The Character Strength of Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence means to have an awe, wonder and elevation in oneself. Individuals with an appreciation for beauty have an ability to stop and smell the roses. They feel a sense of awe at the scenes and patterns around them. They take pleasure in observing physical beauty, the skills and talents of other people, and the beauty inherent to virtue and morality. Beauty can be found in almost every area of life, from nature, arts, mathematics, sciences, scenery, people or everyday experiences. This strength allows people to experience satisfaction and richness in everyday experiences.
How to demonstrate this Character Strength:
Movies: Out of Africa (1985), The Color of Paradise (2000-Iranian)
Songs: Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder), Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel Kamakawieo’ole), What a Wonderful World (Israel Kamakawieo’ole), Only You (Flunk), You and I (Ingrid Michaelson)
Below are suggested strategies that correlate with this strength. You may choose to do one or two of them, or you may choose to use them all. The important thing to remember is that if you enjoy doing them, then do them. If you don’t, well to put it simply, don’t! Only use what is relevant to you and what you enjoy:
- Notice at least one instance of natural beauty around you ever day (sunrise, sunset, clouds, sunshine, rainbows, trees, moving leaves, birds chirping, flowers, fruits and vegetables etc)
- Make your surroundings aesthetically beautiful
- Listen to a piece of music or watch a film and evaluate how you feel after watching it
- Visit a museum, pick a piece of art and consider how you feel looking at it.
- Write your reactions to points 3 & 4 and share them with another person with artistic appreciation
- Appreciate a beautiful piece of architecture, dress, sculpture, pottery, poetry, prose etc
- Explore expression of beauty in different cultures
- Hand a bird feeder and observe the birds
- Decorate the outside of your home on special occasions.
- Explore the beauty in the face of a child.
- Take mental pictures of art and note how they affect your everyday life. Do they make you feel more happy, more cheerful, and fulfilled?
- Take pictures of natural scenes or your loved ones and make them your PC’s desktop.
- Note weekly how the goodness of other people affects your life.
- Think of something that contains beauty, love and connection at least once a day.
- For the next three projects, pick at least one. Instead of doing it meticulously, prioritise to do it with care and an appreciation for beauty.
- Attend local exhibits for clothes, jewellery, cultural artifacts and paintings.
- Experiences at least once a day the excellence, beauty and joy expressed through colours, sounds, flavours, images, ideas, aromas, sensations or words. Use your senses to notice them and connect with them.
- Notice how others appreciate beauty and excellence through specific words, expressions, gestures and actions.
- Notice and admire the excellence of someone’s character strengths.
- Appreciate the subtle changes of different seasons.
- Take 2 minutes every morning to study your own face in the mirror. Find something about your face that you like. You are not to leave the mirror until you find and say out loud one thing! Then you can carry on with your day. Do this every day for one week and repeat as you like to feel good about yourself.
Remember, when you are doing something in life that uses your strengths, it will strengthen you. When you are doing something in life that requires you to use your lower strengths or weaknesses, it will weaken you. You can use your strengths to accommodate your weaknesses.
By monitoring the above, you can catch when there is an incongruence in this personal strength. An incongruence will compromise you and cause inner conflict, so the above will help you keep on the right track.
Niemiec, R. M, 2017, Character Strengths Interventions, Hogrefe, Boston
Tayyab, R., Anjum, A., 2005, 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths, University of Pennsylvania