A step-by-step guide to develop your personal virtues.
Traditionally, psychology has focused mainly on eliminating symptoms, something that the patient demands when he comes to consultation. In this way, if you have depression, you demand to remove sadness and hopelessness, and if for example you have anxiety (with breathing difficulties, palpitations, etc.) you want to eliminate anxiety.
From my point of view, if the psychological treatment focuses exclusively on the negative (“I remove the bad and that’s it”) it is incomplete, since it only focuses on the elimination of what creates discomfort without working on the positive, the possibility of develop strengths.
Treatment should not only be aimed at “eliminating suffering” but also at enhancing the resources we have and cultivating positive feelings and thoughts.
Psychology to develop strengths
In addition to using techniques to control symptoms ( relaxation techniques, thought modification techniques, problem solving, self-control…), the person must develop the ability to enjoy, the ability to recognize the meaning of their own life, personal abilities, optimism …
In this way, not only weaknesses are compensated and wounds heal, but competencies are developed that the person can use in the future. In addition, it is also possible to work preventively (not only from a model of “cure if there are symptoms” on issues such as violence or drug use.
From this position, positive emotions are cultivated in three temporal moments: in the past, valuing it in a positive way so that it generates well-being; in the present, to be motivated and flow; and in the future to look towards it positively with hope and optimism.
You can have positive emotions in a temporary moment but not in others: For example, one may feel calm in the present and have little hope for the future, or look at the present and future with hope but be dissatisfied with the past. The important thing is that it is something cultivable.
Learning to gain autonomy
If, for example, it is the past that “catches us”, we can learn throughout therapy to rewrite our history in order to continue on our way. In the case of the past, our feelings are totally determined by our thinking, by the interpretation we make; For this reason, by rewriting the lived history, feelings change.
We can reflect on these three times: in the past, what I did a long time ago that I am proud of; in the present write 3 positive things for example of today; and in the future, what would I like to do in the short term and in the long term.
24 personal strengths
Strengths are psychological traits and characteristics that occur in different situations and over time and can be trained and therefore improved. They are as follows.
Strengths that involve the acquisition and use of knowledge
1. Curiosity, interest in the world.
2. Love of knowledge and learning (continuous tendency to acquire new learning).
3. Judgment, critical thinking, open-mindedness (thinking about things and examining all their meanings, without drawing random conclusions).
4. Ingenuity, originality, practical intelligence (thinking of new and productive ways and ways of doing things).
5. Social intelligence, personal intelligence, emotional intelligence (knowledge of oneself and of others).
6. Perspective (being able to help others solve problems and gain perspective for themselves).
Strengths that imply the achievement of goals in difficult situations
7. Courage and bravery (don’t be intimidated by threat, change, difficulty, or pain).
8. Perseverance, industry, diligence (persisting in an activity even though there are obstacles).
9. Integrity, honesty, authenticity (taking responsibility for one’s own feelings and actions taken).
Strengths that involve caring for and offering friendship and love to others
10. Kindness and generosity.
11. Loving and letting yourself be loved (valuing intimate and deep relationships with others).
Strengths that involve a healthy community life
12. Citizenship , teamwork, loyalty (working well within a team or group of people, being faithful to the group and feeling part of it).
13. Fairness and fairness (not allowing personal feelings to bias decisions about other people).
14. Leadership (encouraging the group of which one is a member to do things and reinforce relationships between the people in the group).
Strengths that protect us against excesses (temperance)
15. Self-control (ability to regulate one’s feelings and actions, have control over impulses and emotions).
16. Prudence, discretion, caution (do not say or do anything that you may later regret).
17. Modesty, humility (do not try to be the center of attention or believe yourself more special than others).
Strengths that provide meaning to life (transcendence)
18. Appreciation of beauty and excellence (knowing how to appreciate the beauty of things, from day to day or being interested in aspects of life such as nature, art, science).
19. Gratitude (being aware of the good things that happen to you and expressing gratitude).
20. Hope, optimism, projection into the future (expecting the best in the future and planning to achieve it).
21. Spirituality, faith, religious sense (having a philosophy of life, religious or not, that places you as part of the universe in general, having a purpose in life).
22. Forgiveness (forgiving, giving a second chance to others).
23. Sense of humor (likes to laugh and make others laugh, sees the positive side of life).
24. Passion, enthusiasm.