Archive | October 2018

Character Strengths

A while ago, I did a Coursera course called “The Science of Well-Being“, which was super interesting. It wasn’t just interesting from a theoretical perspective, but quite interactive and practical. Part of it was finding out your character strengths on this website.
I found it worthwhile to reflect upon myself in ways I might not have previously. My top 5 strengths are:
Humour: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
Honesty: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.
Kindness: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.
Humility: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.
Judgment: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.
(To compare, my bottom 5 are: Self-regulation, Perspective, Forgiveness, Hope and Spirituality. Huh.)
It’s weird to take a sort of a quiz and have it spit this stuff out at you. And to be honest, I think these are more strengths that I aim to embody than strengths that drive me. Although I do feel like humour and kindness are a big part of who I am, despite my grumpy feminist ways 🙂
Humour is such an important thing to me. My number one favourite thing in life is making a friend laugh. Well, dogs are probably #1, but as far as things I can do, that’s up there. I’ve never really had aspirations to do stand-up or improv or anything formal, but I do feel like I can bring humour into everyday life. It was so empowering to see this as a character strength.
Kindness isn’t something I can throw out there quite as effortlessly, but it’s definitely something I work at. (Possibly I need to work at it more directed toward myself.) Negativity is hard to shed, and it’s certainly something I carry with me daily whether I know it or not. Aiming to integrate kindness into daily life and the things I do helps. Reaching out to a friend. Grabbing a snack to share with a co-worker. Surprising someone with mail. So much more. There’s a fundamentally positive feedback loop when you act with kindness, and I need to remember that more.
During the Science of Well-Being course, these character strengths were brought up as something to focus on, to be mindful of. They’re not necessarily inherent, but they’re part of us and we can always work on improving them. Coming across my list today reminded me of that, and I’m going to put more effort in.