I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
To send me a private message, please e-mail me: flylittlewordsfly@gmail.com
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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stengths and Happiness Quotient

A couple of weeks ago, my therapist sent me to this site, http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu, to take a questionnaire that would help me identify my key strengths as a person. Why? Because I'm redefining myself, and want to do so in a positive and realistic light. I am writing about this because I need to own these results. I am making a declaration that I acknowledge my strengths, and that they are part of what empowers me.

I have now done most of the tests on this site - just because I love those things - and I do think the results are quite accurate, at least in my case. Is there a way to measure happiness? I wouldn't have necessarily thought so, but Dr. Seligman and his team have qualified and quantified the components of what they believe to be authentic happiness (ie, not just of the moment, but the attitude which you carry in life) based on their very extensive research, and according to them, I am very happy indeed.

On the Authentic Happiness Inventory, which measures overall happiness, I scored a 4.42 out of 5, which is as high as or higher than 99% of the people surveyed. On the General Happiness Scale, which measures enduring happiness, I scored a 6.75 out of a possible 7, landing me in the happiest 4% of people quizzed. Finally, the PANAS questionnaire, which measures positive and negative affectivity, shows that on a scale of 10 - 50, my negative is at a 12, and my positive at a 47. Which means that overall, my thoughts are very positive, and really, I am a very happy person! Yay me!

Having this knowledge, and understanding what it means, I feel far more ready to explain to my insurance provider why I do not feel that stress reduction cognitive behavioural therapy is necessary for me. Cognitive behavioural therapy is all about changing behaviour through thoughts, and thoughts through behaviours. Here's the thing, though, my thoughts are good. No need to change them. I mean, I already knew that, but this is hard evidence, and who doesn't like hard evidence? My occupational therapist, however, is very much focused on reducing stress in my life, and that in itself, is causing stress, because I am always looking for it. Bit counterproductive, that.

Back to the reason I was sent to this site in the first place. My strengths: 

Your Top Strength: Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

Your Second Strength: Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Your Third Strength: Gratitude
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Your Fourth Strength: Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Your Fifth Strength: Zest, enthusiasm, and energy
Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.

What really excites me about these results, especially when combined with those of the happiness tests, is that despite everything that I've been through these past two years, and despite my body's state of extreme healing (let's see Discovery make a show out of that!), and the emotional upheaval that has come along with that state of being, I am not only ok, but one of my biggest strengths continues to be zest, enthusiasm and energy! Whether or not I am physically energetic, my life energy - call it the chi, or the life force, or whatever you want - is still that strong! That's pretty awesome, no?

The other strengths questionnaire gave a slightly different angle on this, and my results included these and other traits, like humility, social intelligence, love, kindness, hope and humour.

So that all brought me back to the question of why some of us when hit with a crisis rise, while others crumble. And I wonder now, if these strengths in particular, have something to do with my ability to take the lemons life gives me and as my dear friend Maggie taught me,  ask for tequila. Forget the lemonade.

I know that Montessori education encourages the development of all of these traits and more, and I do believe that my attending Montessori as a child has a lot to do with these being so strong in me. In fact, it fosters all the traits listed as strengths on the surveys. But there is obviously something innate in these, that leaves me wondering if they have something to do with those happiness quotients, and with my ability to adapt.

What I do know, is that I am happy to own these, and I made a pretty wordle out of my results  ...  because that's someone creative who appreciated beauty and excellence and is grateful and curious and zestful would do! Now I just need to get that printed really really large and hang it somewhere in my house.


  1. A big dog saw a little dog chaseing it's tail and asked, "Why are you chasing your tail so?" Said the puppy,"I have mastered philosophy;I have solved the problems of the universe which no dog before me has rightly solved; I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is my tail. Therefore I am chasing it;and when I catch it I shall have happiness."
    Said the old dog, "My son,I,too,have paid attention to the problems of the universe in my weak way,and I have formed some opinions. I,too,have judged that happiness is a fine thing for a dog,and that happiness is in my tail.But I have noticed that when I chase after it,it keeps running away from me,but when I go about my business, it comes after me."

  2. How do you always know exactly what to say?!?!
    My osteopath gave me the same advice the other day... stop looking for centredness... it comes to you.