Check this out!
If you discover your character strengths, then use one of your top 5 character strengths in a new way each day, you can increase happiness and lower depression.
One study showed the positive effects of this exercise lasting for 6 months!
I'm pretty good at recognizing my character flaws. I've always needed at least a little help identifying my strengths.
A while ago I came across this helpful test that identifies your strengths. It also ranks them, so you can identify your top 5 strengths. The survey calls these "Signature Strengths."
Why You Need to Know Your Character Strengths
Identifying your character strengths is important.
It's not only valuable from the perspective of increasing happiness and lowering depression.
It's an important spiritual exercise.
God's in the business of strengthening our character.
That's what I get from these words written by Paul, and the words of others who knew God well:
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation (Romans 5:3-4 NLT).
Here's an example from the words of Peter:
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone (2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT).
Peter's saying we receive these character traits from God, through His promises, we ought to supplement or add these things to our faith.
Peter also makes that point that this is not a selfish, or self-centered exercise. The goal is to produce with in us godliness--a godliness characterized by love for everyone.
As good as we might be in identifying our character flaws, we need to know our character strengths, so we can put them to work in our life, love and work. Not just increase our happiness, but to increase the happiness of everyone around us.
How to Identify Your Character Strengths
The VIA Institute on Character offers a free test for identifying your character strengths. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the test.
I believe the scientifically validated character strengths in this test are aligned with the character strengths God wants to cultivate in each of us.
I took the test, and came out of it with the following as my top 5--my Signature Strengths.
- Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
- Modesty and humility
- Fairness, equity, and justice
- Self-control and self-regulation
- Forgiveness and mercy
Revealing your strengths to others is one way to put them to use.
Once you take the survey, come back and list your Signature Strengths here with a comment.
Here's the link for the VIA Personality Strengths Test.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.