I was reading this book which says that happiness is genetically predisposed. Not predetermined or hardwired, but has a tendency to be. This is quite clearly demonstrated by people who seem to be perpetually happy no matter what happens around them, good or bad.
On the other hand, there are people who seem to be always miserable and can look at the downside of everything, even when positive things happen.
It is due to the fact that they look at things differently. Apparently, unhappy people tend to take things personally, that somehow the bad things that happen are connected to them.
Just some food for thought. I don't know where this post is going anyway.
Another point is that external factors influence on our moods are seldom over-estimated. We always think that winning the lottery, dating that hot guy, getting a high paying job, owning that sleek car and having to-die-for body would make us much happier.
True, it will. But only for the short term. Then we would revert to the original level of our happiness (or unhappiness). And we would mistakenly think that the next better car / job / guy would make us happier and the cycle repeats itself.
Basically the point is, people generally stay at their normal level of happiness or unhappiness in the long term. Something like mean reversion (too technical, anyone?). There may be occasional spikes and dips, but sooner or later, we would go back to the previous level.
I still don't know where I am going with this.
Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one day without your eyes blind. Or you were to have kidney failure and need to undergo dialysis for the rest of your lives. We would think that we would be pretty miserable, won't we? Some of us might even think that it is better to die than to suffer for the rest of our lives.
However, if we talked to dialysis patients we would find that they are actually quite happy. In fact, as happy as normal people are. How can that be? It is because firstly, we only focus on one aspect of the disability, forgetting to look at the big picture. We only look at the bad and forget about the good.
You see, we would still have our friends and family. We may be inconvenienced for a few hours a week to go to the hospital, but generally the other aspects of our live wouldn't change too drastically.
Secondly is the reverting to the normal mood thing which I talked about earlier. After a while, you would somehow adapt or cope and the disability would become just another part of your life. Of course, some people never recover from their depressive moods but for most of us, we do.
The point I am driving at is that it is not the end of the world when misfortune strikes. The human spirit is far more resilient that we give it credit for.