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 Hope is more than just having positive expectations for the future. It is an action-oriented and includes not only the motivation and confidence that a goal will be reached but also the belief that there are many ways to get there. Hope is one of the character strengths most associated with well being and satisfaction in life. People with a signature strength of Hope are more than just optimists, they are also less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression and tend to lead healthier, happier, more success and longer lives.
When Hope is absent it leads to a present orientation where there is no forward thinking toward what will happen in the future. It's opposite is often despair, depression and the belief that nothing will work out for the good. In excess it can show up as 'Pollyannaism' and being overly or blindly optimistic. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Hope in ourselves and in others.
The strength of Hope can be a powerful force in one's life. If you want to bring more of this into your life, look at the situations or circumstances now or in the past where you were hopeful. What was it out those conditions that inspired hope in you? How were you able to overcome realism or pessimism to arrive at optimism or Hope? How can you apply what you learn to your life today? Strengthening Hope can transform your life.
If you would like to learn more about Hope and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.