Genetics… I’m Lucky

I sometimes look at strangers and wonder about their lives.  Are they in a good place right now?  Are they suffering?  Hopeful?  Waiting?  Why is one person smiling, friendly and approachable, while another looks rushed, frustrated, or empty?  Does their appearance reflect their life?  

I don’t think so…  I think appearance reflects mood, but not necessarily circumstances.  I have known people who carry the heaviest of burdens and they smile and embrace strangers and give of themselves more than most.  It’s not that they are never sad, but they have an incredible ability to rebound back to happy.  Others who seem to escape hardship are often unhappy.   They struggle with self-inflicted busyness, competitive natures, hectic schedules, turmoil, and a general sense of anxiety.

Do we have a choice in seeing the glass half-full or half-empty?   Scientist have found the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is a strong predictor of happiness and self-esteem.  If you are missing certain nucleotides on that gene, you have lower levels of optimism and self-esteem.  About one-half or our sense of well-being is inherited.   We are born with a tendency toward a “happiness quotient”.  Knowing this helps me realize there is a reason I rebound easier than most.  It also explains why I’m fluttering around being happy, when instead I should be concentrating and getting something done.  It’s all in the genes.

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