What are character strengths?
09 Jan 2018 | June Rousso
Character strengths can be guiding stars in our lives. The VIA
Institute on Character has identified twenty-four strengths
that we all possess in different degrees.
When we become aware of our strengths we can learn how to use
them more and develop them. The first step is to have a clear
understanding of the meaning of each of the strengths.
They are presented here as a poem to help make them meaningful
and engaging for everyone.
Creativity is shaping your
into something that you have never seen or heard before.
It is letting your imagination go and start to soar.
Curiosity is having an open
and wanting to experience something new every day.
Asking questions to learn more than you do
And in this way bring the world closer to you.
Judgment is thinking things
Never rushing in what you set out to do.
Changing your mind when new facts come your way
And truly listening to what others have to say.
Love of Learning is mastering skills
and being in the know.
Learning something new wherever you go.
Some from what you read and others from the people you meet.
Always learning - what a treat!
Perspective is using your
intelligence and common sense in deciding what to do.
It's not being foolish, but taking time to think things
Learning not to always ask others for advice.
Believing that our own good judgment can suffice.
Bravery is trying new things and
Even when you feel afraid and may start to shake.
It's moving forward
Without thinking much about making a mistake.
Honesty is being true to
Taking responsibility for our actions and not looking to
Not trying to give anyone a bad name.
Nor looking at fibbing and telling tales as just a fun
Perseverance is working hard to
complete what we start
And not getting so upset that we fall apart.
It's taking things step-by-step, that's for sure.
In this way, we can always achieve more.
Zest is feeling excited about life as
much as you can.
Seeing the sunny side rather than looking for all that is
Viewing life as a beautiful song.
While there may be some dark clouds along the way,
Always believing that tomorrow is a new day.
Kindness is going out of our
Saying good morning and have a great day.
It's holding a door for a person you don't know.
Cheering someone up when they feel low.
Love is feeling close to people and
wanting to show that you care.
Always missing them when they are not there.
Love is not focusing just on you.
Rather than one, you now think about two.
Social intelligence is being aware of
what others may think and feel.
And counting these thoughts and feelings as all very real.
It's making decisions taking in another's point of view.
And not just counting the view of you.
Fairness is doing what's right for
everyone and not just you.
Or for that matter just a select few.
It is trying to make what's wrong right and not just let wrong
This is true for you as well as for me.
Leadership is encouraging others to
get things done.
Taking charge without taking over, I would say.
Leading them toward a goal.
Helping them find their way.
Teamwork is being part of a group
and doing your share.
Treating members equally because that's what's fair.
You are not the one who always has to stand out.
This is true beyond a doubt.
Forgiveness is giving others a second
And not holding a grudge.
It is having an open mind and not one that won't budge.
Forgiveness can sometimes bring people closer than before.
With so many good times in store.
Humility is not seeing yourself as
special or better than anyone you know.
It is being who you are
And not putting on a show.
It is not bragging or boasting to make yourself feel good.
It's about being you, just as you should.
Prudence is being careful about what
you do and say,
So when all is done you do not feel sorry in any way.
It's not saying things meant to hurt or tease people you
It is being thoughtful wherever you go.
Self-regulation is controlling your
actions and learning to wait your turn as much as you can.
It's learning to take a breath and count to ten.
It's not pushing ahead of the line and blurting out what we have
It is practicing self-control each and every day.
Appreciation of beauty &
excellence is seeing the world with wonder and
The flowers, trees, rivers, oceans, watching a bird soar.
The silvery moon, the sparkling stars, the snow-capped mountains
and much, much more.
Gratitude is being thankful for what
we have and who we are.
Taking time to express thanks for everything and everyone, near
It is reminding ourselves of all that we have when we think we
That behind every cloud, there is a golden sun.
Hope is looking to a future that is
Where things are not dark as the black of night.
Looking to a guiding star,
Wherever we find ourselves, wherever we are.
Knowing that with hope we can travel so far.
Humour is seeing the funny side of
life where others may see none.
It knowing how to laugh and to have fun.
ut, is not making fun of, that's for sure.
Humor helps people not to feel less, but rather to feel more.
Spirituality is looking for meaning
in life, things that make everything seem worthwhile.
Reading a good book, gazing up at the stars, chatting with a
Helping people out, writing a story, taking a hike in the woods,
the possibilities never end.
June Rousso © 2017
The Little Book of Character
You can now get a colorfully illustrated book of this beautiful
poem by June Rousso, called The Little Book of Character Strengths. It's a
wonderful way of describing the meaning of character strengths to a
child and young adult audience.