Happiness is differentiating between acknowledging strengths and being arrogant

Happiness is differentiating between acknowledging strengths and being arrogant

I've been doing a lot of coaching and therapy lately, more than I've done for a while and…I'm loving it!

In particular, I'm loving combining my tried and tested, good old fashioned cognitive therapy strategies with the newer approaches I've focused on for the last few years including, specifically, positive psychology coaching and mindulness. 

When it comes to positive psychology, and the greater focus on finding happiness as opposed to just overcoming distress, one aspect I thoroughly enjoying talking to clients about and working with them on is identifying and utilising strengths. 

And so many of my clients love this too but…

…time and time again I'm finding people who struggle with this concept because they don't want to appear arrogant or big headed or boastful. We have, especially here in Australia, such a culture of cutting down the tall poppies that no one wants to stand up and allow themselves to be vulnerable. 

On the one hand, this is fine and understandable as humility and modesty are admirable characteristics and no one, myself included, would want to encourage arrogance or boastfulness. But, there is a big difference and what I've been trying to help my clients understand of late is that…

  • acknowledging strengths is not the same as telling everyone you're the best thing since sliced bread!

  • recognising and using your strengths is an internal action and does not need to be publicly broadcast

  • there's a difference between what you think and feel and what you say to others

  • and even if you do express or communicate your strengths to others there are appropriate ways of doing so that do not necessarily require coming across as unpleasant or "full of yourself"! 

So practice modesty and humilty by all means; these are important parts of happiness and wellbeing. But don't let some mistaken definition of modesty get in the way of you being the best you can be because to be the best we can be, and to enjoy real and meaningful happiness, we all need to find and fully utilise our strengths.