28 Jul Understanding the concept of strengths for happiness
One of the most exciting parts of positive psychology is focusing more on and more fully utilising our own strengths. In addition, happiness comes partly from recognising and appreciating strengths in others. So this article from one of positive psychology’s leaders is, I believe, distinctly relevant to those of us interested in seeking and understanding and enjoying more happiness in our lives…
Strengths: What’s in a Name?
As the field of positive psychology and the use of the VIA Survey of Character have grown, so has the use of several key terms:
_ã¢ Signature Strengths
The importance and strategic advantage of leveraging personal and community strengths strikes a chord of logic and intuition with people. Expanding upon “what’s good and right” makes sense to people as an important complementary effort to remediating deficiencies.
As we collectively do this work, it’s helpful to look closely at how we define these terms.
Strengths-based: The term “strengths-based practice” has come in vogue since the advent of positive psychology, VIA’s work on character strengths, and before that, the pioneering work of McKnight and Search Institute on asset-based community development. The importance and strategic advantage of leveraging personal and community strengths strikes a chord of logic and intuition with people. Expanding upon “what’s good and right” makes sense to people as an important complementary effort to remediating deficiencies.
The term “strengths-based” refers to two different approaches – “building up” strengths and “building upon” strengths. Traditional practices identify a skill or attitude that could alleviate a problem and then go about building the missing skill or attitude. For example, assertiveness training might be apropos for a woman who finds herself unhappy at work. The “buildingupon” approach identifies existing strengths and elaborates and leverages those strengths. For example, a woman unhappy at work might focus on finding ways to express her character strength of “appreciation of excellence” or “perseverance.” Positive psychology practitioners use both of these approaches – building upon signature strengths and building up select strengths such as gratitude or optimism. The philosophical leaning of positive psychology, however, is towards “building upon.”
Find more happiness by reading more of this interesting article on strengths…HERE