Q: Are some people just destined to be gloomy all their lives? I have an aunt who is like this, and no matter what happens, she’s always pessimistic and looking on the bad side of things. — M.G.W.
A: No one is destined to be anything. The use of the word “destiny” assumes that some events or lives are predetermined to turn out a certain way. The problem with this assumption lies in the nature of the agency that willfully forces certain outcomes in our universe. To the best of human knowledge, such an agency (some may refer to it as their god) does not exist.
However, it is possible that some people are predisposed to certain behaviors or personality traits. The causes for these can range from physical (specific biochemical processes) to experiential to emotional. Someone trained in psychology should be able to explain this further. While you may not agree with your aunt’s outlook on life, you should realize that there may be mitigating factors that cause her pessimism. If you think that your aunt’s attitude is harmful to her relationships with others, her job, her well being, etc., you may want to help her identify the source of her pessimism or recommend that she visits a certified therapist.
Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.