People need strength to live happy and fruitful lives. So it is important for them to spend time focusing on their Strengths Givers and, if appropriate, deal with any Strength Sappers.
There are many exercises on this theme. Most are based on Virginia Satir’s view of ‘Pot Fillers’ and ‘Pot Drillers’ – the people who give and take energy.
Virginia, a pioneering family therapist, described these ideas in the 1960s. You can discover more about them at the following link.
Imagine that you want to maintain your strength to encourage both yourself other people. Let’s explore how this can work in practice.
Start by describing your Strength Givers. Here are some answers that have been given by other people. They say the things that give them strength are:
* Focusing on positive things.
* Doing stimulating work.
* Being with kindred spirits.
* Surrounding myself with beauty.
* Working in my garden.
* Being close to water.
* Sitting close to our log fire at home.
* Listening to certain kinds of music.
* Going to the theatre.
* Watching great sport.
* Creating beauty.
* Encouraging other people.
This reinforces the approach described by Barbara Fredrickson in her book Positivity. She measured the ratio of positive to negative experiences that people needed to flourish. Here is an overview of her findings.
“The consistency here is extraordinary,” says Barbara.
“For individuals, marriages and business teams, flourishing – doing remarkably well – comes with positivity ratios above 3 to 1.
“By contrast, those who don’t overcome their depression, couples who fail in their marriages, and business teams that are unpopular and unprofitable each have ratios in the gutter, below 1 to 1.”
You can take the Positivity Test at:
If you wish, try tackling the exercise on the theme of getting strength. Describe the things that for you are Strength Givers. These may be certain people, experiences or whatever. Try completing the following sentence.
Describe your Strength Sappers. Here are some answers that have been given by other people. They say the things that lead to negative emotions for them are:
* Listening to negative people.
* Hearing harsh sounds.
* Comparing myself with others.
* Worrying about things I can’t control.
* Being affected by the actions of people who are dirty fighters.
If you wish, try tackling the exercise on the theme. Describe the things that for you are Strength Sappers. These may be certain people, experiences or whatever. Try completing the following sentence.
Strength Givers In The Future
There are many theories on how to increase your personal energy and strength. Sometimes it simply comes down to:
Doing more of the things that give you strength.
Doing less of – or dealing with – the things that sap your strength.
Barbara Fredrickson talks about the ‘Broaden and Build’ theory of positive health. She maintains it is a lot like physical health.
Imagine you decide to change your life style and eat healthy food. One meal will provide nourishment, but it will not suffice. You will develop your health and resilience over time by continuing to eat nourishing food.
Barbara explains that people also need a daily diet of psychological heath. This can broaden and build their positivity over time.
If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Describe the specific things you can do:
To do more of the things that give your strength.
To deal with any of the things that sap your strength.
People who take these steps are more likely to feel alive and have the energy to give to others. Try completing the following sentence.