Happy Valentine’s Day!! Before I jump into all things love (because, really, what else could I write about today), I just want to say thank you for the lovely comments and notes I received after my last post about my husband’s cancer diagnosis and our sudden (hopefully temporary) departure from Laos. We’re still in Australia. Mike’s at the oncology unit today, almost half way through his second cycle of chemotherapy. We celebrated our 5th anniversary in style, in our wedding clothes, at the hospital :). We hope to be all done with chemo and able to return to Laos by May 1. We will see.
If you had told me a decade ago while I was working full time as a stress and trauma specialist for humanitarian workers that I’d now be fashioning a new “career” as an authority on long distance relationships, I would have been both bemused and amused. But there you have it. In the last year I’ve published two books for people in romantic relationships with plans for more to come.
So, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’ve pulled something out of each of my recent books that I thought might help you “grow love” in your life.
Whether you’re dating, married, or single, I hope these discussion questions and activities provide you with fodder for thought and conversation with others in your “inner circle”. I hope that in some small way they help you deepen and broaden important relationships in your life. And, wherever you are today and whomever you are with, I hope you feel that you are well loved and that you are loving well.
Some things to talk about from 201 Questions…
- Think of someone you greatly respect. What are three things you admire about that person?
- What are some of the best gifts you’ve received? Why were they so special?
- When you feel stressed, how does that show up in how you interact with other people?
- What would you like to do more of in life, but don’t? Why not?
- How does your job allow you to express or “live out” what you value?
- What is something you’ve achieved that you’re really proud of?
- Tell me about a time you overcame a fear.
- What are two issues or themes around which you most frequently feel as if you struggle to find balance in your life?
- How have your beliefs been challenged and/or changed recently?
- What are things that refresh you, inspire you, and remind you of what’s most important to you?
Something to do from Dating Smart
The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a psychological assessment measure designed to identify an individual’s profile of character strengths.
The version on the Authentic Happiness website is free. It has 240 multiple-choice questions and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. After you answer all the questions, you’re presented with a personal profile rank-ordering the 24 character strengths. Your top 5 strengths are considered your “signature strengths”.
This is such an interesting test that I often recommend it to friends as a personal growth exercise. However, it becomes even more fascinating if your partner or a close friend also takes the inventory. Then you can compare your results and discuss the implications.
Want to play? Here’s what I suggest …
1. Go to http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu.
2. Register so that you can access the Authentic Happiness Testing Center.
3. Take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.
4. Then, think about the following questions and discuss them with your partner, family member, or friend.
1. Do you agree with the results, or not?
2. What does the test suggest are your top five “signature” strengths?
3. List at least one way each of your top five strengths is evident in your life.
4. Which two of your top eight strengths do you feel you use most frequently?
5. Which two of your top eight strengths do you feel you use the least frequently?
Your partner, family member, or friend’s strengths:
1. What are your partner’s signature strengths?
2. Do you agree that those five strengths are “signature” strengths for your partner or would you have guessed that other strengths would show up more strongly in their profile?
3. What are ways that you see these signature strengths show up in your partner’s life?
4. What are ways that you and your partner have different strengths?
5. How can these differences be complementary?
6. How might these differences cause friction?
Leave a comment and add to the Valentine’s Day “fun and games” ideas!
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? How?
What’s a question you’ve recently discussed (or something that you’ve done) that led to growth in a relationship?
Lisa McKay – author, psychologist, sojourner in Laos
Blog: www.lisamckaywriting.com Books: Love At The Speed Of Email and My Hands Came Away Red