Thursday, January 9, 2020


That was the question begging for answers from me when I saw a family that has gone through lot yet, they still find one way or the other to be happy. When you have the privilege to know little about the family and you’re aware that the kids carry the same positive energy and outlook like that of their parents, then you may want to ask if happiness is hereditary. This leads us to the following factors;

Formative years: this is usually between age 1 to 8 years, a child gets to absolve all the energy the parents or environment gives to him/her. That is why it may be difficult for someone that comes from an abusive home to know how to care or show empathy, if the environment remains constant. In some family, once you say ‘true to God’ the whole family will believe what you have said is true whereas, in some reverse is the case, kids from the latter house are likely to always have trust issues.

Prevailing circumstances: Imagine a happy girl who is a dancer but lost her legs in a terrible accident and will have to be on wheelchair for the rest of her life, you don’t need a professor to make you understand that she’ll be sad for awhile or forever if her environment is not encouraging. It may not even be being unable to dance anymore but imagine a situation where she doesn’t have a caregiver that can make her life easier. It’s going to be really tough on her.

Personality change: Even if you are the most happiest person in the world, once you surround yourself with unhappy people for a long period of time you’ll become sad too. They will definitely influence you since they’re the core component of the environment you find yourself. You can have a happy beginning and sad ending or vice versa based on some of the factors addressed here.

Is there a gene for happiness? It’s hard to say yes to such direct question but then, some traits are visible in various happy people that can make us agree unequivocally that some genes are responsible for happiness. Have you ever wondered why some people are predominantly happy and some people are predominantly sad given the same circumstances. It’s all about personality formation which is a result of gene, environment, prevailing circumstances and formative years.

In conclusion, to a reasonable extent, happiness is hereditary. Nevertheless, it requires conscious effort to stay happy. That’s why you’ll see some people tap out of depression in 2 hours and some 2 months or more, given the same circumstances.

Gbenga Adene
Akure, Nigeria

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