May 6th 2019
How discovering my unusual phobia has put me on the path of overcoming it…
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and also with my move coming up, I feel like this month would be a great time to focus my attention on doing some internal work, both to benefit myself and those of you who choose to read and engage with my content (hello, thank you!).
About a month or so ago, I discovered a new type of phobia that really struck a chord with me. I have never been one to consider myself a person with a lot, or any, phobias. I am a bit of a needle-phobic, but I never really identified too heavily with a phobia before until I found Cherophobia.
Cherophobia is the phobia of being happy out of fear that something bad will inevitably happen.
I always considered this fear to be my “too good to be true” fear and as soon as I found out that it had a name, I was super intrigued to see that the phenomenon spread beyond just me.
I don’t know when my Cherophobia really began, but I would assume it started at quite a young age. However, I think I started noticing it most around the end of freshman year of college. After a few really traumatic events, I became very superstitious and weary of good things. I started wavering in trust that the people in my life were going to stick around and thought the potential of good things happening to me was limited to none.
This fear has only grown over the years and I find myself fixating over my fear of good things by never acknowledging a good thing to be a good thing out of fear of losing it. Whenever something good has a possibility of happening, I will constantly remind myself to “not get my hopes up” and the words “maybe” and “possibly” get thrown around as a means of avoiding the discomfort of appearing “too set” on an outcome.
I think this phobia stems from two things; one being my fear of being let down and feeling stupid, and two being my fear of looking naive or dumb to other people. In recent blog posts, I talked about my attempts to embrace hope and how it has always been a bit of a struggle for me, and I really feel that this phobia is the reason why.
When I first saw the written explanation of Cherophobia, I was shocked to see something I had been experiencing for so long, put into words. However, seeing it really woke me up to my own self-sabotaging habits and has encouraged me to break the cycle and overcome this phobia.
So, how does one begin to overcome such a phobia? Well, since I am just beginning my journey to overcoming it, I am not entirely sure but the first thing I plan to do is to work on my vocabulary.
As previously mentioned, I often gravitate towards words such as “maybe”, “possibly”, “potentially”, etc. when discussing upcoming positive events. I never let myself say that something is definitely happening because if it doesn’t, I feel foolish. However, being so negative or unwilling to accept a potential good thing has honestly put me below so many great things that I deserve.
By separating myself and my desired outcome, I am practicing self-preservation without letting myself enjoy the idea of even a tiny win. In manifestation, I have heard it said that you should talk as if what you want is already yours and I definitely fail at that. So I think that is the first major step I have to take when overcoming my fear of happiness.
The next big hurdle to overcome is my anxiety causing me to create worst case scenarios in my head. Whenever something good comes up in my life, like a new person or career opportunity or any miscellaneous positive situation, my mind often jumps to how things could go wrong. I view it sort of like mentally getting bombarded with spam mail. Like good news is rolling in but then, all of a sudden, my mental inbox is being flooded with conspiracies as to why the good thing that is coming my way is fake and impossible and not for someone like me. And the biggest problem of that is, instead of marking that stuff as spam, I willingly read it and accept it as my truth.
But what makes this phobia so hard is that sometimes I am right and things are too good to be true and that only fuels the phobia more. When my worst case scenarios ring true or things go amiss, it only encourages the phobia to grip me tighter and I can’t help but feel that my fear has made situations go further amiss than they were ever going to in the first place.
And the saddest part of all about this phobia is the fact that it keeps me from enjoying good things when they actually do happen! I have had so many amazing experiences that I have spent waiting for them to go wrong and I have pulled myself out of a lot of great moments because of it.
This phobia isn’t going to go away on its own and it won’t go away without some really heavy work, but now that I have learned to acknowledge it, I hope I can begin taking the steps necessary to change my thought process and move myself into a place in life where happiness feels comfortable and well deserved.
And if any of you out there are going through something similar or have Cherophobia yourself, just know that you aren’t alone and that with a little work and a lot of patience, you can break the cycle and set yourself free.