July 1, 2016 Strong Cincinnati Contributor

Using Character Strengths To Nourish Yourself In Times Of Hardship

sidewalkgrassTestimonial – 30 Minute Consultation with Dr. Donna Mayerson

I am a strong believer in the use of Character Strengths, for 10 years running.  For most of us, our top five Signature Strengths are intuitively correct – a virtual roadmap for the chosen paths of our lives when looking backwards, long before we knew or identified the passions that make us tick as Signature Strengths.  I know my strengths; I use my strengths; and with the encouragement of the VIA Me! Report and VIA Pro Report, I look for new ways to balance them and use them to add more meaning, joy, and satisfaction to my life.

However, sometimes Life can be hard, exceedingly. So, when the recent challenges and responsibilities of life (both work and personal) seemed overwhelming, it caught me by surprise that I could not figure out how to use my Signature Strengths to help me find more life balance. Enter a one-on-one counseling session with Donna Mayerson.

She deftly led me through a series of questions. “How have I used each signature strength at its best for me at any time in the past – specific examples?” “Which strengths am I using now?”  “How?” “Which ones am I not using now?” “What are the obstacles?” Lo and behold, like many of us, my mixed bag of strengths have both self-directed and other-directed manifestations.  My morning ritual of spiritual reading and meditation (Spirituality) was strong and solid.  Justice and Fairness, the bedrock of my professional and volunteer life was also alive and well. Query, “Have you ever taken fairness and justice and applied it to yourself?”  Hmmm.   Zest? With a new nonprofit taking the majority of my waking hours, and the accompanying first year founder’s lack of salary, who had the time or money to seek out the new experiences (think, travel) that have me jumping up and down like a five year old on her birthday?  Of late, Zest was channeled into creating new programs, designing a website… work.   “But you meditate right?” I was quickly coached in the art of savoring specific past moments when zest had literally left me blissful, energized, and totally at one with the world (my open laughing mouth filled with bursts of salt water jumping giant waves in Eleuthera before a storm).  Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, that too, was grabbed on the fly these days.  “Mindfulness? Yoga?” Of course, there is so much beauty and excellence surrounding me every day!  Stepping on my mat for 2 hours of mindful play has become a transformed experience.  With so much awareness and focus on where is my body today, what is it longing to do, and breathing through each posture until my body is ready to move, my OWN asanas have never been so graceful, so filled with beauty inside and out.  I never would have dreamed of looking for beauty and excellence within my own life expressions.

What Donna taught me?  In times of hardship when Life can feel bigger than me, take my Strengths and nourish myself.   And then she taught me new ways to do that with the many blessings I already have within the confines of my current life.

Marcie Warrington

 

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