The Real Reason Dolly Parton Is Always So Optimistic

It seems like from “9 to 5” and beyond, Dolly Parton is always infectiously optimistic. What’s the superstar’s secret? 

For decades, Parton has been a bundle of big-haired joy in the entertainment industry. She has been a pioneer for women in country music since the 1960s, starred in critically acclaimed films like Steel Magnolias, and donated millions — yes millions — to charity. Her humanitarian efforts go as far as having a full-fledged Bald Eagle sanctuary at Dollywood. (Yes, Parton takes care of eagles, too.) It is like the superstar asks for nothing, and gives so much! 

But Parton has not always had it easy. Growing up, she and her siblings lived in extreme poverty in a two-bedroom cabin in Locust Ridge, Tenn., with no electricity or running water. In her memoir, Parton’s younger sister, Stella, recounted her father bribing a doctor with “a bag of grain” to deliver Dolly (via the Daily Mail). Tragedy hit the family even harder in 1955 when Parton’s younger brother, Larry, died four days after his birth. Even well into adulthood and fame, things were not picture-perfect. Parton was not able to have children with her quiet and devoted husband Carl Dean. “I wanted children when we first met. All girls do,” Parton revealed on Larry King Live in 2003. “But that did not happen.”

But let’s take a step back and appreciate all the good Parton has brought the world! Clearly, that light that comes from within. So scroll down for Dolly Parton’s secret on how she manages to always stay positive. 

Dolly Parton says she was 'born with a happy heart'

How has Dolly Parton maintained her positive outlook all these years? The star opened up to Southern Living about her “trademark optimism,” and explained it is a combination of multiple factors tracing back to her youth. “Just being grateful for the things that happen to [me],” she told the outlet. “My grandfather was a preacher — just having God, faith, and all that instilled in us.” Of course, she added, a dash of motivation never hurt. “But I like to make things happen if they’re not happening. I like to get involved. So I like to think of myself as a Girl of Many Colors, not just a coat, because I have all kinds of moods and I experience them all. I think that’s what makes a human being.”

“People always say, ‘You seem to always be so happy.’ But I’m not always happy. Nobody is happy all the time,” Parton continued, commenting on the way people perceive her as so upbeat. “I’m a very sensitive person. I’m a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve … when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I’m mad, I’m mad all over. I’m just a person…” she concluded. “But I have a good attitude. And I was born with a happy heart.” Dolly Parton is clearly in touch with her true self and that’s what matters!

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