Why is it important to know your strengths?
Life consists of many challenges. As we grow, we learn to overcome them, manage our challenges and hopefully develop good coping tools that help us live a meaningful and rewarding life. Many times, however, our problems and stresses overwhelm our coping abilities and we may end up feeling hopeless and helpless. This is when it may be helpful to know your strengths.
It is important to remember that our brain has evolutionarily developed to see, focus and solve problems in our life. But it can hyperfocus on the negative things and miss (or screen out) the positive. Remember, our mind was designed to see and solve problems, and it is doing its job very well…too well sometimes. When we end up focusing on our negative traits or external problems which we are not able to solve or change (at that point, or ever), we end up exhausted, anxious and depressed. Whilst we cannot make our brain stop focusing on the problems, we can help it to have breaks and refocus on something else, something other than what is bad or not working in life or that we are not happy with.
Helpful ideas helping you to know your strengths
The things that have been found to be helpful to focus on are our strengths and unique qualities- character strengths. In his research, Dr Martin Seligman and Prof Chris Peterson identified common character strengths and virtues (24 to be exact) that people exhibit.
Benefits of knowing and acting on your character strengths:
It has been found that knowing and acting on your character strengths in your daily life is linked with higher general well-being, specifically:
– More positive emotions
-More meaning in life
-More engagement with life and other people
-A sense of accomplishment
The main challenge is that people are not aware of their strengths, therefore not connecting and not acting with them. So here they are for you to check:
The 24 Character Strengths
The identified 24-character strengths (which you can read about and take the free survey here: Find Your 24 Character Strengths | Personal Strengths List | VIA Institute (viacharacter.org)) These are broken down into six categories:
- Transcendence– spirituality, hope, humor, gratitude etc
- Temperance– forgiveness, humility, self-regulation etc.
- Justice– fairness, leadership etc
- Humanity– love, kindness etc
- Courage– persistence, bravery etc.
- Wisdom– creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness etc
You may read and learn more about the character strengths and identify yours. Ask yourself, how, where and when you use them and act on them in your daily life. Then find new ways and opportunities to act more often on those virtues of yours and see what happens. This is one of the ways to bring more balance to your mind and life by incorporating your strengths, virtues, positive aspects and characteristics of yourself and gain a new perspective and appreciation of yourself as a person. This is all possible when you take the challenge to know your strengths.
Author: Ilana Gorovoy, B.Arts (Psych), B. Arts (Hons.)(Psychology), MPsych (Couns.)
With a Master’s in Counselling, Brisbane Psychologist Ilana Gorovoy draws on therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Existential and Strengths-based approaches, Person-Centred and Positive Psychology, to assist her clients to become conscious of their strengths and difficulties, design and reach their goals, live a life of meaning and purpose, and reach their full potential.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Ilana Gorovoy, try Online Booking – Wishart. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology (Wishart) on (07) 3088 5422.