The Pains of Being Right and How To Cope with Being the Smart One

It is no secret that intelligence and depression walk hand-in-hand. People who have never had to count ceiling tiles while waiting on others to catch up with reading are surprised to learn this.

It’s one thing to be a gifted child born to accomplished parents in a major city with resources that can help you to learn to navigate the world. It’s hell to be a gifted child born to a family of drugs, failure, and illiteracy.

Most don’t understand things from the perspective of the one dealing with the brainpower. Many don’t get why intellectuals are so angry all the time, especially at younger ages. Well, it has to do with how constant some of the most aggravating parts of life tend to be. For the intellectual, life is just one day after another of…

Constant Explaining

You and how the world outside of your hometown works will be the biggest mysteries among most of your friends and family. Yes, those are distinct categories and what you’ll be discussing the most with people.

You’ll be living life like this beginning at age 5. | Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash

The average person likes what most people like. Intellectuals tend to like fewer of those things and like things the average person does not. Mainly, you’ll have to justify why you don’t like what everyone else does while explaining why you do enjoy your alternate interests. Usually, you’ll be doing this while being mocked for what you don’t like and what you do like is ridiculed. I’ve already discussed how much shit I was given over video games in my childhood.

When I was named Volunteer of the Year by the Middle Tennessee Paralegal Association, I was excited. That got a bump up when they asked me to be the Chair for the Board of Community Services. This was a huge accomplishment for a 27-year-old. A lot of the excitement was curb stomped by having to explain to my family that this is a prestige thing, not a money thing, because they thought I was stupid for taking a “position” that doesn’t pay.

You’ll also be the go-to with questions that have an answer but the asker isn’t interested in hearing it. “If we’re descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” The designated smart one of every rural family has heard that question at almost every Christmas gathering.

Having to justify your personal life and detail why events are a big deal to you is aggravating. Of course you are going to develop an attitude.

Constant Gaslighting

It’s impossible to know what all you don’t know. Smart people get this; intellectuals attempt to fill their knowledge cups to the top, but this is the cutoff for average people. They’ll not know something, yet somehow think they have the information or that the information they don’t have is irrelevant.

Smart people know that there are many factors to addiction. Intellectuals will know what these factors are and how they work. Average people think it’s just about the substance. Unfortunately, because the number of average people is so gargantuan compared to smart people (even lumping the intellectuals in this group), the people who downright know better are forced to deal with the general public’s assumption being so insanely wrong.

Having to live in a world where you have empirical evidence supporting what you know, but it’s written off just because people want to think things work another way, kills your faith in humanity.

Constant Avoidance and Loneliness

Much how people love their delusions, they hate ideas that burst bubbles. To the modern optimist, anything that isn’t 100% positive is cynical, negative, and downright toxic.

Intellectuals look at things without a positive or negative light. They see things as exactly how they are. Because of this, they tend to be the harbingers of bad news for people who like their warm fuzzies, no matter how fake. Brainiacs are the first to notice obscure systems and obsolete ideas, and have no problem calling them out. This causes a lot of problems among people who still believe these systems hold merit.

“You can’t see me – I’m invisible!” | Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

You will be ostracized from your groups when they associate you with being a wet blanket that’s good at math.

“Frustrating” is an understatement when it’s 2022 and you’re bursting bubbles by saying things like “Racism is wrong.” Here, we can pull in the previous frustrations. Intellectuals are dealing with family members trying to insist that racism is cool while having to explain that it isn’t. The intellectual will be made out to be the asshole because they’ve “Gotten too PC to take a ‘harmless’ joke”.

Meanwhile, jokes made at the expense of the family will never be seen as harmless. Those kinds of comments are just cruel.

Constant Forgiving

If you want to be a part of society, you will be forgiving people a lot. You’ll be forgiving people for their racism and bigotry. You’ll be forgiving the layperson for thinking that just because someone is a doctor that they are automatically informed. You’ll be forgiving the family for shit they did years ago because they’re just now realizing how wrong they were. You’ll have to forgive teachers and bosses for being less informed of a subject than you are.

There’s just a lot of forgiveness involved. Ultimately, that’s the skill the intellectual will need in order to live in an anti-intellectual society. A lot of forgiveness and acceptance. 

With all of that, it should not be a surprise that the one who really is right all the time is often ready to explode.

You’ll just have to forgive me if this upsets anyone.

Many thanks, and Best Blessings,

Neth W.

Related Journaling Prompts: How well do I take new information? Do I dismiss potentially accurate info simply because I don’t want it to be true? Can denial be that obvious?

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