It can be hard to work against your strengths. They are automatic and feel right. So honest people may find it hard to tell a white lie, and forgiving people may let others hurt them over and over. These are examples of overdoing it with a strength. The reverse, underusing a strength, can also happen.
For instance, you may struggle to complete tasks. Some perseverance strength would help, but maybe it is hard for you. We all have “strengths buttons.” Strengths are connected to our values and identity, so sometimes we have a really strong reaction when our strengths are challenged or violated by someone else.
Strengths buttons get “pushed” when other people’s strengths are either different from or in conflict with your own. Imagine that you observe someone who shows ungrateful behavior. This could happen if gratitude comes easily to you. Because you might automatically expect the other person to show the thanks that you would in a similar situation, you may feel a strong judger reaction toward the other person. How dare they!
Feeling disgusted? Angry? Afraid? Any time you react with a strong negative emotion and judger thoughts, it is worth asking yourself if a strengths button has been pushed. After the button for your well-developed strength is pushed, you may react with strong feelings and exaggerated behaviors, too. Since your relationships with others depend on balancing your needs and wants with those of the other person, knowing how to manage these moments when your strengths buttons have been pushed can make a big difference. You can prevent overreacting by observing the times when you are having a strengths moment.
Having A Moment Exercise
Do you keep track of daily hassles and aggravation? Instead of feeling angry, worried, or sad, analyze them through a strengths lens. Any strength, even ones that are not as easy for you, can be developed and managed. When you use strengths patterns that are already in place, you can build on them to get results.
First, find your strengths here. It’s research supported and free!
Done? Get your results and then check out the first five in your list.
Now think of an example of a time in the past few days when you felt like someone else really aggravated you. Did it feel as if the other person was annoying you on purpose? Remember: the bigger your superpower, the bigger the strengths button moment. Which of your superpowers were being tested?
To learn more about strengths #6-24 and how to manage your strengths in action, contact me here.
Get more exercises like this in Unleash Your Epic Self: The Guide to Crushing it at School, Life and Work