by Kathi Szabo
Teaching Aqua Yoga I have had a number of students comment about the temperature of the water. Usually that it’s too cold and it can’t be the stated temperature of 84 degrees. Even in St Croix, a number of guests felt the water to be cold and wanted to ensure our next practice would be when the sun was bright and high in the sky. Not early in the morning as they thought at that time of day, the water would be too cold.
Made sense to me. The water would warm up during the day and of course, would be colder in the morning and warmer in the afternoon.
One guest had brought a thermometer to check our human observation of the senses and scientifically measure the temperature. And guess what?
The temperature barely changed. The water in the pool maintained between 84 and 86 degrees every time we looked at it!
But how could that be? The water definitely felt colder at times and warmer at other times.
I am not a scientist, but I believe it all has to do with the temperature of the air. When the air temp exceeded the temperature of the water, the water felt cold, regardless of its real temperature. And when the air temp was below the air temperature, the water felt warm and enjoyable. It didn’t’ matter the actual temperature of the water. Our perception changed based on what was happening outside the water. The temperature was constant, but the temperature of the air was not.
We are like the consistent water temperature.
Who we are on the inside is sort of like the temperature of the water, it fluctuates, but only slightly. However, it may not seem that way based on what is happening outside of us.
When we are faced with adversity, our sympathetic nervous system may kick in and we may seem angry or sad. But WE are NOT anger or sadness, we are still the person we have always been.
Or perhaps when faced with a challenge, we step up. We become laser-focused and determined. Did we change or is it the outside situation that is simply highlighting a part of us that has always been there?
Life can bring turmoil to our lives. It can bring joy to our lives. Yet, no matter the circumstances, aren’t we still that same person? The perception of who we are seems to change. In reality, it is what is happening on the outside that brings about that illusion.
Most of the time, not always, as sometimes we do make significant changes in our disposition, but for the most part, who we are is consistent. Our values are at our core, and they lead us through each situation.
It is the situation that changes, not us.
VIA Character Strengths
This is how I’ve gained a better understanding of the VIA Character Strengths, a tool I use in my coaching practice. In the early part of this century, Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson led a 3-year study to research, and classify the positive aspects or traits found in human beings. They studied cultures across the globe, throughout time, and even pop culture. This culminated in a list of 24 Character Strengths, classified within 6 virtues, and the movement to focus individual awareness on the positive aspects of what makes us who we are.
VIA stands for Values in Action. I see these character strengths as 24 human values. Values we all possess, but in different ways. Thus, making each of us a unique personality, a unique individual. This study is at the forefront of the positive psychology movement.
Positive psychology is about focusing on what is right with us, rather than what is wrong with us. We spend so much time in our lives trying to correct our flaws, instead of focusing our energies on our positive qualities. Research shows that when we focus on the positive and let go of our negatives, we are happier. We achieve more. We become who we are meant to be.
Our Values are Consistent
For the most part, our values, our character strength profile, remain consistent. I’ve taken the survey a number of times. And although some strengths move a bit, there hasn’t been a groundbreaking change without me mindfully working at it. (Zest is one that I mindfully worked at and moved higher up on the scale, meaning I now use it more often. It was always there, I simply decided I wanted to use more of it. You can read more about that journey in my eclectic thoughts from 4/15/2021)
You see, it’s because we are who we are; a unique individual being with our own way of living and seeing the world.
When the world presents different situations, we utilize what is already inside of us to navigate through the challenges. It’s not that we changed, the outside world has changed and thus the perception of reactions may seem different. But just like the temperature of the water in the pool was consistently between 84 and 86 degrees, we are consistent in who we are, in our values in action.
Look at it another way. We all have the value or character strength of love. We all have a relationship, whether it be a friend, partner, parent, or caregiver that we actively love. Yet, we may not always show it. It’s not that our love for them changes, the external world changes. Perhaps they need our support, so we call them daily, check in and lend a hand. But then there are times they are busy with their lives, maybe their career or studies, and we don’t talk to them for weeks or even months. Did our love for them change? No, the circumstances outside of us changed.
We are the temperature of the water.
We are constant. Without intention, we don’t change. Our circumstances and the world around us changes, bringing out different aspects of our Internal Self. But those different aspects are always there.
Curious to know more about your Character Strength Profile? Take the free survey and schedule a discovery call with me! Discover what makes you, well you!
Or join me on Thursday, May 19 for a Free Workshop – Create You, where you will learn you will discover 3 Simple tools to Create the Life You Crave, one of them being using your character strengths!