Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
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 a 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. Inner strengths 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.
Identify Your Strengths
Learn about your unique character strengths by taking the Character Strengths Survey. The results from the survey will list your 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 your signature strengths yields the highest benefit. Some of your strengths may grow in obvious ways – flourishing and easily noticed. Others can be overshadowed by more dominant strengths, and some may be dormant and unnoticed for months or even years.
Explore Your Strengths
Learning how to express your 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.
Rely on Your Strengths
When conflicts arise, rely on your character strengths to work through difficult times. Relying on character strengths can bring balance and provide a new perspective to daily challenges.
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.
Exploring character strengths can bring self-awareness, amplify relationships, and help you manage problems more effectively. Mindfully using your strengths improves self-confidence and 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 activities outlined above.
VIA Character Strengths Survey Results | VIA Institute on Character | VIA Institute