A Rationale for developing Strengths-focused Relationships (SfRs)

This website—along with the book Articulating Your Strengths: A mindful practice for developing your positive identity—guides you in a practice whereby you can articulate your Strengths-focused Identity (SfI). The practice starts with you becoming more aware of positive moments, times when you notice that you are experiencing positive feelings. The next step is to articulate a strength that might have caused, or influenced, that positive moment.  

After several weeks of noticing positive moments and articulating strengths, you will have a good start in articulating a Strengths-focused Identity (SfI). In order to call it a practice, you will need to continue it for months and years. Hopefully, you will continue it for the rest of your life, because you will be changing as you age. Your practice will enable you to recognize new positive moments, and articulate new strengths every day.

Previous practitioners have reported that sharing the steps of the practice with another person who is also engaged in the practice, is very beneficial. Because of this, the authors of this Strengths-focused-Identity Practice (SfI-Practice) recommend that you develop a Strengths-focused Dialogue with another person, which will eventually lead to a Strengths-focused Relationship (SfR). The sharing process helps each to recognize positive feelings and to name and elaborate on more strengths. Also, the new awareness of each other’s positive experiences and strengths enables each to feel connected in ways they had not previously felt. This happens because each participant feels that the other knows them in a way that is deeper than had previously been the case.

Most of us do not share our most positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves with others because we have been taught that bragging is not a desirable thing to do. What is not well known is that when you do feel safe sharing your self-identified strengths with another, and vice versa, the relationship becomes closer and more mutually supportive.

This sharing of strengths with another will be more difficult for a person who lacks self-esteem or feelings of self-worth, but they are likely to overcome these doubts and concerns as the strengths are shared.

Another benefit of sharing your strengths with a person who is also engaged in the SfI-Practice, is that both of you are more motivated to engage in the practice when doing it with another person. The development of an SfR increases the feelings of positivity in both practitioners. If possible, small groups meeting weekly can be very satisfying and beneficial to all. The positivity that occurs in such meetings raises the moods of all participants. For example, during the 2020 Pandemic, a small group who met weekly to share this practice reported real enthusiasm about these sessions.

There is a good chance that even well-established relationships will become more satisfying after an SfR has been developed. When both parties learn about each other’s self-identified strengths, both are discovering new aspects of each other. We often assume that others think and feel about themselves in a way fairly similar to how we think and feel about them. When efforts are made to share newly articulated strengths, both parties hear things about the other person they had never heard before. This is not because they both had been withholding anything, but because they had not previously articulated these thoughts and feelings. The two are getting better acquainted in terms of new understandings of themselves. If the two can continue to do this, their relationship continues to grow in new ways.