This may sound weird, but if you think you’re afraid or not afraid of happiness, click here to take a quiz and find out all the same.
Some months ago I came across some three words i had no idea could exist -“cheromania”, “athedonia” and “cherophobia”. Believe it or not, cheromania, is the extreme love for happiness, athedonia, an inability to be happy, and cherophobia, the fear of being happy. To be honest, I only stumbled on the first word, cheromania- extreme love for happiness- and got enthralled at the spot. I know people love to be happy, I mean, if you could, why wouldn’t you. But for there to be a word for an extremity, meant there was some sort of psychological case study 101 earth human race pre post behavioural clinical medical research thingie going on, I thought, then it was safe to assume there was an extensive report on it somewhere. I had to find it.
I just couldn’t help wondering if an opposite term would exist. If someone loved happiness, with the billions of people on earth, there ought to be someone who hated it just as well, but why? The results I gathered weren’t closely antonymous to cheromania, mostly terms that described minor other relations, but when I stumbled on the other two terms, I stopped searching. Not only that they were intriguing, they struck an implausible nerve because they were genuinely unfamiliar territories. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why I should be unable to be happy, or be scared to be happy.
It should be a taken that happiness is a big deal if people have to go through all these researches just to tag some identifications into place, like ‘yeah you’re deliriously happy there’s a name for that, and oh wait.. some people cannot bring themselves to feel how you feel no matter how hard they try, they got a name too. Go forth exhibits A, B, C. Go forth!’. I mean, there are people getting paid just to learn how happy some people can be when given an extra 100bucks on some days, or have a change of wardrobe, or a fancy treat. There are economists spewing theories and creating data analysis on work place handling, improving employees happiness factors to promote employers satisfaction factors.. and all of that.
We’ve even read books and watched movies that try to explain how and why men see things a lot differently from the ladies and how easy or difficult it is for change to happen in other to sync behaviors to the way their respective spouse would want it to be, perhaps to make it apprehensively symmetrical to preconceived notions of gracefully acceptable conduct. Why all these troubles to understand or to adjust character? My Answer: It has to do with the strife to coexist happily. For the most part, say 70%.
Understandably, you’ll smile a little when you find some money you did not expect, in the front pocket of your denim jacket you get from the hangars to wear, or your pant (trousers) or wallet. Call it small joy. You wake up without the cold you had the day before and you give a sigh of relief. Small joy. The company you work at suddenly introduces staff buses that’d benefit your budget. wink wink. Small joy. You do your laundry but you get skeptical to take it outside to dry because it’s been raining steadily for the past two days. But you take it outside anyways and that day the sun shone brighter than the average sunny days and your clothes get pleasantly sun-dried. You smile. Small joy. But if these small joys were to be missing daily, would you choose to give yourself reasons to be happy?
A guy, towards his partner, could choose to let his gross character stay unchanged, no matter how unruly it is to the general eye, and same with a lady, if she has unappealing sides, and they could go ahead and indulge in sexual acts for whatever purposes, procreation or sexual satisfaction. They could work mutely in understanding and tolerance of each other. They could survive in agreement without having to change.
But human minds don’t exactly work that simple. Because that’ll mean to ignore the underlying setup of nurturing and loving. So even if they can survive without the altercations that come with not adjusting to your partners cries of wanting a better person, change works to attain happiness. So however you choose to view it, it’ll trace down to staying happy. You change for your spouse so that they can treat you better or love you better. You’d care for better loving because you want to be happy or you want to see another person happy.
Same reason why you’d care for comfort, better health, tasty meals, better treatment at the work place, fancy car, sense of fulfilment, even the most mundane of things. Happiness comes next to survival, and alongside contentment. That is if you’re not doing something for the sake of survival, you’re probably doing it for your peace of mind, or for happiness. So yes.. it is that big a deal.
Unfortunately it’s possible for a person to participate mindlessly in experiencing little joys, that’s where you hear about depression. I read that depression isn’t about not being happy, that’s just sadness. But when you stay ‘not being happy’ for so long you forget about those casual things like comfort and peace and appreciation, those things that bring contentment, then you might be close drifting to depression.
And it’s not a feeling you can choose to snap out of and ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself and go play with your friends’, it’s this hopelessness and worthlessness that won’t go away until you seek help and get medically treated. And when you don’t get treated, there’s a chance you let yourself in on the option of suicide. Google says there’s one death by suicide every 12.3mins. That is to say for every 15mins, somewhere someone has taken his/her life because they were too unhappy to choose to live on. Given the choice to be happy, a depressant said, “I’m afraid to be happy, because I know deep down that just a glimpse of joy would be just that — a glimpse”. Now we can see athedonia and cherophobia all in one place, as it frequently appears.
Here you are, you find something or someone that keeps you happy, without losing your senses/health in the process, something/someone that makes your mind better, but you don’t hold on to it, because you’d rather be petty over trivialities and make a mountain out of a mole hill. After all, happiness is a choice and you can choose not to be happy. What’s the big deal in being happy anyways.