This phenomenon leads people to avoid situations that they believe can make them happy.
Cherophobia is a concept that can be shocking for many people, since its existence makes us question something that in theory we all seek: happiness. And it is that the cherophobia is the aversion to happiness, the rejection of those experiences or habits that we believe could lead us to be happy.
How can it be that someone does not want to tend towards happiness? What is the reason for this psychological phenomenon? Let’s see it in the following lines.
What is cherophobia?
As we have previously seen in a summarized way, cherophobia is the aversion to happiness, the tendency to avoid what we link to the fact of being happy.
Now, that doesn’t mean that people are afraid of the idea of happiness itself; they are able to think about the concept itself, but they want to get away from what makes them feel happy in a minimally stable and consistent way.
Human beings are capable of adopting an infinity of lenses from which to perceive and value life, for better and for worse. This means that there are relatively rare cases in which some individuals adopt mindsets that seem to be far from common sense.
As with most psychological phenomena, there is no single cause that leads us directly to choreophobia as a consequence. Instead, there are several possible causes that make it more or less likely that we will fall into this state of mind.
One of the causes that have been hypothesized for part of these cases has to do with the pressure that exists today when practically forcing everyone to be happy all the time, as if it were part of their work and your responsibilities. Feeling that link between happiness and obligations, in certain cases, can cause aversion.
Another of the explanatory hypotheses of cherophobia is based on the idea that people who experience it are afraid of being happy at first and then see how all that happiness falls apart. The feeling of loss that would result from this is anticipated and generates so much discomfort that the pretense of being happy is completely renounced, even avoiding falling into this state by chance.
Is aversion to happiness a problem?
As strange as it may be that happiness is avoided, it is possible to come to understand people who seek to keep their lives simple and maintain an austere philosophy of life. However, it must be borne in mind that cherophobia does not consist of humility or austerity, values that in themselves are not negative and are in fact legitimate.
The characteristic of cherophobia is that in it the person makes active efforts to get away from happiness, even if doing so is expensive. These efforts significantly interfere with people’s quality of life, isolate them and make them less able to cope with day-to-day problems.
That is why cherophobia is not just another life attitude towards which we must maintain a neutral attitude ; it is clearly a problem that makes people suffer.
Cherophobia is a complex phenomenon that is based on relatively abstract concepts, so it can manifest itself in different ways. However, it is possible to find some generalities in the symptoms of this problem.
In general, those who experience cherophobia first-hand maintain a conservative profile and little open to new experiences. In a way related to the latter, they tend to be introverted, since personal relationships bring a certain instability and exposure to emotionally charged situations, something that goes against their intention to always stay more or less the same, away from experiences intensely happy or agreeable.
On the other hand, meeting new people can lead to seasons of calm and stability in a context of feeling full, something that could break down and generate feelings of loss and grief. Remember that those who dislike happiness do not want to be markedly unhappy, they simply seek to avoid suffering.
Fortunately, choreophobia is neither depression nor a neurological disorder, so psychological intervention should be able to make this form of discomfort subside until it almost disappears, all in a relatively short period of time.
In general, the aversion to happiness is related to the fact of clinging to non-adaptive beliefs and an unhealthy lifestyle that generates psychological exhaustion. For this reason, cognitive restructuring can help, as well as other forms of intervention in anxiety problems, such as exposure in controlled contexts to what is feared (in the most accentuated cases in which there are anxiety crises in the face of specific stimuli ).
- Joshanloo, M., Weijers, D. (2013). Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies. 15 (3): 717–735.
- Robinson, J. (2014), What’s so bad about feeling happy? Springer.