Do you feel out of sync with the world around you? If you’re a CASIGY (Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense, likely Introverted, Intelligent, maybe Gifted You) you’re right at home with your CASIGY peers. A key finding of my Gifted Characteristics Questionnaire is that 98% of those who completed it felt out of sync with the world around them. Read on to get the full story . . . . .
Several years ago, it gradually dawned on me that the tools that I use with my clients and teach in my classes and presentations were most helpful to Creative, Acutely aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense, Intelligent, and even Gifted people. I began to look for a way to describe this combination of traits that many people have but wish they didn’t have. The term CASIGY appeared in my imagination and then evolved over time to describe, well, Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense, often Intelligent, Introverted, even Gifted people. The more I talked with people about these characteristics, the more I noticed that very often, a person would identify with one or two of them such as creativity or sensitivity, when they often had several or even all of them. So I decided to give my clients and the visitors to my website a tool in the form of a questionnaire about these characteristics. I placed it on the home page of my website (https://therapistforsensitiveandgifted.com) to help those who weren’t sure if this description fit them. I’ve been offering this Questionnaire on my website for a few years now, and I always find the results fascinating. I thought that you might, too, so here goes. I’ll share what I have:
Our results so far on this second edition of our survey, (as of 7/24/2013) show that people from 22 USA states and 13 additional countries on five continents have taken the survey. In addition, about 1/3 of the total people who took the survey did not give their location. So it seems from our simple survey, that these characteristics are a global phenomenon, as are the struggles many people have in living with them.
I was curious, so I asked people to identify the characteristics they already knew or believed applied to them before completing the questionnaire. Here’s their answers:
- 52.4% identified with being Highly Sensitive;
- 47.5% with being Creative;
- 20.7% with being Gifted,
- 47.5 with being Sensitive, Creative AND Gifted;
- 2.4% with none of these characteristics, and
- 21.9% identified with not knowing which ones were descriptive of them-that’s why they completed the questionnaire.
- Another 2.4% identified themselves as also being psychic/intuitive or having ADD.
Here’s the questions we asked and the totals of the answers given:
- Do you set very high standards for yourself or do you think many others have low standards for themselves? 93% yes; 7% no.
- Do you notice many things others don’t? 98% yes; 2% no.
- Do you have heightened senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight? 88% yes; 12%no.
- Are you sensitive to light, noise/sound, textures (such as rough clothing or tags) or smells, etc? 92%yes; 8%no.
- Do you need frequent solitude? 92% yes; 8% no.
- Do you have a vivid imagination? 93% yes; 7% no.
- Do you have a pervasive, persistent curiosity? 93% yes; 7% no.
- Do you have endless ideas or see possibilities everywhere? 93% yes; 7% no.
- Do you have a high level of energy? 50% Yes; 50% no.
- Do you sometimes feel driven by your creativity? 80% yes; 20% no.
- Do you think quickly, often on several tracks at once? 93% yes, 7% no.
- Do you have a strong ‘need to know’ that’s not easily satisfied? 95% yes, 5% no.
- Are honesty, integrity, and authenticity very important to you–more so than to many people? 93% yes; 7%no.
- Do you thrive on challenge and often get bored without it? 80% yes; 20% no.
- Do you love complex ideas, puzzles, mazes or paradoxes? 73% yes; 27% no.
- Do you enjoy numbers or have fun with words & wordplay? 77% yes; 23% no.
- Do you have extraordinary abilities AND vulnerabilities or deficits? 75% yes; 25% no.
- Do you feel deeply the wounds of injustice and human suffering–yours or others’? 94% yes; 6% no.
- Do you often feel responsible for problems that don’t actually belong to you, even if they are on the other side of the world? 74% yes; 26% no.
- Do others tell you that you’re TOO sensitive, TOO creative, or that you think TOO much? 95% yes; 5% no.
- Do you have so many interests and abilities that it’s often difficult to decide how to spend your time and energy? Or have you been criticized for not “sticking with one thing?” 91% yes; 9% no.
- Are you a complex person? 93% yes; 7% no.
- Can you often see many sides to issues? Does this make it difficult to make decisions or get you into debates? 95% yes; 5% no.
- Do you have a history of questioning rules or challenging authority? 84% yes; 16% no.
- Can you become engrossed for hours in a project that interests you but have trouble paying attention for more than five or ten minutes if it does not? 96% yes; 4% no.
- Have you maintained your childlike sense of playfulness and wonder? 87% yes; 13% no.
- Do you have a well-developed but somewhat unusual sense of humor? 95% yes; 5% no.
- Do you often feel out of sync with people around you? 98% yes; 2% no.
We have a tie for first place: 98% of our respondents feel out of sync with people around them, and 98% notice many things that others don’t notice. Runner up at 96% is being engrossed for hours in a project that interests them but having trouble paying attention for five minutes when something does not capture their interest. In last place, half of our respondents did and half didn’t feel that they had a high energy level, and only 73% reported that they love complex ideas, puzzles, mazes or paradoxes; while 74% often felt responsible for problems that don’t actually belong to them, even if they are on the other side of the world.
About 1/3 of those who completed this questionnaire also shared some personal comments about how these characteristics and this questionnaire have impacted them. Thank you to those of you who did so. I typically read each questionnaire as soon as I pick up an email telling me that someone has completed it. If there is an email address given, I also try to connect with that person. That has been very rewarding for me, and I hope, helpful for those with whom I have connected. When I reviewed all of these questionnaires for this article, it quickly brought home to me how deeply distressed many people are about being a CASIGY. They talked of how hard it is to have these characteristics, what a negative impact they have had on their lives, and what a victory it is to gain a positive perspective or have these characteristics finally become a positive force in their lives. I’m sure you’re curious about what people specifically said in their comments. Just so you know, I have not shared any details here because of their personal nature. Generally speaking, The comments included descriptions of having always felt different from others and having had a hard time understanding themselves, and how this questionnaire helped to put into words things they had not been able to for themselves. Others spoke of a dawning awareness that the characteristics that had always been assumed to be negative may even become their greatest gifts, and some alluded to the appropriateness of the fairy tale The Ugly Ducking to that transformation. Reading these candid comments inspires me and encourages me. I hope my sharing this will do the same for you. It also renews my resolve and helps me focus my energies on finding ways to help CASIGYs do just that─ to gain a positive perspective on gifted characteristics; in other words, to find the Magic in being a MisFit(TM). I’ll be writing more about this in future posts. But I stray.
You may wonder, why did I choose these particular questions? Well, I suppose it’s because these traits have been identified at some time by somebody in the Gifted field as being indicative of gifted people, and/or I have heard my clients and attendees at my presentations talk about these issues. This clearly is not a scientific study; it was done to pique interest, provoke thought and discussion as well as to help people along their paths of growth and healing.
The responses of those who completed this Gifted Characteristics Questionnaire provoke me to wonder many other things, too. For example:
- Why did these particular questions/characteristics come out the highest and lowest?
- Why did exactly half of this group say they did NOT have a high energy level, which in credible, scientific studies has been found highly characteristic of Gifted people?
- I wonder what YOU are wondering about, and I’d love to hear/see your thoughts, ideas and feelings. To post them, just scroll down to the bottom of the post and add your reply there. I look forward to reading it and to connecting with you soon!
And if you haven’t taken my Gifted Characteristics Questionnaire but would like to, just click here.