Intention with virtues and strengths
Greeting a new day full of possibilities and promise.
I have started a new ritual of setting an intention set in strengths or virtues before leaving home for work. I watched a good friend do this involving her family where a virtue or strength card is randomly drawn as a focus for the days intent. Intention as a noun has two meanings:
- a thing intended an aim or plan
- in medicine the healing process of a wound
Character Strengths and Virtues
Dr Martin Seligman and Dreal Neal H Mayerson leaders in positive psychology identify 6 virtues and 24 character strengths that individuals can demonstrate. Rather than focusing on what a person is not there limitations the character strengths and virtues reveal what qualities a person has or could develop. The 6 virtues and 24 Character strengths related to each virtue are listed below
Transcedence : appreciation of beauty and excellence, spirituality, gratitude, hope, humour
Temperance: forgiveness, humility, prudence, self regulation
Justice: teamwork, fairness, leadership
Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
Courage: Bravery, perseverance, honesty, zest
Wisdom: creativity, curiosity, judgement, love of learning perspective
In setting an intention based on these strengths and virtues I aim to personally develop these attributes.
I admit to being ad hoc in creating an intention. So quickly I slip into enabling other peoples intentions losing or sabotaging my own. I disappear into habitual routines void of intent, lacking clarity of the motivation as to why I do things.
Stopping to create a strength or virtue based intention before diving into my day can be like a compass drawing me back on the path of what I plan or aim. Letting a friend know of my intention can hold me accountable and provide a potential cheer squad.
It is possible that your intention could be shared by other people. Together we can combine forces to magnify, clarify and grow an intention. As seen here in winter at the Cold water Challenge to swim in the Swan River to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research.
Creating a group intention takes skills in allowing everyone to be heard, have time to reflect and refine what the group intends. Thus the backbone of what a group plans is formed.
In Tension with intention
A challenge with intention is the pull between :
What we intend: “she was full of good intentions” something we mean to do whether you pull it off or not.
How we expect this intention to be.
Versus Reality of how it pans out and the consequential self judgement and recrimination.
The Buddhist practice of non attachment helps deal with this tension. Its the sigh of acceptance that I tried and it may or may not work out.
Healing with intention
Focusing on a strength manifests the capacity to build other strengths as you see what is possible. In healing you work with what you have and the enhancers of healing for example a clean wound and good diet. Creating an intention based on a strength heals as the negative comments have a positive buffer that builds you.