An aversion to happiness, also called cherophobia or fear of happiness, is an attitude towards happiness in which individuals may deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness.
When I stumbled onto this word I couldn’t stop thinking about how I might be developing this phobia. If not as a permanent state of being it certainly makes guest appearances in this movie called “The Life of Sean”.
Examining the meaning of this phobia took me back to the days after Yolanda had passed away. I recall lying on my bed in a state of confusion and feeling completely shattered. I would look out the window and see my girls playing in the garden or splashing about in the pool and displaying an outward happiness. Other family members would be sitting outside and sometimes I could hear the laughter. I would question how is it possible for them to be happy. As far as I was concerned the biggest earth shattering disaster had just taken place. How was it possible that they could be happy?
There have been many times over the last 14 months where being happy just felt wrong. Being happy just felt as if I was being disrespectful to the memory of Yolanda. I know it was many months after Yolanda had passed away that my daughter said to me, dad I am glad to see you can smile again.
I also know that those who know me will be surprised by what I have written as they sometimes see the outward display of me joking around as a sign that I am moving forward. The outward display certainly is not a reflection of the inner turmoil taking place. The constant wrestling match of accepting that I am allowed to be happy again. The outward sign was and is a coping mechanism. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly morbid. The fear of loneliness is perhaps the driver of this outward behavior. Like it or not we need one another and natures instincts will take over when we are not capable of doing so for ourselves.
So stumbling onto this word was it by accident or by other means? I believe that there was and is a bigger player in all of this. By coming across this word I have been able to reflect as well as ask some tough questions.
The toughest question for me is “Would Yolanda, as my soulmate, want me to live in a state of unhappiness?” For me the answer is blatantly obvious. So I now need to set about on the hard task of allowing myself to be naturally happy. Not the outward display but from within. A genuine happiness. A genuine love and joy for those around me. A love and joy that isn’t tinged with sadness.
Yolanda wouldn’t want this for me but most importantly I mustn’t want this for myself.