I remember being in a class and the opening question was “who are you?” We were to introduce ourselves but without using any of our various roles. I froze! The only thoughts that raced through my mind were “I’m a mom, spouse, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor. The litany went on and on about all of my roles and responsibilities.

Frustrated, I silently shouted, “Who am I anyway???”

How would YOU answer that question?

It had always been easy to rattle off all of my “short comings” but thinking about my qualities and strengths did not come naturally. Taking strength tests (one example: VAI Signature Strengths questionnaire at www.authentichappiness.org) helped me begin to recognize my strengths. I realized that they are precious resources that often lay hidden beneath the rubble of the challenges of life, riddled with self-judgment and criticism. Little did I know that my strengths were always with me and helped me get through so many challenges already. I needed to take the time to dust them off, acknowledge them or intentionally tap into them to help manage my challenges.

It took some time but I have created an ever evolving list of descriptors that now include my qualities and strengths: I am passionate, determined, playful, sensitive, to name a few. When I allow myself to think about how I experience each one of them in my life, I feel energized, empowered and uplifted, no matter what is happening around me.

What are your qualities and strengths? Start out by spending as much time thinking about your strengths as you do your challenges. If you are not sure, take a strengths test or ask trusted loved ones to share the qualities and strengths they see in you. It can feel awkward to ask for and hear positives about our self. Honor their opinion and be cautious not to dismiss it too quickly.

Always remember, you do have amazing strengths to help you get through whatever life has in store for you. They help you THRIVE!!


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