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 Humanity, which brings together those strengths used in one-on-one relationships with others.
The Character Strength of Love probably needs no definition. Countless movies, songs and Hallmark cards have given us a collective understanding of Love. However, when we think of it in this context, we're looking at it as a character strength rather than an emotion. As a strength, Love is the degree to which you value close relationships with others. It is about how we show up in our closest relationships. There are various kinds of relationships where this can be present. In attachment love, you might think of a parent to a child or vice versa. In compassionate love you may think of altruism and kindness to others. In companionship we have our friends and in romance we have our partner or spouse. Love can exist or not in any of our relationships and is both our willingness to love others and be loved in return.
When Love is absent it is can lead to isolation. The opposite can appear as loneliness. In excess it can lead to emotional promiscuity. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Love in our relationships. Love is one of the most aspired to character strengths and we all have the capacity to Love.
You can look at your own relationships to see how Love is manifesting. How do you express love to those people who matter most to you? Do you express love in healthy ways and how is it received? How do you receive love in those same relationships? You can make the most out of Love by doing things like spending quality time with a loved one, making an effort to understand people close to you and what is important to them or look for ways to demonstrate love in new and unique ways. Giving and receiving Love is one of the character strengths most linked to life satisfaction, so get out there and share the Love!
If you would like to learn more about Love and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.