If you’re interested in building up your strengths, your Character Strengths that is, please read on! These strengths – amongst them Fairness, Forgiveness, Courage, Self-regulation, Perseverance, Kindness, Love, Hope, Leadership, Bravery – come from the field of positive psychology, with the emphasis on developing what’s strong, rather than what’s wrong with us.
I’m using this approach as a starting point for wellbeing coaching with a client of mine, partly as he realised and I came to understand that he had a form of ‘strengths blindness’: he hadn’t appreciated, and given himself credit for, how strong he was in one particular area, so it’s reinforcing for him; he can see the relevance of it and we can use this process/technique to work on his chosen wellbeing development activities.
Character strengths are described as the positive parts of our personalities that make us feel authentic and engaged, that ‘reflect our personal identity, that produce positive outcomes both for ourselves and others, and contribute to the collective good’ (Niemiec, 2017). We possess and use all 24 character strengths in different degrees.
If you’re interested, and to get the ball rolling, I’d recommend the free self-assessment questionnaire from the VIA Institute on Character https://viacharacter.org/ It takes 5/10 minutes to complete, and produces a brief profile listing each of the strengths in priority order for you, starting with those that come most naturally to you and mean most to you – your ‘signature strengths’ – down to those you use less often and which are less meaningful for you. Undertaking the exercise can also help us to know and understand ourselves better, and as a result others too.
(For the record, I completed the questionnaire at the same time as my client, and my most-used/valued strength is ‘Love’, least used/valued is ‘Leadership’😊)
If you’d like to know more about using the questionnaire or using/developing your character strengths, do let me know.