Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

Character Strengths

Dr. Seligman and DR. Peterson wrote a book consisting of 800 pages named as “character strengths and virtues”.

DR. Peterson first made a team that was composed of 40 people and devoted their three years of life to gain a better understanding of human character strengths and its various forms.

In this book, six categories of virtues are explained that is actually based on 24 various character strengths of humans such as

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge or quest to know
  2. Courage or bravery
  3. Humanity or kindness
  4. Justice or integrity
  5. Temperance or self-restraint
  6. Transcendence or state of grace

The foundation of a positive project’s model consists of all those virtues that can be extended from courage and mercy to honesty and appreciation.

All these character strengths can be easily seen in every single person as the basics of their culture and traditions.

In this article, we will discuss Character Strengths. 

Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

What Creates human character as Resilient and Upright?

Various cultures exist in the world all of them appreciate studying the human character strengths in the form of resilience and virtue.

Every culture uses various ways according to their social morals and strength to appreciate these virtues.

Psychologists are also interested in this phenomenon because they motivate others to explore their character strengths.

Dr. Seligman with their team explored all-dominating religions and came to the conclusion that these six virtues are the only common thing that exists in all over religions such as bravery, integrity, wisdom, temperance, kindness, and transcendence.

Although these six virtues are known as having the theoretical foundation that’s why it is difficult to study them systematically.

Whereas, positive psychology maintains their attention on these virtues that generate character strength in humans also develop various assessments to determine their depth and capacity.

Some of the important assessments to determine the depth of those character strengths are structured interviews, Questionnaires, Informant Reports, Behavioral Experiments, and Observations of the individual character.

All the character strengths have some important functioning that is described below.

  • Shouldn’t be changed with the passage of time instead of must be unchanging through time and in the time of conflict.
  • Must be cherished the qualities although they lack some profits
  • Must be cherished and appreciated across cultures also free from the negativity and political environment.
  • Culture should serve as a medium to appreciate these character strengths that help the people to distinguish these virtues and know the value. 
  • Parents also appreciate and show the inspiration for having these character strength in their children

6 virtues for human’s character strengths

Six important virtues that are made up of 24 character strengths are described below.

1. The virtue of Wisdom and Knowledge

Humans have a natural tendency to show interest in everything in order to know its mechanism in detail.

However, if an individual likes questioning and investigating new phenomena while using his imagination to gain their answers and to know more it helps them to gain understandable knowledge in different angles and viewpoints that they become more interested to know further.

Our instinctive ability of curiosity and using intellect encourage us to increase our knowledge about new things and gain wisdom.

Character strengths that go together with this virtue (wisdom and knowledge) also include the ability to obtain and applying this knowledge.

  • Creativity or imagination. Consider the example of EINSTEIN’s ability to obtain knowledge about the world and its creation by using his creativity.
  • Curiosity to know things and their mechanisms.
  • Liberalism
  • Show a nature of love and joy to know about things and learning about them
  • Standpoint and Insight 

2. Virtue of Courage

Individual capacity to behave daring and determined in any kind of situation shows that he will become honest and in turn encourage their ability to reach and enjoy their energetic or unique state of existence.

Which actually motivates them to become more daring and use their character strength of being brave.

Character strengths that go together with this ability include the bravery to achieve their purpose in any condition doesn’t matter if it is easy to achieve or the whole world is completely against you never forget the goal. Such as

  • Daring personality
  • Determined
  • Honesty
  • Liveliness

 3. Virtue of Humanity

To understand this virtue of character strengths consider the example of the famous Oprah Winfrey known as the icon of kindness because she has a number of good qualities such as whenever the guest comes to her.

She greets them with respect, gratitude, and listens to them actively. She fulfills all the elements of social intelligence.

Her charity work is also considered another example of her kind deeds. She is not a restricted or arrogant person instead she shows her love to their family and friend circle openly.

Consider another example of Abdul Sattar Edhi from Pakistan who’s also well-known and famous due to their charity work and a supporter for those who are helpless.

Character strengths that act together with this quality are known as thoughtful and showing the ability to be friends with others.

  • Affection
  • Kind-heartedness
  • Social intelligence

 4. Virtue of Justice

Muhammad Ali Jinnah is known as the groundbreaker of the Pakistan movement for independence.

He is not only responsible for Pakistan’s independence but also the part of giving civil rights to Muslims so that they can spend their life with freedom and show peaceful noncompliance toward Indian domination on Muslims.

He was a daring, great, and honest leader that believed inequality rather than pressurizing the weak.

Character strengths that are directly linked with this virtue include all those that have the ability to create a strong and unchanging civic.

  • Have the ability to be a responsible member of the team, an honest citizen of the country. 
  • Show equality while dealing with the various problems
  • Ability to lead a team
Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

5. Virtue of Temperance

This virtue of character strengths indicates the qualities of generous, kind-hearted, modest, wise, and have a tendency to regulate their emotions to prevent themselves from showing egotistical behavior rather than stay humble.

Avoid the characteristics that make them self-centered or unstable.

Character strengths that make up this virtue include those who prevent them from damaging and excessive behaviors.

  • Mercy and pity toward other
  • Modesty and reserve
  • Forethought
  • Self-Regulation and Self-control about their emotions.

 6. Virtue of Transcendence

The Dalai Lama is one of the superior beings in the earth that never drops his hope in humanity and he was never afraid about taking their views openly.

He spends his life in a way he believes such as he serves his life according to their planned goals and purpose he raised the value of landscape based on its excellence and distinct quality

Character strengths that act together in the composition of this virtue include the association with the world and give them meanings.

  • The gratitude of loveliness and brilliance
  • Appreciation
  • Optimism
  • The funny side and light-heartedness
  • Feeling of determination

Development of Character Strengths in Children

Dr. Peterson and Seligman stated in their book that it is difficult for children to show their character strengths in a way that is required in the world such as the feeling of thankfulness, liberalism, genuineness, and understanding are difficult to convey for young children.

Although their study in 2006 proves their abstract knowledge by explaining the fact that character strengths develop with the age such as these character strengths are unique that is achieved after the development of cognitions which is usually completed in the period of adolescence.

In short, gratitude is directly related to the feeling of happiness and appreciation for adolescents and adults but has a different meaning or maybe no meaning at all for children.

Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

Dr. Peterson and Park claimed in their study that the sense of the link between appreciation and happiness usually achieved at the age of seven.

Simmel also claimed in their research, that Gratitude increases not only human’s strength but also proves as valuable and constructive for society and considered as one of the great human character strengths.

Although young children are unable to achieve the higher character strength without reaching adolescents they have very basic character strength that develops in their age levels such as the character strength of love and hope are linked with the caregiver and a deep attachment between the caregiver and the child prove the base of good physical and psychological health in future but they are unable to show gratitude.

Modeling is considered the best way to teach them character strength. Character strengths are usually inspired by the family, community and idols these can also learn by observing and practicing 

Character Strengths and Well-Being in Adolescents

Researchers these days focus their attention toward the adults while talking about the importance of character strengths and ignore the developmental stages of childhood and adolescents.

Research in these areas such as the importance of character strength usually has the ability to promote positivity or optimism and reduce the negativity that causes psychopathology. 

Dr, Peterson with his colleague Park find in their study that adolescents that show a range of positive emotions such as enthusiasm, optimism, and the qualities of leadership often show the reduced levels of anxiety and depression as compared to others that scored below in these characters strengths.

Various other researches such as Gillham in 2011 also prove in their finding that higher levels of character strength show higher levels of psychological strength in their later life.

Various researches also claim that positive feelings such as the strength of appreciation and hope also show higher satisfaction in life and also help in creating a purposeful life, curiosity, and maintaining long term positive relationships.

Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

Conclusion

The assessment of these character strengths and basic traits of human personality by using various instruments help the individual in many ways in life.

Such as life satisfaction, happiness, psychological well-being.

The measurement tools that study these characteristics also help to determine how these character strengths develop in humans and the differences that exist in different genders and various age groups and also how to strengthen these character traits.

FAQ about Character Strengths 

What character strength means?

Character strengths are usually mentioned as particular psychological developments that explain the extensive qualities of human beings.

These character strengths are the central traits of humans that are also recognized and appreciated by various ethical theorists and philosophers all through the time.

What is the character’s weakness?

Character weakness can be considered any fault or negativity in a human’s character that makes him weak and arrogant rather than powerful and humble.

It can also be mentioned as an unwanted characteristic or trait in an individual or anything that may disturb the perfect order of human personality, create deficits, terror, inability to achieve their desired goal in life and create the false image in a way that others seem to be confused to understand their real character strengths. 

What are the 3 character strengths you have?

Character strengths like a quest to know, daring personality, wisdom, interest, leadership, optimism, thankfulness, justice, kindness all of them are the part of a good character.

References 

Positivepsychology.com: “classification, strengths and virtues”

Character Strengths (A Comprehensive Guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.