Balanced Use of VIA Character Strengths

30 October 2020
Review

Time to Recalibrate Our Optimal Use of Character Strengths

This year, the COVID-19 global pandemic has pushed all of us into a different zone from where we were in the last year – online schooling of children, work-from-home, pay cuts, job losses, travel ban, and the like. We are all trying in our various ways to stay afloat amidst our fair share of challenges. In the process, we have made adjustments at various levels and in different aspects of our lives. We have drawn inspiration from multiple spheres to find respite such as family support, government aids and relief packages, and drawn on positive traits such as optimism, resilience, love and acts of kindness.

Being a Positive Psychology Practitioner, when I see others going through these hardships, I naturally gravitate to something integral and universal to all of us, and that is, human strengths and virtues. And especially in troubled times like these, we need to remind ourselves of two important things: our uniqueness and the fact that we have a choice.

Two people in particular have been an inspiration to me. The first is Dr Neal Mayerson, who explains that we all are a unique combination of Character Strengths, classified by the researchers and scientists as VIA or Values In Action, and the second is Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor who emphasised the power to choose.

Finding our balance

The power of communication has helped us to convey the meaning of our messages to others effectively, whether it is through drawing or coding. I am grateful to Dr Ryan Niemiec, whose article titled “Finding the Golden Mean: The Overuse, Underuse, and Optimal Use of Character Strengths” has provided me with the vocabulary to put things in perspective and focus on my strengths to enhance my overall well-being in difficult times.

For those who wish to recalibrate and make optimal use of your strengths, please see the table I have collated from Dr Niemiec’s paper, which captures the range of strengths we can tap to help us have a balanced focus on life.

Source: Ryan M. Niemiec (2019): Finding the golden mean: the overuse, underuse, and optimal use of character strengths, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/09515070.2019.1617674

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