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 Courage, which brings together those strengths used to further our goals and face challenges.
The Character Strength of Bravery can show up in several different ways, but a common element is facing rather than avoiding fears. Bravery can be exhibited through physical, psychological or moral acts which help you face a challenge, threat or difficulty. In all types, Bravery involves taking both action and risks and often is done for the greater good of others.
When Bravery is absent, it is often fear which takes center stage and prevents forward momentum. The opposite is cowardice or actively avoiding something because it is difficult or unpleasant. In excess it can best be summed up by the saying, 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread' or being needlessly reckless. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Bravery in ourselves and in others. We all have moments of Bravery and it shows up in each of us in a unique way.
Some of the ways you can experiment with your Bravery strength (and you do have it) are to acknowledge and face things that may frighten you. For many, things like speaking in public ranks high on that list, but it could like standing up for a position you believe in that may be unpopular or taking on a physical challenge that don't believe you can do. Look for ways to be brave in your life and you just might be surprised how often you rise to the challenge!
If you would like to learn more about Bravery and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.