Sometimes we find ourselves living more aligned how we negatively perceive ourselves rather than the values we aspire to. For example, on one hand you might be thinking “I am different, people will treat me as such, so I will stay in the background”, when you really want to pride yourself in being ‘courageous’ in situations and have the confidence to stand out.
Our negative perceptions are usually the result of strongly held ideas about ourselves, other people, the world and the future – formed in childhood – that then lead to a distorted view of circumstances or events. On the other hand, our character strengths are those qualities about ourselves that we value and that matter most to us, like authenticity (being true to who you are), expressing gratitude (being thankful), or courage (standing up for what you believe in). Recognising and using your character strengths may be a helpful way to ensure that the decisions you make when you return to work are in line with what matters most to you.
An example of the benefits offered through expressing gratitude can be seen in the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg
One way to identify your character strengths is by doing the free VIA survey (https://www.viacharacter.org/www/). The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and when finished you will be provided with a list of your 24 character strengths ranked according to your responses (including your top five). With this knowledge you can challenge any unhelpful perceptions or beliefs you may have and work towards living the life that matters most to you.