Summary & Overview

Summary


Articulating Your Strengths-focused Identity (SfI)

 

SfI is a Practice* that incorporates two psychological processes:

(1)       Positive Mindfulness: Becoming more mindful of positive feelings.

(2)       Strengths-Articulation: Becoming more articulate about your evolving strengths.

 

Outcomes:

(1)       More experiences of Positive Moments (PMs)

(2)       More ability to describe Self-articulated Strengths 

 

Likely long-term Changes:

(1)       Increased Self-Acceptance

(2)       Increased Sense of Well-Being

(3)       Increased Positive Perspective

 

* The SfI Practice is designed to be a lifetime endeavor, which becomes part of one’s daily life. The practitioner continues to evolve in terms of mindfulness and positive self-identification.

 

The rationale and the guidelines for this practice are elaborated in the SfI website. It is possible for well-motivated and disciplined people to develop their practice by themselves, following the suggestions on the website. However, most people benefit greatly from teaming up with others who are either facilitating the practice or just engaging in the practice at the same time.


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Overview

This website, www.strengths-focused-identity.org, is designed to facilitate a psychological process that will increase your ability to articulate your subjective strengths.  The process is grounded on the assumption that if you are more adept at articulating your strengths, you will have a more positive self-identity. It is also assumed that if you have a more positive self-identity, you will feel better more of the time.

 

The website was also designed to facilitate your development of a practice which will enable you, systematically, to focus on your positive feelings and the articulation of your subjective strengths. A practice is undertaken to provide directed and consistent attention on a prescribed set of activities over an extended period of time; such is the case when someone adopts a meditation practice. In fact, the practice being suggested in this website supports other mindfulness practices, such as meditation and contemplation, by providing a specific method for creating a positive mental environment. The idea that practicing Strengths-Articulation can be a companion to meditation is elaborated on the pages you can access by clicking on the following link: Meditation Connection.

 

There are several important concepts that need to be unpacked as you explore this website and our methods.

 

The concept of strengths is crucial to the practice, because the focus of the process is articulating positive qualities, which can also be called strengths. The concept of strengths is central to what is studied in the field of Positive Psychology. The positive psychology literature abounds with studies showing the connection between strengths, greater productivity, and better mental health.

 

Subjective strengths are ones that have a special, personal meaning. This specialness is marked by how the person feels when using those strengths.  Personal qualities that stimulate positive feelings can be called subjective strengths. Here, strengths are different from “things we are good at,” because “things we are good at” do not always make us feel good, and are not always personally meaningful. For example, I might be very organized, but organizing things might leave me feeling bored and depleted. In this case, we would not consider “organized” to be a strength. On the other hand, if organizing makes me feel energized and clear-headed, then it is a subjective strength. Your body’s reactions can tell you when you are doing something, or being a certain way, that you appreciate about yourself. The awareness of the feelings and the articulation of the subjective strengths are often hidden and difficult to detect. That is why it is helpful to develop a practice designed to heighten your sensitivity to these internal phenomena.

 

Self-identity has many aspects and layers, but we will focus our attention only on the part of identity that might be called positive self-identity. We are offering an operational definition of positive identity, which is a person’s listing of their Top 10 Strengths. This listing can serve quite well as a key measure for studying the longitudinal changes in one’s positive identity as they engage in the practice we are facilitating.

 

Articulation represents your way of putting into words and phrases your feelings and thoughts. These words or phrases might be spoken or written. Our process of returning to, refining, and repeating articulations about your strengths might be very new to you. Up to now, you have probably found adequate words for whatever your purpose, and moved right along to the next purpose. Our process invites you to return again and again to your positive ideas about yourself. You might articulate your ideas internally, write them down, speak them aloud in a strengths-focused dialog, and revise them cyclically. The point is to learn a process, and to refine the process, not to set some words or ideas about yourself in stone. You are constantly evolving through your experience and this process should reflect your evolution.

 

The practices that are described in this website are multifaceted and will ideally continue over your lifespan.  They do not need to take a lot of time during any single day, but they should be scheduled in a way that they fit into some of the routines of your daily life. Like the benefits of continuing physical exercise, the benefits of these mental exercises will help you live a healthy life where the benefits will become obvious to you as you continue in your practice. Studies in the positive psychology literature show that a positive perspective influences longevity.  Since the practice being suggested in this overview is likely to increase the positivity of your perspective, it would also be expected to increase your longevity.

 

This need not be only a solitary practice. There are clear benefits from engaging with others who are also doing the practice. It is highly recommended that you get the book, Articulating Strengths Together (AST): An Interactive Process to Enhance Positivity. You can use the guidelines in AST to assemble three others and begin the Strengths-Articulation-Process.  You are also encouraged to implement Strengths-focused Dialogs with another person, using ideas from the website: www.stengths-focused-relationships.org

 

If it is possible, attend a workshop designed to introduce you to the SfI practice. However, if such a workshop is not available we have designed three interconnected websites with you in mind, rich with guidelines and resources.  These guidelines will include opportunities to connect with facilitators and fellow-practitioners over the Internet, using access to audio and video connections, such as phone and Skype. 

 

Please look for our upcoming book, Appreciating Yourself: Articulating Your Strengths-focused Identity by Jerald R. Forster and Jennifer Rose. 

 

If you are interested in the SfI process and practice, we suggest that you start with TWO WAYS TO START THE SI PRACTICE.

 

If you want to have a phone or video consultation (such as Skype or FaceTime), send an e-mail message to Jerald Forster at j_forster@comcast.net, or Jennifer Rose at mailto:BetterExistenceEmail@gmail.com.