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  • Gianna Sullivan

Are Some People Born Happy?


Baby smiling - born happy
Smiling happy baby

We all know some people who seem to be naturally happy, and we all know people who seem naturally to gravitate towards unhappiness or pessimism. Have you ever wondered is there a secret to being naturally happy and positive? Are some people born happy, or is it a skill we learn? What about the things that happen in our lives? Do our circumstances and experiences shape our happiness, or is it all in the way we view the world? Let's take a look at the idea that some people are born happy.


Are We Born Happy, or is Happiness Out of Our Control?



Hand drawn wreath with the word happiness inside
Happiness

Experts reckon that happiness often comes down to three elements; our genetics, our experiences, and our lifestyle choices or intention activity. How important each of these elements are is often a subject of debate. Famously, it has been said that 50% of our happiness comes down to genetics and biology, leaving the other half down to things we do and the things that happen to us that may be outside our control. This can make it seem like we don't have any control over whether we are happy or not. However, all is not lost. Even when people have a genetic predisposition to something that undermines their chances of happiness, such as depression, this does not mean that they cannot be happy. And remember, we don't simply have 'happy' and 'unhappy' genes. We have lots of traits that we inherit from our ancestors. This might mean we are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. Still, we are also genetically predisposed to have a certain sense of humor that could allow us to find happiness in the world around us. Or perhaps you inherited a tendency to be kind, caring, or empathetic, leading to good relationships that, in turn, are a source of great joy. So you see, looking at your genetic makeup isn't as simple as identifying how happy your parents were and expecting the same for your own life.


What About Circumstances Beyond Our Control?



Woman mourning death of a loved one
Grieving Woman

We all encounter circumstances beyond our control, whether you are one of those people who seem to have been born happy or one of life's pessimists. Many of the experiences we have to deal with come as a result of things happening to us that we could not predict. We all face loss, grief, and disappointment. Sometimes these things happen due to the actions of others, and other times they are apparently random. We cannot measure the impact of every single obstacle or adverse circumstance. What devastates me may feel perfectly manageable to you, and what you see as an insurmountable challenge might feel like a minor issue to me. That's the beauty of life; we all experience it differently. We each have different ways of dealing with adversity, and that is where the difference comes in. Dealing with adversity positively, facing it head-on, and seeking help when we need it, matters far more than the circumstances themselves. Essentially, it is not what happens that matters but how you react. So, you may encounter many trials in your life, but develop the skills and resilience you need to overcome them and find happiness. This could be a much more valuable skill than having a genetic predisposition to happiness. Without resilience and the tools, you need to overcome adversity, being 'born happy' might not be enough to permit true fulfillment.


Where Does Intentional Activity Come In?



Which direction will you follow in your career
Career Path

Whether a person is born happy or not, a large part of whether they find fulfillment in their life comes down to what they do. Intentional activity is the things we choose; the lifestyle we lead, the choices we make, and the activities we undertake. This is where choosing a healthy lifestyle comes in. It is where it matters that you make an effort to form positive relationships. It is where the choice of career becomes so important. Regardless of whether you believe in being born happy or not, it is what you do while living your life that has the most bearing on where you go and how you feel.


The Power of Choice



Even those who appear to be 'born happy' have their moments
Happy or Sad

Just as nobody is happy all the time, nobody is 'born happy,' and nobody is 'born unhappy.' We are a complex mixture of biological and genetic elements that is very difficult to untangle, and then from the moment we are born, we are dealing with things that happen to us and intentional choices we make. Every decision we make has consequences. Each thought we have contributes to our inner life. Our outlook on the world changes all the time as a result of experience. What is most important is the element of choice. We can choose to view the world differently. We can choose to seek out the good and the positive. We can choose to invest in good relationships and protect ourselves from negative ones. We can choose to aim for a healthy body.

And most importantly, we can choose to overcome the obstacles we encounter and to work hard to offset any genetic predispositions we might have that could harm us. None of this is as simple to do as it is to write, of course. Sometimes we need help. Having the perspective of another person can be incredibly valuable. Even those who appear to have been born happy are not born with all the skills they need to find happiness at every stage in their lives. We all need to learn, to develop, and to change course at times. Seeking help is one way of doing just that. If you need to achieve something, and you do not have all the resources you need at hand, then set out to find them and acquire them. One way of doing this is by reaching out to another person for help, advice, or a listening ear. We are each on our own individual journey, and each of us has the potential to live a happy life.


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