Find Happiness in Unfamiliar Ways
July 18, 2016 by VIA Institute on Character ·
I’ll start this blog with a little courage by admitting my lowest character strength. The strength that comes in last for me is… well… bravery. Yet this weekend I had the opportunity to try something that was out of my comfort zone, and not only did my bravery get a boost, but some of my other non-signature strengths were buoyed in the process.
I like to think of my aunt as a modern day Renaissance woman. She loves painting, teaching yoga, gardening, birdwatching and she even makes furniture out of vintage belts. So when she invited me to help with her latest hobby, beekeeping, I wasn’t at all surprised. Apprehensive? Sure. However, in an effort to exercise my 24th strength, I agreed.
As we suited up she explained that the bees would respond to my energy, so if I was calm, they would be too. Easier said than done, I thought. And I’ll admit, at first I was very uncomfortable. As I hovered over the beehives and allowed the bees to swarm around me, it was awkward going against my instinct to swat or run. Then I paused, took a deep breath and noticed the sound of the buzzing. It was rhythmic and constant, and in a way, soothing. My anxiety continued to melt as I watched in appreciation and awe as the thousands of bees worked, interacted and protected their home. I listened to my aunt describe the different roles of the bees and I found myself mesmerized by their teamwork and perseverance. My curiosity was piqued and I couldn’t stop asking her questions.
As we finished up and started walking away I noticed how excited I was to tell my friends and family about the experience. In an attempt to boost one lower strength, I had unconsciously boosted a handful of others. I had spent 30 minutes captivated by strengths that I don’t usually connect with and I felt proud and exhilarated.
So, I ask you: what little thing can you do today to boost one lower strength? You never know what other strengths will come along for the ride! Sign in to your VIA account to review your unique Character Strengths Profile.
Why Focus on Lesser Strengths?
Each of the 24 character strengths is important and valued for different reasons. While there may be a tendency to focus most of your attention on your signature strengths, those that are expressed most naturally, you shouldn’t neglect the strengths that appear at the bottom of your list. It is important to understand these strengths and explore how they, too, can contribute to your happiness and well-being.
Learning your lesser strengths with the VIA Survey is just the beginning. Lasting personal growth occurs when you get your in-depth VIA Me, VIA Pro and Lesser Strengths Reports and explore how each of the 24 strengths play out currently in your life and how each could be weaved in to daily activities more frequently.
I have used my personalized Reports much like journals—answering the exploration questions, jotting ideas and writing about past experiences. Without these tools I wouldn’t have had such a strong understanding of my lesser strengths and I wouldn’t have appreciated the impact of being immersed in them that afternoon with the bees.
Get your in-depth Reports now by signing in to your VIA account.
-Kelly Aluise, VIA’s Communication Specialist