What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, build deep lasting relationships with others, feel pleasure, and contribute to the world? What is it that allows you to develop a sense of well being? We all have character strengths that empower our lives. When you tap into your strengths, it leads to a solid foundation of self esteem and increases your optimism, enthusiasm, and joy. Here are some ways in which they show up.
During the day, when do you feel the most strong, enthusiastic, and deeply absorbed in your work? These are the times you are in your strengths. Your strengths are the areas where you can become deeply engaged. When you use your strengths more frequently, it increases your happiness, sense of well being, and joy.
Look around your surroundings. What aspects of your home touch you the most deeply? Do you have favorite pictures, favorite sayings? What about your plants? Take a moment to connect with them and savor them. You will discover that they relate to your strengths. When placing items in your home, take notice how you connect with them. Do they make you feel stronger? Keep those items that give you meaning and joy. Other aspects of your surroundings you may not enjoy. Clear those out. It will make you much happier and help you to get things done.
When faced with challenges, what strengths bring you through? Is it your sense of humor? – Your ability to put things in perspective? – Your ability to learn new information to solve your problem? All of these reflect your underlying character strengths. Acknowledge them. They will help you to accomplish your goals.
Watch for the qualities you appreciate in others. Notice when your friends get excited and what gives them joy. Then ask them to tell you more about it. These are the areas of their strengths. When you give others feedback, it helps them see their strengths. You will discover it builds your relationships.
What gives you a deep sense of purpose and meaning? Are there institutions that give you deep sense of purpose? When you get to together with your family and friends, what are the activities that give you the most joy? Honor these moments. It helps you connect in a positive way and also helps you appreciate your ancestors.
Celebrate Your Strengths
July is the month when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence. It states that we are all “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is the character strengths that help us to exercise these rights. Take a moment this month to discover and celebrate them. If you would like to take a survey to help you identify the strengths you use most frequently, take the VIA survey of character strengths at www.authentichappiness org.