How Catastrophe Affects The Individual

Besides her happy nurse, my doctor is pretty grand. We like each other and always end up exchanging information and perspective. This time I told her about the happiness study / the set point of happiness (The Psychology of Happiness) and she told me about some of her patients.

“I have some people who have just been through the ringer. They’ve had cancer or something like that so they’ve really just seen so many doctors and been through so much. And they’ll be in for something and say I’m running late and they have to wait. They are always so nice. And I just figured it was because they’d seen so many doctors. But maybe they’re just that kind of person,” she said.

“That’s what I think.”

“Because others come in and there is nothing wrong with them. Something minor and they are just awful. And I want to say, what? Can’t you see I am taking care you here?”

I told her I used to think that people who faced life-threatening illness or had been in a terrible accident always had an enhanced perspective but I’d learned this was not the case.

“When something like that happens… when a life goes acute all it does is make the person more of who they are. So if they are transcendent, they will become more transcendent. But if they are otherwise, they will become more of whatever that is. And I think you can change your tendency through effort but I used to think that a heart opening was automatic after intense experience. Boy was that misguided. Happy people stay that way and miserable people stay their way. So if I ever come in here whining?”

“I won’t worry about you. I’ll say, oh she’s going to be fine. Her set point is high.”

“Yeah. I guess I’ll be smiling just like this when they put me in my grave.”


What in your chart do your blame or credit?

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How Catastrophe Affects The Individual — 18 Comments

  1. Hmm, what do I blame my very very cautious optimism on? I dunno, I think that something like outlook on life may be a temperament thing and since psychologists say that one is born with a certain fixed temperament, I am going to say it is an ego thing. Therefore, I should look at my sun sign, right? *is an amateur*

    I’m a Cancer. We tend towards anxiety which correlates to a more pessimistic attitude towards things. I however, like to think of it this way: my low happiness threshold sets me up for many pleasant surprises when the world does good things or good things come my way. Since I tend towards the negative, I won’t be quite so disappointed when things go shitty. After all, there is a certain smug self satisfaction when you can think to yourself, “ha, see I knew it!”

    But, my professional training is all about optimism and I find myself in the curious position of reframer. People are always coming to me for a silver lining in their cloudy day. And I’m quite good at it. It’s weird. Maybe this is my Sun Venus Moon stellium?

    And finally, culturally, I’m Latina and this also makes me a tad nihilistic.

  2. I like the comment on “reframing”. That’s exactly it!! I reframe events and give even bad things a positive spin. I’ve been chided many times for my rose colored glasses, but I am how I am – and as I get older I’m even more so, if that makes any sense. I have Jupiter in Sagittarius, so I’m generally optimistic. I think even when I’ve been in situations that should have made me unhappy I can always see that it could be worse – and feel good that it isn’t worse. Maybe I’m unrealistic at times, but it gets me through the day.

  3. I’m Gemini sun, asc., and mercury. We can be a sunny lot…born when the days are long and getting longer (at least in the northern hemisphere). We can breeze past any barrier (so we think). Thank goodness I’ve got moon opposition saturn to give me some ballast (and keep me at 8 instead of 10; I wouldn’t want to be a grinning idiot all the time πŸ˜‰ )

  4. Sun conjunct Jupiter in the 12th. I feel like one of those squishy toys that can be compacted briefly then spring right back into shape. I’m not a “rose colored glasses” sort either – too much Scorpio for that. Life is what it is. Part of the reason I’m basically upbeat is the choice made long ago to allow others to be what they will. No controlling behavior allowed around here!! πŸ˜€

  5. Neith, I really like the connection you made between “the choice…to allow others to be what they will” and your being upbeat. It’s an ongoing challenge for me to accept my family or partner just as they are. *Not* being accepting has been the main source of regret in my life. Is this a 12th house/Pisces special gift?

  6. Valkyrie, it is the result of having a Sun conjunct Chiron in Libra + Mars/Mercury/ASC in Scorpio – and all of the above in the 12th House. The Sun/Chiron spent literally years getting wounded through relationships & the Scorpio allowed the deep introspection and analysis necessary to figure out the “why”. Controlling behavior on my part was waaaay to exhausting – so I finally ran my head into the wall long enough to quit. Just plain ole’ garden variety learning the hard way! Now at 60+ I’m finally able to start articulating this stuff. πŸ™‚

  7. I voted 9. I’m generally happy–very happy–with my lot of life. I was happy as a kid but from the age 10 years old my anxiety and depression grew and grew before it culminated with a suicide attempt at 16.
    Well! i got the heck out of the house and got on my own at 17, and although my first place was a windowless basement room, was SO HAPPY to do whatever the hell I wanted without being watched I just grew back into myself! I’m as happy as I was when I was 5 years old. Yes, I have faced a lot of shit (death, illness, the other biggies) but being free to make my own path has made me very positive in general.
    I think my Sag ASC, Grand Fire Trine and Venus/Mars Conjunct in Aries keep me pretty happy–and, like Wyrdling, making friends with Saturn is a high priority.

  8. Somewhere in my pre-twenties, I heard the Abraham Lincoln quote that “People are about as happy as they decide to be”. For some reason it resonated deeply. Even though I had a veeerry emotional 1st house moon and mercury conj. saturn, I internalized this idea. I seem to get happier as I get older also. My very unhappiest being at 15 years old.

    Happy Cappy at 45

  9. I put 7. I don’t know about my chart…maybe Merc/Mars/Sat in Sag? Or Libra Jupiter, “big equanimity”? For me happy doesn’t equal ecstatic, it equals equanimity…

  10. i said 7 as well. i guess this is the aries sun/mars/venus plus the gem rising. tomorrow is always a new day, you never know what can happen πŸ˜‰

  11. 7 seems like a happy number, a lucky number, and well, you know I don’t want to jinx myself by declaring myself too happy– but I’m not too unhappy either.

    cappy moon, heh.

  12. i picked nine. i’m not happy _all_ the time, but usually. When I’m unhappy about something, it doesn’t last all that long. I try to look for the lessons and gifts in every experience and understand that my happiness is a choice i make. i like it that way. πŸ™‚

  13. I picked 7, it just fit. I’m fairly happy, but I’ve got an overactive Mars that likes to be ~expressed~, maan. So lots of small blowups, but a generally serene outlook.

  14. Credit to North Node in Pisces 9th and 12th house stellium. G knows I love Virgo, but I had a South Node problem in that I’d worry myself silly pre whatever event thinking about the details and then imagining the worst/failure.

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