We all have our own individual strengths. Some of us are better than others at being appreciative while others are incredibly enthusiastic. Some people are naturally curious while others are predisposed to kindness. We are all prone to having certain innate strengths within us that, when harnessed correctly, benefit our lives and help us overcome adversities. These are our personal Signature Strengths.
Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Chris Peterson identified 24 Character Strengths that are found in each person across cultures. Some people are better at utilizing certain skills than others, which makes each person’s approach to overcoming adversities and developing resilience differently. Some examples of Signature Strengths and their uses include:
- Bravery- acting with physical and mental strength even when faced with a difficult situation
- Fairness- the belief that every person is of value and that situations can be evaluated through an unbiased mindset
- Love- valuing connection and appreciating those close to you
- Perseverance- sticking with passions and achieving goals despite obstacles
- Purpose- the belief that life has meaning and that you are part of something greater than yourself
These are a few examples of the many signature strengths that we each have. They exist on a spectrum in which some of us have greater abilities in certain strengths than others, rather than having some and not all. Therefore, there are ways to master certain skills that can help increase our overall well-being and psychological resilience. Signature Strengths act as a force for resilient behavior. For example, if someone is strongly optimistic they will be less likely to become discouraged or even fall into depressive patterns. Similarly, creativity can help someone brainstorm new avenues toward happiness and success as opposed to feeling hopeless when they hit a roadblock.
How to Use Your Signature Strengths
It is important to use the Signature Strengths that are most beneficial and natural to you. For example, don’t try to force a loud leadership quality if you are a more quiet person and prefer subtlety. The process of identifying Signature Strengths is not to tell you what you are lacking and what you need to work on, rather point out the core parts of you that are already present. At Long Island Psychology, we want to help you develop and expand your innate Signature Strengths and implement them into your everyday life.
After identifying your personal Signature Strengths through Character Strength tests, self-introspection, or therapy, try using them in a new way. For example, if you are a naturally creative:
- Think about multiple ways to approach or solve an issue
- Do a mundane task in a more artistic or unique way
- Take a regular object and use it for something other than its original purpose
- Be open to trying or cooking new and interesting foods
By training yourself to implement Signature Strengths into your everyday life, you will be more likely to use it subconsciously to problem-solve and approach hardships. Additionally, utilizing the unique characteristics that are naturally embedded within you can increase your overall happiness and sense of self. Instead of fighting to become someone “better” or “different,” Signature Strength Building allows you to highlight strengths that come easily to you.
You can also consider the other Signature Strengths that are not necessarily core parts of you. While you might not be incredibly gifted with teamwork skills, thinking about teamwork and its effects may be helpful in personal relationships or at work. This applies largely to all 24 Character Strengths. Even if some traits aren’t specific to your core talents, they still have important uses. Essentially, you should apply the strengths that are specific to you into your everyday life, while considering your less natural strengths in situations that pertain to them. For example:
- If you are prone toward the strength of integrity you should be honest and speak your truth because this is what you are good at. However, remember to consider kindness in certain situations where integrity may be unkind.
- If you are a humble person and do not like being in the spotlight, make sure to find places where you can let your actions speak and not just your words. However, consider when you are qualified to take charge and lead an initiative. Being a leader does not always have to mean being loud and in front of a large crowd, there are ways to lead quietly.
- If you are good at practicing self-control make sure to implement this into decisions that you make and think before you do. However, don’t be afraid to act bravely and sometimes take risks even if they are difficult.
Signature Strength building is all about balance. It is important to stay true to who you are while also considering where the core parts of you can benefit from other strengths. This does not mean changing yourself, rather making sure that your strengths are being used in the best possible way.
Signature Strength building increases resilience and growth by teaching people to combat issues through their natural abilities. This can be useful to a range of people, from those who are looking to increase their overall well-being to those that are facing specific adversities. To learn more about Signature Strength Building and our related programs please visit our Resilience Training Program page or call 516-732-0273. For more information about our Garden City and Rockville Centre, NY locations, please visit our contact us page.