This article was originally written and included in Future Female's Spring/Summer 2020 magazine.
The Fear of Missing Out aka FOMO is a real thing people go through when they literally fear missing out on an experience or an interaction that will make them feel sad, jealous, envious or regretful missing out on. A majority of the time, we may not even particularly want to be a part of this experience or interaction, but we have this false sense of fear that makes us think we might be regretful if we are not present.
With the rise of social media, we have conditioned ourselves to a routine of documenting every part of our day to make us look like we are having the most fun at all times. It is inevitable that we will see an image, video or text about an experience or interaction that we are not a part of. In media, we see and hear moments of highlights reels that make us feel disappointed in ourselves for not being somewhere, even if we said no to them.
The culture we live in, constantly reminds us of experiences and interactions we are not part of, and we constantly punish ourselves mentally about making an effort to not miss out on the things we may feel bad about in the future. But what is this really doing to us? We begin to place an importance on being everywhere and doing everything, and we forget what actually is of importance and of interest to us. We also give power to our egos to feel more important, accomplished and busy. This makes us doubt our own wants and needs and holds us back from actually living the kind of life that make us feel happy and fulfilled.
How can we declutter our minds from what we think society wants from us? How can we place a focus on real experiences and interactions that actually makes us feel excited and happy? How can we do this without the comparison of what we think will be a better experience that is more worthy of our time, money and attention?
For example, a friend invites you over for dinner. At first, you are super excited about this, and can’t wait to catch up with your friend and indulge in some great wine and delicious food. The next day, a colleague invites you to a big party with the rest of your coworkers at their house, you realize you have already committed going over to your friend’s house for dinner, but instantly feel the stress and pressure to cancel those plans. You fear you will hear all about the party at work on Monday morning and are terrified of the future feeling of not feeling connected, happy, and included.
When this scenario happens, take some time to ask yourself these questions to reframe your mindset:
1. Where is this FOMO really stemming from? What exactly do you fear you are missing out on feeling? You are afraid of not feeling connected, happy and important.
2. Take a moment to realize how your thoughts are spiralling out of control and causing the opposite of that feeling for you at the present moment. Do you feel connected, happy or important? No. You were really excited about going to your friend’s house and couldn’t wait to feel re-connected with them. Now your thoughts are spiralling out of control and you believe that this party will make you feel all of these things and it is clouding the true experience you actually want to be a part of.
3. Ask yourself, what thoughts you can have to get you to a place to feel those feelings right now. You will feel connected and included at your friend’s house as you have a long history of friendship, inside jokes and know each other inside out so it won’t be as stressful, fake or not your genuine self. It will be a relaxed, fun and enjoyable evening that will most likely end in you leaving feeling fulfilled, loved and connected. Instead of cancelling plans and potentially risking a close, intimate relationship that means something to you, you are threatening that with plans that you think is the one that is of higher value at this present moment.
The next time this happens, take the time to really feel these moments and realize that you have the power to create your own emotions, feelings and experiences. You are in control of your own happiness.