Every person has certain traits that are admired and respected by others. These inner strengths make us unique and help us deal with the challenges of daily life. On average, about one-third of a person’s strengths are innate and grounded in an individual’s temperament, talents, mood, and personality. The other two-thirds are developed over time.
The idea of inner strengths may seem abstract at first. They can also be identified as a person’s character, or the basic elements of an individual’s identity. Examples of character strengths include creativity, curiosity, gratitude, hope, forgiveness, bravery, teamwork and more. Understanding personal strengths can help you enhance relationships, work through difficult situations, reach a goal or work within a team.
Learn about your unique character strengths by taking the Character Strengths Survey. The results list strengths from highest to lowest. Although it may be tempting to focus on the lower character strengths, research shows that the time spent understanding, appreciating, and expressing signature strengths yields the highest benefit. Some strengths may grow in obvious ways – flourishing and easily noticed. Others can be overshadowed by more dominant strengths, or some may be dormant and unnoticed for months or even years. Learning how to express strengths can lead to greater fulfillment, more happiness, decreased stress and higher levels of productivity.
Consider exploring your top five character strengths by answering the following questions for each strength.
- How does this strength describe the real me? In what ways is it a true description of me?
- How is this strength of value? Why is it important?
- What are the costs of this strength? In what ways does it not serve me well?
Character can’t be captured in a single concept such as honesty or integrity; rather, each person expresses a variety of character strengths, usually expressing multiple strengths at one time. Although some are stronger than others, strengths can be developed. The uniqueness doesn’t end there. The way strengths are expressed can look differently as well. Personal strength patterns reflect your identity and can look different in each situation of life. Each combination of strengths is expressed uniquely and that expression changes from situation to situation. In this way, rather than categorizing strengths as “good” or “bad”, look at them in degrees of “more” or “less” prevalent.
When conflicts arise, rely on character strengths to work through difficult times. Relying on character strengths can bring balance and provide a new perspective to daily challenges.
Utilize these strengths to overcome challenges by recognizing how they can positively shift perspective. Try using the following strengths-based affirmations.
- I will use strengths to empower, shifting focus from what’s wrong to what’s strong in self and others.
- I will embody character strengths, acting as a role model and displaying my strengths as I interact with others.
- I will explore strengths in the face of adversity, acknowledging each individual’s struggles, but not allow strengths to get lost.
Exploring character strengths can help bring self-awareness, amplify relationships, and help you manage problems more effectively. Mindfully using your strengths improves self-confidence. It helps bring appreciation for the wonderful qualities you bring to the world on a daily basis. Connect with your inner strengths by taking the Character Strengths Survey and participating in the recommended activities.