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 Temperance, which brings together those strengths that center on moderation. The strengths associated with this virtue protect us from excess and impulsivity.
If there were a popularity contest of the Character Strengths, Self-Regulation would probably come in last. As you might imagine, it centers on the appropriate control of impulses and emotions. Those with a signature strength of Self-Regulation seem to be able to easily manage what they feel and do. They're disciplined, control their vices and keep their emotions in check.
The absence of Self-Regulation is self-indulgence or giving in to any whim or impulse that strikes you. It's opposite is impulsivity or acting without thinking. In excess it manifests as being self-conscious to the point of inhibition or not being able to express oneself naturally. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Self-Regulation in ourselves and in others.
Self-Regulation can be one of the most difficult strengths to work on. It is like a muscle that strengthens with practice but can be fatigued with overuse. To build your Self-Regulation muscle, start small with manageable goals and expectations. Give yourself the space to fail and try again. Celebrate the small victories and before you know it, you'll be on your way to building new habits that both support your goals and add to you overall well-being!
If you would like to learn more about Self-Regulation and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.