Cherophobia and a fear of happiness

So I learnt a new word today. Called Cherophobia- this is a fear of happiness, I must confess I had not heard of this before.

The term comes from the Greek word “chero,” which means “to rejoice.” When a person experiences cherophobia, they’re often afraid to participate in activities that many would characterize as fun, or of being happy.[1] 

The condition can result in avoiding fun or social activities and passing by opportunities that could make you happier, or lead to improvements in your life. There are beliefs that being happy means something bad will follow, being happy makes you a bad person or it’s a waste of time.

What I have come across  – are negative or limiting beliefs and there is not one coaching session that goes by where a belief does not pop up. And cherophobia is rooted in deeply-held beliefs that happiness will be followed by sadness and there is a price for happiness. Very often there is a trauma that needs unpicking if it’s become a phobia. But limiting beliefs are at play here.

We take on beliefs as though they were true. Perhaps our parents said something to us, or a teacher (e.g. you’re not good at maths, you’re so clumsy) and we believe them and we anchor them to us and take them on as truths. But they are not – they are often just statements that people have made to us – just because someone has said them does not make them true.

This results in internal dialogue – ‘oh well I am no good at this’, or ‘no good at that’. And if we believe it, it hinders our progress and happiness. Our brains cannot detect myth from reality so every time you hear that negative chatter – you are literally wiring your brain to believe it. And when you believe it – this results in actions and behaviors to back up that belief. It’s a vicious cycle.

We all have these beliefs, and sometimes new situations can flare up a belief. The trick is to notice it and question it. ‘Is that true?’ And to actually stop and think ‘Would I allow my best friend to talk to me like that?’ Chances are you would not. So, don’t talk to yourself that way. What else could you say instead? Reframe everything – put a positive light on the negative chatter, or when you notice them -stop, notice and question. Don’t allow them to build and build and occupy your headspace.

So cherophobia, fear of happiness is rooted in a belief you cannot be happy. And when you believe that, your life results will match your beliefs and thoughts. So, you need to break this cycle.

You are sabotaging your own success by buying into these beliefs.

Therefore, people stay in jobs they hate, and relationships or marriages that don’t work – because amongst other negative beliefs and thought patterns (I’m not good enough)- people are genuinely scared of being happy and successful

Because it means you need to change, get out of the comfort zone, do some work on yourself and readjust your thinking to realise ‘yes I do deserve to be happy’. Happiness has to come from the inside, from you, not external sources.

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