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24 Character Strengths: Humility

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 Temperance, which brings together those strengths that center on moderation. The strengths associated with this virtue protect us from excess and impulsivity.

The Character Strength of Humility is another of the strengths that is not often given a lot of attention and may not be quite what you think it is. Those with a signature strength of Humility have a balanced view of themselves. They are not overly self-critical, but are aware of their mistakes or areas they need to improve on. On the opposite side, they recognize their own accomplishments, but don't seek out attention for them. Humility is about balance and seeing things as they actually are.

The absence of Humility is often a sense of self that isn't based in any reality - either good or bad. It's opposite is arrogance and feeling self-important or superior to those around you. In excess it manifests as being self-deprecating, overly modest or possibly truly undervaluing the yourself. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Humility in ourselves and in others.

Humility can be another of the more difficult strengths to work on. The challenge for many is that it involves starting at a place of accurately assessing the self. Seeing what is there rather than what you want to belief or wish were there. One of the ways in which you can identify Humility in yourself is to pay attention to how you respond to the accomplishments of others. Do you find yourself genuinely feeling good for them or instead try and 'one up' them with something you have done? When you find yourself in the wrong or having made a mistake, do you acknowledge it and do your best to correct the situation or find yourself trying to hide it? Noticing how we respond in situations like this can help us get a more accurate picture of this strength in our life. As you gain your new awareness, what changes could you make to bring more Humility into you world?

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


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