And the Superpowers in Others
We all come with a specific set of character strengths that makes us unique. And at one point or another, you’ve probably been told what your unique strengths are. Perhaps your friends have praised your creativity or mentioned how good of a leader you are when it comes to collaborative work. Now imagine being able to use these attributes as superpowers to create a happier life for you and the people around you.
Research has shown that identifying your character strengths can help you develop better relationships and live a more fulfilled life. This is because when you focus on your best qualities rather than your weaknesses, you develop more self-confidence and feel happier in general.
According to Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson, two pioneers of positive psychology, we all possess 24 character strengths to various degrees. These strengths fall into six different categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.
If you are not sure what your character strengths are, take the VIA Character Survey. This scientific survey will help you discover your best qualities in less than 15 minutes.
Another great way to find out what your character strengths are is by simply asking your closest friends and family. Send an email to the 10 most influential people in your life, and ask them what they think your unique qualities are. After you’ve received their emails back, write a list of all the qualities that were repeated in their answers. You’ll be surprised by the number of positive answers you get. On top of that, you’ll probably learn something new about yourself as well.
Recognizing your own character strengths is just as important as recognizing the strengths in others. So how can you help others recognize what’s best in them?
1. Get them involved in activities they’ll love.
Don’t just call your friends to go window shopping. Instead, meet up with your friends to do unusual things. For example, if you consider appreciation for beauty to be one of your friend’s top strengths, invite him to join you on a nature walk where you can take beautiful landscape pictures. I bet your friend will feel much more satisfied after having spent time doing something creative in nature rather than just going shopping for shoes.
If you have friends whose top three character strengths fall into the category of humanity, organize activities that involve kindness, social intelligence, and love. Perhaps you can form a cooking club where you can cook meals for homeless people together.
2. Write down a list of superpowers.
Write down the things you love about your friends on a piece of paper. They should be related to the positive aspects of their personality. Give your friends this list whenever they are feeling down or “powerless”. This way, they’ll be reminded about their unique superpowers.
3. Create a support group.
Encourage your friends to have regular meetings to talk about your projects and goals in life. Is there something that’s stopping you from working towards your vision? Perhaps it’s limiting beliefs, fear, or lack of clarity. How can you develop hope and zest for the future? Exchange ideas of what activities you can do to develop the strengths needed to reach your goals.
4. Just say it.
We often don’t acknowledge the superpowers in others, either because we assume they already know this about themselves, or because we might secretly feel envious. However, when you compliment others, you are helping them feel more valuable. The more you praise others, the more they will want to continue to do what they’re good at. And they’ll also want to give that favor back! So don’t be afraid of saying things like, “That speech of yours was very moving” or “What you did was very brave.”
Like Mother Teresa once said, “Always leave people better than you found them.” When you strive to highlight the strengths of others, you make the people around you feel unique and special. Consequently, you make an impact on their lives.
Instead of trying to make others be like you, celebrate the superpowers they have to offer. Think of what you could do if you and the people around you could combine your character strengths. Wouldn’t that make this world a better place to live in? This article itself is the combination of two superpowers: my perseverance in writing, and the creativity of my friend Karen Olivares in her illustration (featured image).
Want to learn more about character strengths? Then watch the video below.
And if you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with a friend who you think might find it helpful too.