Your evidence points less to certain individuals being “tempermentally blessed” than to them having developed some highly evolved coping skills. To label them as “blessed” seems like a misnomer, as though the emotional stability was divinely bestowed upon them, and not a result of aquiring adaptive mechanisms via experiental learning. Is it possible that the “tempermentally blessed” are simply more “emotionally evolved”? I haven’t seen any evidence that points to a genetic distinction or neural/cognitive variant that would indicate they are “blessed”. (Although, I do look forward to Schaefer’s MRI results).

My sense is that emotionally evolved have or have had the same internal reactions to stress that the rest of us do…they have simply developed strategies, whether they know it or now, allowing them to manage those emotions. They aren’t robots. They simply have efficient and effective filters. Their lenses, through which they view the world, aren’t clouded with maladaptive short-term “coping” strategies (like rage, self-flaggelation, victim posturing, regression, phobias, projection, deflection, etc..) They can see the world for what it is and aren’t operating with a broken mental model.

I am in no way trying to downplay or dismiss the very real and devastating effects that mental illness can have on an individual, or assert that those affected are somehow responsible for their inability to pull themselves out of it by their bootstraps. (I, myself, live with a psychiatric diagnosis which carries a staggeringly high mortality rate.) What I am saying, is that I think there is an element of self-directed learning and personal growth that is available to everyone which would make them stronger and more emotionally evolved.

We all have different starting points (presumably relating to our ‘nuture’, not nature…or more accurately, lack thereof.) Ergo, consistently healthy emotional regulation is a higher bar for some than for others. I think characterizing people who have been able to access and apply these skills as “evolved” vs. “blessed” is a step in the right direction toward increasing the proportion of people that fall into that category. It means that there is, indeed, something we can learn from them, instead of dismissing their emotional enlightenment as being divinely bestowed and unattainable. I think you touched on this several times, which I applaud, but I still struggle to get past the “tempermentally blessed” label.

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small.

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