Why Character Strengths matter.
What are the unique traits that differentiate one person from another?
What is “the essence of me” that makes me unique and unlike anyone else?
Throughout history, these questions have been asked by leading philosophers and thinkers such as Aristotle. In addition, over the centuries, the world’s great religions, hundreds of cultures, and modern scientists have examined and valued character strengths. Character strengths and virtues are capabilities that humans have for thinking, feeling and behaving (Peterson and Seligman, 2004). These unique character strengths are the way we separate ourselves from animals and display our virtues or human essence.
Modern scientists have come up with a list of 24 character strengths:
1.Creativity (originality, ingenuity)
2.Curiosity (interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience)
3.Judgment (critical thinking)
4.Love of Learning
7.Perseverance (persistence, industriousness)
8.Honesty (authenticity, integrity)
9.Zest (vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy)
11.Kindness (generosity, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”)
12.Social Intelligence (emotional intelligence, personal intelligence)
13.Teamwork (citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty)
20.Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence (awe, wonder, elevation)
22.Hope (optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation)
24.Spirituality (faith, purpose)
Strength and greatness are inside of everyone. Each person is different from everyone else. Today you are going to pick a character strength that reminds you of you!
We want you to think of your own ideas to illustrate your character strength. Use your imagination!
Here’s How to Get Started:
1. Choose a Character Strength that describes you. Check out the VIA Character Strength website for ages 10-17 and adults.
2. Write the name of your Character Strength on the top of the page and then draw your Character Strength on the Soaringwords Border, using lots of colors.
3. Write your name and age on the bottom.
Do fill the entire page with your picture and message.
Do make your picture really bright and colorful.
Today you are going to think about your best possible future self.
Take a few deep breaths… Take a moment to think about your best possible self and life. It could be you in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. Perhaps you have done really well in school. Perhaps you have excelled in a sport, dancing or some physical activity. Maybe you have learned new skills like painting or learning a new language or playing a musical instrument. There are many accomplishments for which you can feel proud.
How do you want to grow? Look? Feel? Who is with you? What makes you really happy? What do you love? Perhaps you have meaningful and happy relationships with your family and friends.
Get a good picture of you as your best possible future self. Now close your eyes and imagine it. When you are ready, open your eyes and start the activities below.
SOARING into Strength: Best Future Self Writing Exercise
Part 1: Use the attached Best Possible Future Self Border to describe your best future self in words. Be as creative and imaginative as you want, using as much detail as you want. This writing can be for just YOU, private, strictly conﬁdential so don’t hold back and edit yourself. Or you can share your best possible future self writing with your parents or a healthcare professional.
Part 2: Now write down a speciﬁc goal or goals that would help you attain your best possible self. Sometimes long-term goals seem overwhelming or out of your reach. Every journey begins with just a single step. Think about taking baby steps towards your long-term goal(s). For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, maybe the first step is speaking to someone about getting a tape or book to start practicing. If your goal is to learn how to play a new instrument maybe the first step is to find out about classes in your school or in the community.
SOARING into Strength: Best Future Self Artwork Exercise
Use your creativity and imagination to draw your best future self. Have fun, use lots of colors, we can’t wait to see what you have come up with! Start the journey without worrying too much about the length of the road.
*This exercise is inspired by the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky & Shane Lopez