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24 Character Strengths: Honesty

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 Courage, which brings together those strengths used to further our goals and face challenges.

The Character Strength of Honesty is all about you being who you say you are. You are in the world in a sincere and genuine way and you take responsibility for your emotions and actions. You bring this authenticity to all areas of your life and you are consistently true to who you are. This is one of the easiest of the strengths to understand, yet is one of the hardest to life in practice.

When Honesty is absent, it can show up as insincerity or a lack of genuineness. The opposite is deceit or intentionally misrepresenting a truth. In excess it can feel like self-righteousness or feeling morally or ethically superior to those around you. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Honesty in ourselves and in others. We all have the capacity to live with Honesty.

Some of the ways you can gauge your strength in Honesty is to look at how well you honor your commitments. Do you follow through on agreements? What compromises do you make in your personal or professional relationships? Do you make excuses or blame others out of guilt? Do you minimize or rationalize truths to suit your needs?

Being honest with yourself and others is a keystone for healthy, positive relationships. Are you showing up consistently with Honesty and integrity? Look for situations or relationships in your life where you may not be feeling or acting in Honesty. What would it mean to change?

If you would like to learn more about Honesty and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.


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