Values and Relationships

So as part of my homework for my Positive Psychology class, I had to complete a ‘strengths’ questionnaire. I’ve always loved filling out questionnaires of any kind (is that just me?!) , but particularly personality questionnaires. This one was a character strengths questionnaire, which is supposed to help you understand your core characteristics, by ranking 24 character virtues based on your responses in the questionnaire. It’s selling point is supposed to be that it focuses on your best qualities, rather than positives and negatives like other personality questionnaires do. I wrote a post about a year ago about the values I thought I had, but I thought i’d post the results this questionnaire generated. Interestingly, there is lots of similarity between what I thought my top values were, and what my questionnaire answers generate them to be.

1. Judgment
2. Spirituality
3. Kindness
4. Forgiveness
5. Love
6. Honesty
7. Prudence
8. Fairness
9. Humility
10. Perspective
11. Love of learning
12. Gratitude
13. Social Intelligence
14. Team Work

 

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My top characteristic strength is:

1. Judgment
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

Which, to anyone who knows me, or even anyone who’s read any previous posts of mine, shouldn’t be a surprise. If you read my last post in particular, you will be aware that I analyse and think a lot about things before forming opinions or conclusions. Combine this with prudence at number 7 (being careful about one’s choices) and you’ve got me described pretty well!

Strength number 2…

2. Spirituality
Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.

Again, makes sense! My life is indeed shaped by my spiritual beliefs, and these beliefs do do provide comfort (amongst other things like confusion, angst, frustration haha!) Although, there is definitely some irony in the statement “having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe”… I have beliefs, but they are often far from coherent!!!

Strengths 3, 4 and 6 are Kindness, Fairness and Honesty – which i would certainly like to think are accurate descriptions of me and my personality, as well as three things that are important to me and which I value in others too.

5. Love
Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing & caring are reciprocated; being close to people.

I’m almost surprised this one isn’t a bit higher, as if I was choosing the order myself, I would have put this description right at the top I think! I wrote a blog post last night about relationships and friendships and then never posted it, so i’m going to combine it with this post as it follows on quite nicely from the description of the character virtue description of love…

If you’ve read any of my other posts you will likely know that it is in my nature to be shy, quiet, and introverted. I prefer to listen and observe more than I do talk, particularly in larger groups, and I enjoy spending time on my own. I hate small talk and really struggle to do it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to speak at all. Like many introverts (many or most? I’m not sure), i love deep discussions, particularly about things that are important to me. Which is why I was so thrilled and energised by my weekend at Deep Impact. Not necessarily because of anything spoken about in the sessions (although some of that did have an impact..blog post still to come on that!), but because of how many real, honest, deep conversations I had with people.
Throughout the weekend I had countless talks with people – real, open conversations – about faith, God, church, Salvation Army practices, youth work, plans, dreams, feelings, and just life in general. And it made me so happy. I don’t really mean that in a ‘beaming from ear to ear, cheesy smile’ kind of happy, but in a cliche, ‘it made my heart happy’, content kind of way. I had these chats both with people I would regularly speak to about ‘real’ things, and also others I wouldn’t generally talk to very much. From group discussions to conversations at dinner or in the car, there was plenty of honest chat this weekend. I didn’t always speak – sometimes I just sat at listened to other people being honest and open and truthful about their feelings or opinions, but either way it was so refreshing to have these sorts of exchanges.

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Because all too often, in my opinion at least, we don’t. We internalise things, either afraid of what others will think if we start being really deep or even honest, or sometimes in the busyness of life we are rushing about and don’t get a chance to properly talk to even the people we love. And to me, that’s just rubbish. I think another introverted trait is craving deep connections with people. You don’t necessarily need lots of friends, but you invest wholeheartedly in the ones you do have and that are important to you, and things like authenticity and sincerity matter to you. The Grey’s Anatomy quote: “At the end of the day, all we really want is to be close to somebody” is so true, for me anyway.

“And if you have someone in your life who you are grateful for — someone to whom you want to write another heartfelt, slanted, misspelled thank you note – do it. Tell them they made you feel loved and supported. That they made you feel like you belonged somewhere and that you were not a freak.”

This quote is from a blog post by someone called Lisa Jakub. She is most well known for playing the oldest daughter of Robin Williams in the film Mrs Doubtfire, but she actually retired from acting not too long after that (have recently read her autobiography!) and is now a writer. I follow her blog, and find a lot of it relatable. She writes a lot about being introverted, and what it’s like to experience anxiety and be shy and a bit awkward. (Not hard to see why I relate to it ay?!) She wrote the quote above in a blog post some time ago, but reshared it on Instagram today and it just stuck out as it was so in line with what I’ve been thinking since the weekend about relationships. ((Side note – I was convinced I’d shared this quote before, but I’ve just scrolled through every one of my posts and can’t seem to find it, so maybe I haven’t, but no apologies for sharing it again if I infact have!))

I am so deeply thankful for the people I would call my closest friends. When I sat and thought about it last night, not one of them is the exact same age as me, and there are very few of them who I see on a really regular basis, like Tv shows or movies portray friendships. But they are there for me, and they support me, they make me laugh, and they make me feel like I belong. Another quote Lisa Jakub uses is ’embrace your weird’, and my friends let me do that. There aren’t many places I feel comfortable to be ‘me’, but I’m grateful for the people who make me feel like being me is a good thing, even if I do have my quirks. (Lets face it, who isn’t a bit weird?!!)

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I wholeheartedly agree with her quote in terms of telling the people who make you feel loved and supported and normal, just how much you love and value them. And I do try to do it as much as possible. Although I do sometimes feel like a nutter, and worry that they think the same!! (What if they think I’m weird and embarrassing for saying this? What if I’m annoying them? What if I’m reading it wrong and they don’t actually like me very much, and the relationship is one sided?) But I still think it’s important. I’ve written about this so many times from different stances, but I always come back to the same point of telling the people you love that you love them. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe sometimes they will think you’re mad. But sometimes it’ll be exactly the moment they need reminding that they are great.

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