Signature Strengths

People have signature strengths—those strengths or tools in one’s tool box that they do not have to think about. Since I was 15 and took a personality test for the first time, my top five strengths are hope, zest for life, spirituality, physical, and love of learning. I don’t have to think about waking up and leaping out of bed ready to go. I am always excited about the day. It can be very annoying, but I simply have always been chipper. I have taken these tests over the years for work and the results are always the same even in my darkest days. I have always believed that happiness is a choice.

Having said that, do I have dark hours, days, times? Yes, but not often. Yesterday, someone cared enough to worry about me. It took me aback. It took me aback because yesterday marked the four year mark since the worst day of my life. In four years, I have moved beyond being consumed with many bad moments and the pit of despair that I had to really work to claw my way out of to where I am now. Where am I?

I do have hard moments, but they are not as frequent and they do not consume me like they once did. I even cry once in awhile, but I am not fighting for happiness any more. Am I lonely? You bet. Do I still wish that Phil hadn’t died? I will always wish that, but my paradigms have shifted to one of gratitude for the 23 years we had. I do not have to fake my enthusiasm or positive frame of reference and rarely do I have to fight for it because it is simply part of my make up.

Grief does not follow a trajectory. What is interesting to me is that the happy days sometimes cause the most pain because I want to share them with my best friend. I long for the laughter and the shared life. I miss the physical closeness with someone and I miss the soft place to land, but I am not languishing in tepid waters. I am figuring it out. One bad day, one bad moment, one bad week even, is not who I am or what I stand for.

Those moments of grief are my reminder as to what was lost to my life. While I blog about my journey, it is only part of the story. I truly believe that happiness is a choice and that where I once had to fight for it, now I know that if I ride the waves, it will take me back to the harbor of hope and zest for life.

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