What Matters Most?

Using your strengths to impact well-being

The Nature and Nurture of Our Character Strengths

It is probably not useful to ask the age-old question whether our core strengths of character are more a product of our genes or our environment. When it comes to our personality, the answer is almost always “both are important.” Instead of viewing which is “more,” we can attempt to learn from both sides and make this immediately practical. Read More

Rightly Said!

I agree that strengths are not expressed in isolation but as constellations that are observed and identified by others. Each one of us have an array of strengths that need to be exposed for inspiring others. Thanks author for such a great post!

Nature vs Nurture similar to Ford vs Chevy

If you're hit by a truck, does it matter what model it was? Regardless what combination of causative impacts underwrote the character disorder of an offender, both the emotional and physical harm they produce can be devastating.

Having written my tale of falling prey to a character disordered predator, ("Carnal Abuse by Deceit, How a Predator's Lies Became Rape," Amazon) I believe the attempt to determine profiles for victims is just as elusive, particularly because some psycho-types prefer challenge while others simply take what comes easily. My concern is that trying to identify a candidate profile convinces society that others are not at risk.

Ringing more clearly, however, is the concept that a person with affective empathy would be more apt to fall prey while the offender would have little or no empathy. And a person's underlying level of empathy is visible from the get-go. Among other victims I've known through my efforts to help heal the wounds of psychopathic relationships, are some of the most empathetic people I know. And I believe it's the ability to forgive and render compassion that is the characteristic a predator looks for in sizing up a mark. They can sniff it out from across a crowded room and begin testing their intuition, and grooming, from the moment of contact.

Nature and Nurture

As I read your piece, I couldn't help but picture you as a child, a young boy and now this well educated man. With my limited education (1 year college), but, in my opinion, vast "street" experience, I found this fascinating and something I will be thinking about for a while.
I hope all is well with you and the famnily......

It's about behavior and self-understanding

Thanks Aarron and Joyce, for the comments.

Joyce, your points in regard to offenders (although not the topic of my post) seem to be good ones.

I don't resonate with the metaphor of Ford/Chevy because the take-home message of the post is not as much the causative aspect but the behavioral one. Both nature and nurture matter as we attempt to understand ourselves, especially as we tend to understand who we are from the vantage point of our best qualities.

good to reconnect here

Hi Mrs. Wagner,
What a delightful surprise to read your response!
I'm glad that the post offers some good ideas.
I hope all is well with the whole family....

I Entirely Agree

The metaphor was an attempt at expressing the futility of contemplating the motivation of others so that we can redirect our focus on understanding ourselves.

I write for several blogs in which victims of abuse ruminate over the issues they cannot possibly control, the behavior that victimized them. I use this metaphor as a means to help them redirect their energy.

I appreciate your insight. As a mental health professional, would you care to make that message clear on my blog? www.CADalert.blogspot.com.

Huge thanks for your input!


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D., is the education director at the VIA Institute on Character.


Subscribe to What Matters Most?

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.