Most people agree that we are born with our temperaments. But this is not to say that we cannot do anything about it. Even science agrees that we have a certain genetic makeup that predisposes us to think, act and feel the way we do. Elementary theories on emotions have recognized that physiology plays an important role in emotions, but merely in a stimulus-response reaction. Recent studies, however, confirm evidence that it is a complex process that involves mental and physiological functions. It is not entirely mental nor circumstantial.
Having said this, I cannot say if this is good or bad news. The good side of it, I suppose, is that we now have the reason to accept our limitations and our search to find “happiness,” if we are not genetically predisposed to it. Why? This implies that for someone whose temperament is that of melancholy, for example, it will be twice as difficult to find satisfaction or pleasure in most things we do compared to a sanguine. Moreover, emotion researchers have established that there seems to be a “set point” for our general dispositions. I personally can attest that I seem to have a scale set point of 3-8, in a ten point scale of mood swings. I never get to be really depressed, BUT, I can never be ecstatically manic either. And I guess, this is the bad side of it.
But despite these genetic predispositions, they do not mean we are doomed to be in our current states of emotionality for the rest of our lives. We can still do something to improve ourselves, without necessarily changing our temperaments or our personality. Like any case of developmental theory, we can evolve into someone more mature and better able to handle emotions appropriately. We all have the capacity to overcome our weaknesses and build on our strengths. In the end, we all should strive to be the better persons we can be.