I recently took a 96 question character strengths assessment survey from the VIA Institute. I was not surprised by what my top strengths highlighted, but was baffled by what my bottom 24th strength noted - love. What! Really? The assessment defines the strength of love as:
"Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing & caring are reciprocated; being close to people."
I know a free survey off the internet, even a well-respected one like the VIA can't define who I am as a person, but it did give me great pause. I always thought of myself as compassionate, caring, and understanding in the eyes of others. But looking deeply, I realized that there is a glaring difference between ones strengths and ones values. And what I was valuing in the area of love wasn't what I was exhibiting out into the world on a day to day basis.
TheCareerPsychologist.com clarifies this sentiment beautifully:
"Strengths can therefore be useful to help people evaluate what course of action to take, providing information on the resources you have. But values enable us to freely choose that direction, work out what we want to stand for, and get moving."
Checking in with all “three brains,” I am left with only simple answers.
💓 My heart keeps playing on repeat the song lyric Stop! In The Name Of Love by Diana Ross & The Supremes.
🧠 My head is telling me that rationally this all makes sense. Love is the glue that shapes my other value systems from health, justice, loyalty, commitment, to even freedom.
🤰 My gut is telling me that it takes more than words to make this happen. Many of today’s organizations have their core values emblazoned on walls and in their manifestos, but do the employees actually follow these principles?
I guess what is truly needed is the bravery to just show up.
So what will I do knowing that love is on the bottom of my list? Like anything else in my life, I will exercise that muscle till it gets stronger. The first step is admitting that this is something worth changing.
Having read hundreds of books and having seen thousands of movies in evidence of this basic truth, the conclusion is clear. The halo effect that love has on others is nothing to be taken for granted, and everything to be cherished for when it appears even in the most mundane of situations we must grab it before it goes.
♬ How'd I ever let you get away
Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got
til it's... *DJ scratch* ♬
💿 Janet Jackson / Got 'Til It's Gone
So what cores values do you hold dear in your life? Let’s discuss. Comment below.
Every Monday morning at 10 AM EST I will post a powerful prompt which can also be found on your smartphone here and follow it wherever it leads. The aim is to resource all “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.