, twice-exceptional, etc.) to say that he is just him and that is enough.
.AN INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY ON GIFTEDNESS
I don’t have one in particular but I invite you to look at what is happening in Canada, a country that is very advanced in the field of giftedness, ASD, ADHD…
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
That each person, whether or not they are gifted, benefits from an environment that encourages them to discover themselves and to express their authentic beauty.