We are all unique and we all have strengths which allow us to contribute to the world. In the early 2000’s, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson developed the VIA Character Strengths. Their research determined that there are 24 common character strengths that each of us possess to one degree or another, giving us a common language to use, but still recognizing that each of us is unique.
Each of these Character Strengths fall under one of six broad categories called Virtues. These Virtues and Character Strengths have proven to be universal across cultures and nations. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 24 strengths that we all share, yet make you uniquely you!
Next we will look at the Virtue of Transcendence, which brings together those strengths that help us discover meaning and connect to the larger human experience.
The Character Strength of Gratitude may be one of the most talked about in terms of increasing happiness and well-being. Gratitude is not only being thankful for the things around you and that happen in your life, but also taking the time to express that thanks. Those with Gratitude as a signature strength can find something to be grateful for in everyone and everything. They have a fundamental underlying positive belief system that supports them and reveals the gifts that others take for granted or never notice.
The absence of Gratitude is being impolite or ill-mannered. It's opposite can appear as a sense of entitlement. In excess it can lead ingratiating behaviors and mindsets. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Gratitude in ourselves and in others.
If there were only one strength to focus on to change your life, Gratitude may be the one. It has been shown to help people make significant positive changes in their life - all starting with being grateful for what you already have. Try a popular Gratitude practice for 30 days by writing down three things that happened in your day that you're grateful for and why. It may seem difficult at first, but when you open your mind to what is truly around you, you will find that you have much to be grateful for. You may surprise yourself at just how many things you come up with!
If you would like to learn more about Gratitude and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.