Updated: Feb 6, 2020
This past Sunday morning I woke up in a beautifully exhausted state and was still in the afterglow of having had two nights of fantastic gigs. Sundays are usually my day to totally veg and that pursuit was the extent of my day.
On pops the telly and I start my day by watching reruns of Modern Family, my favourite sit-com. After the three episodes finished on regular TV, I was still in need to my ‘Phil’ fix so I went over to Amazon Prime and binge-watched an entire series, all 24 episodes.
I was laughing out loud at the funny stuff and teary eyed during the tender stuff and found myself experiencing true moments of Joy. I genuinely felt happy, which was immediately followed by feeling terrified. I was terrified that something bad was going to happen to destroy this amazing feeling of happiness I was experiencing. WT actual F? Why couldn’t I allow myself to just be happy?
I wanted to know why most of us feel that happiness comes with strings attached. So I googled ‘fear of being happy’ and found that there is an actual term for this … Cherophobia. I have never heard this word before, have you?
Cherophobia is a phobia where a person has an irrational aversion to being happy. The term comes from the Greek word “chero,” which means “to rejoice.”
After taking a few happiness quizzes, I am thankful to report that I’m not quite at phobia levels of happiness aversion, but many people are. According to an article I read by Calvin Holbrook, The fact that our brain is hardwired to focus on the negative rather than the positive comes into play when exploring aversion to happiness. Maybe this is why feeling happy often brings with it memories of when previous happy moments were followed by tragedy.
The pursuit of happiness is a basic human right and a noble pursuit. Happiness is a human desire that we often look outside of ourselves to find. Money, power, possessions and substance use and abuse are often seen as a gateway to happiness, but we see the falicy of this thinking far too much with headlines announcing the self-destruction of so many, who by all appearances have it all, including happiness.
There’s a Gospel song by Larnell Harris called ‘I Choose Joy’ and sometimes when I find myself feeling unhappy, I think about this song and it reminds me that I have the power to choose how I’m feeling. Sometimes that choice is a battle and the outcome is not always happiness, but often it is.
So, while I was enjoying my lazy Sunday, I didn’t allow my mind to rob me of the joy I was feeling. I fought to stay in my happy place, and thankfully, it has spilled over into my week. It’s Wednesday and I’m still there.
Find your happy place today and if fear shows up, just let that fear pass over you and then be happy anyway!