Though I feel the VIA character strength construct, available for free at authentichappiness.com, will be hard to sell to people at work (scientists being told their number one strength is forgiveness?) oddly I believe that my strength of capacity to love and be loved is the most important strength I exhibit at work and home alike.
I have discovered that my passion is for helping others to develop on a personal and professional level. Being in touch with the love strength not only motivates me to do this, but also intensifies the level and manner in which I approach training and development. The more in tune I am with this strength, the more I feel the work is meaningful, productive, successful and generates a genuine bond between us. The love strength also motivates me to give generously of my time and talent. Humanity and every single member of the human race are a beautiful, precious things and should be nurtured with all of our ability. In other words, cultivating the ability to love in my development work with others drives my passion, which I consider my calling.
Though the capacity to love has been easier for me to access, I often have difficulty being on the receiving end of love, or letting others take care of me. I have always been the caretaker, in charge, competent and independent. To allow myself to ask for help, support, or a listening ear, can be difficult for me. For years I have held the shadow belief that I will not get what I need from others, so I have taught myself to not ask for or show others what I need. Though I have improved a great deal in this area, this tendency still lingers especially in certain situations. I am also not skilled at expressing my needs to others, including when to know when I should express my needs or remain silent. Though I usually have little difficulty formulating my thoughts verbally, asking for what I need sometimes leaves me tongue-tied.
However, I have learned when I am accepting of my need to receive love and the need or desire of someone else to show love to me, I feel that bond grow even more if I embrace that reciprocity. Like with maximizing the efficacy of any strength or skill, improving my capacity to be loved has required a conscious effort and practice. Fortunately, I have many safe testing grounds in my life now to hopefully enable my growth in this area, and allow me to fill in the other half of this very important strength.