Fear is learned behaviour. Some fears are rational because they trigger an innate survival response from us, namely “fight or flight”. Examples of these are fear of snakes, heights, and dogs. Then there are what we call as irrational fears, like fear of balloons or urination or even happiness.
Induced by dysfunctional association
Let’s rewind for a bit. There’s such a thing as fear of being happy and I am not trying to be negative here. Fear of happiness is often induced by a dysfunctional association, or that one person tries to associate one event to another even though there’s no direct correlation or causation between the two events. In other words, people are afraid of being happy because every time they are happy, something bad would follow afterwards.
There’s a study conducted in New Zealand wherein researchers used a Fear of Happiness scale to measure what level people are associating happiness to something bad (this is from a presumed effect from having felt happiness). In the study, they identified different correlations and connections to fear and happiness. For example, people tend to stay away from happy activities when they deal with depression and this often leads them down a spiral staircase towards social withdrawal, and this reinforces that feeling happy may lead to disappointment or a recognition of loneliness somewhere down the road.
What’s our take on this?
Happiness is something that we all want, and it’s absurd to be afraid of the one thing e want. I can understand that it’s often the wrong association of unfortunate events to happiness, but people should know that unfortunate events are neither causing or correlating to happiness.
You can read more about the article, along with findings of the study, by clicking on this link.