WHO AM I?
my flaws or….
PREVIOUS: Loneliness in Recovery – #2
ACoAs suffer unnecessarily for many reasons –
– one of which is NOT believing we have any positive qualities. All we can see are the problems created by our False Self, which was developed in reaction to our upbringing, but which we assume is the real us. Because originally we had such distorted mirroring (seeing ourselves only thru the eyes of our dysfunctional caretakers) we deny our natural gifts.
• Yes, we have ‘character defects’, but these are extensions of our S-H & are how the WIC learned to function, rather than what our Healthy Child or ‘Unit’ are capable of. Even so, these gifts show up in many of our accomplishments throughout adulthood.
THEREFORE – the next several posts will list a number of Healthy Strengths (& variations) for us to ponder, identify & then own! They are essential for PMES maturity. These strengths are part of our inborn makeup, are developed OR suppressed by our environment, & get entangled with our damage.
EXP: Julie chased boys since she was 9 or 10, but she never caught any. In her 30s she felt defeated & full of S-H. She told a therapist: “I’m such a pathetic jerk – all this time I’ve doing the same stupid thing, with the same awful results!” The therapist replied: “You’re not stupid, pathetic or a jerk – you’re persistent. Now you can focus that quality in a new direction – toward the goal of emotional & mental growth, as well as on fulfilling your dreams!”, which Julie eventually did.
C. refers to a specific combination of aspects which make a person unique, expressed in their habits, likes, values, dislikes, behaviors….
• Dictionary: C. is “the stable & distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response, regardless of circumstances.”
• Similarly, academic Arthur S. Adams said: “Good character is the quality which makes one dependable, whether being watched or not.”
• Psychologist Lawrence Pervin says that moral character is “a disposition (strong tendency) to express behavior in consistent patterns of functions, across a range of situations.”
• C. is a composite of qualities making up the specific psychological mechanisms that express the presence or lack of virtues such as wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. These are expressed in our T.E.As. EXP, considering the trait of Curiosity:
Curiosity thoughts: That doctor sounds like she knows what she’s talking about. I wonder if she could help me with my specific problem & if she’s taking new patients?
Curiosity emotions: I want to take this risk, but I’m afraid to try; I see new possibilities, & it excites me; I want to ask her a question about ____, but I’m angry that she’s ignoring me
Curiosity behavior: I approached the boss; I stood quietly, waiting; I asked the teacher questions; I expressed my interest by my body language…..
PRINCIPLES of CHARACTER (C)
⚰︎ Character Strengths (CS) are basic
Neal Mayerson (founder & Chairman of the VIA Institute on Character) says CS are the basic building blocks of the goodness in us, our true essence – the core part that account for being our best selves.
• The word “character” comes from a Greek noun for the stamp impressed on a coin. From that we use the term to mean that individuals have been “stamped” by nature into a complex of mental & ethical traits. However, we then often jump to incorrect conclusions, such as – if someone is sensitive they are therefore weak; another is vain and so is shallow …. Groups are also categorized as stamped in specific ways, such as men and women having different characters (‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’).
NEXT: What is Character, Part 2