We are all unique and we all have strengths which allow us to contribute to the world. In the early 2000’s, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson developed the VIA Character Strengths. Their research determined that there are 24 common character strengths that each of us possess to one degree or another, giving us a common language to use, but still recognizing that each of us is unique.
Each of these Character Strengths fall under one of six broad categories called Virtues. These Virtues and Character Strengths have proven to be universal across cultures and nations. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 24 strengths that we all share, yet make you uniquely you!
Next we will look at the Virtue of Transcendence, which brings together those strengths that help us discover meaning and connect to the larger human experience.
The Character Strength of Awe is also know by the Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence. This strength revolved around noticing and appreciating the beauty in all things. It recognizes the inherent beauty in all areas of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday life. Appreciation of a skillful performance or the beauty in a sunset equally inspire this strength. This strength can help us reduce stress and and lead to a greater sense of well-being. People with this signature strength experience awe in many different circumstances and will often pause to experience it.
When Awe is absent one is unaware or unconscious to the depth of experiences. It's opposite can appear as consistent criticism and a focus on the negative. In excess it can lead to perfection and looking down on anything that doesn't meet a certain standard. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Awe in ourselves and in others.
The strength of Awe can often be underrated in it's positive impact in your life. It can shift nearly any circumstance in a positive direction through appreciation. One of the best ways to tap into this strength is to intentionally look for beauty and excellence in your everyday life. Take a walk in your neighborhood or in nature and look specifically for things that inspire Awe in you. You will be surprised at how often it shows up!
If you would like to learn more about Awe and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.