Friday, June 27, 2014

Are Some People Predisposed to Negativity?

Are Some People Predisposed to Negativity?
Are there some of us more likely to be negative than others? Is there something in our makeup that can explain why some people seemingly always look at the negative side of things? Something that goes beyond what we've experienced or endured in our childhoods?

A new study by a University of British Columbia researcher found that a gene variant can cause people to focus on negativity because they see such negativity more vividly than others.

Professor Rebecca Todd of UBC's psychology department had the following to say:
“This is the first study to find that this genetic variation can significantly affect how people see and experience the world. The findings suggest people experience emotional aspects of the world partly through gene-coloured glasses – and that biological variations at the genetic level can play a significant role in individual differences in perception.”
But is it enough for science to find the genetic link for those who get caught up in negative emotions? Or is there something else present that we need to focus on? Something more on the positive side?

What if we go the next step.

For those who don't know me very well, I'm quite analytical. So I have to ask: Why would such a gene variant exist in the first place? Could there be a survival component? A evolutionary skill that protects the tribe?

Consider this. If everyone was always looking on the positive side, always seeing the beauty in everything, might that not be at the expense of missing lurking danger? From Professor Todd:
“These individuals may be more likely to pick out angry faces in a crowd of people. Outdoors, they might notice potential hazards – places you could slip, loose rocks that might fall – instead of seeing the natural beauty.”
Such research is always interesting. Necessary, even, if we want to understand human emotion. But I caution those who believe that such studies should lead to treatments to eradicate what must be considered on some level a purposeful skill. It's all a matter of degree.

There is great purpose in seeing potential hazards that others might miss. The tricky part is not to have the pendulum swing so far on the side of negativity that it's at the cost of your own sanity.

When we understand from where and why something exists in us, even when it's perceived as negative, that understanding can lead to a more productive use of it. Whatever "it" is.

There is a shadow side to pretty much everything. But if it comes naturally, embrace it. Just don't allow it to cripple you.

Balance is the answer. And part of that balance is understanding. Even negativity can be used in a positive way.

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