Why Strengths-focused Relationships?

The primary rationale for establishing a Strengths-focused Relationship (SfR) is that it enables you and another person to share deeper thoughts and feelings about your positive self-evaluations. Many people do not openly share what they like about themselves with others. There seems to be an unwritten rule that modesty is preferred to pride. This unwritten rule strongly censors what might be perceived as bragging, and for that reason it is normal to feel vulnerable when speaking about our strengths. Through ridicule, shaming, humor, and other devices our society checks our open exploration of what is right about ourselves.

In an SfR, participants can feel comfortable sharing self-identified qualities they appreciate about themselves and about which they feel a sense of self-esteem. In an SfR, one person can feel free to share their strengths with another person who also feels comfortable sharing positive self-evaluations. This mutuality of strentghs-sharing enables a new level of connection and support.

It is possible to have an SfR with a person without going through the steps cited in the book Articulating Your Strengths for engaging in a strengths-focused dialogue. So, if you know someone and want to develop an SfR with them, you can explain the principle behind it, share your own strengths, and ask about theirs. You would then agree to keep these strengths in mind moving forward in your relationship. You could be very surprised, even in a relationship you have been in for a long time. If you do not ask them, you may not ever know how the people in your life value themselves. You know what you appreciate about those people, but you do not know what they appreciate about themselves.