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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.
One of several reasons that aversion to happiness may develop is the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur that will taint their happiness, as if that individual is being punished for satisfaction. This belief is thought to be more prevalent in non-Western cultures. In Western cultures, such as American culture, "it is almost taken for granted that happiness is one of the most important values guiding people’s lives." Western cultures are more driven by an urge to maximize happiness and minimize sadness. Failing to appear happy is often a cause for concern. Its value is echoed through Western positive psychology and research on subjective well-being.
There are four major reasons why happiness may be avoided by various people and cultures: "believing that being happy will provoke bad things to happen; that happiness will make you a worse person; that expressing happiness is bad for you and others; and that pursuing happiness is bad for you and others". For example, "some people—in Western and Eastern cultures—are wary of happiness because they believe that bad things, such as unhappiness, suffering, and death, tend to happen to happy people."
These findings "call into question the notion that happiness is the ultimate goal, a belief echoed in any number of articles and self-help publications about whether certain choices are likely to make you happy". Also, "in cultures that believe worldly happiness to be associated with sin, shallowness, and moral decline will actually feel less satisfied when their lives are (by other standards) going well", so measures of personal happiness cannot simply be considered a yardstick for satisfaction with one's life, and attitudes such as aversion to happiness have important implications for measuring happiness across cultures and ranking nations on happiness scores.
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