FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. It seems to be going around.
Anxiety over staying in the know and keeping up with a favorable social image is A THING now. It seems we’re overly interested in what everyone else is doing and worried about missing out on the latest – TV shows, technology, food, trends, cat videos, memes. We’re constantly checking in to see how our lives look compared to the masses. Does it really matter?!
OMG, YES! Of course it matters! What if other people are having more fun?! What if they’re making more money?! What if they’re finding ways to look younger?! What if they’re learning all the secrets and getting all the launch codes?!
We live in a world where we can peek into the lives of practically everyone we know, and don’t know, and see what they’re up to! We’re a witness to the unending commentary on the fabulous things they’re doing.
You say to yourself while eating your microwaved burrito in front of the TV “Why aren’t I having lunch in Paris on a Tuesday afternoon?” “Why aren’t I getting an award for saving a dolphin on Thursday?” “Why aren’t I marching with radical nuns the first Friday of every month?”
Part of you doesn’t give a rip because it’s past 7pm and you’ve safely removed your pants, but then you think “What if everyone’s LOLing and ROFLing all over town without me?! What if they know what salads the Kardashians are eating today?”
It’s hard not to feel anxious when you have an inquiring mind and can look at your smartphone anytime you want to get real-time answers to the thousands of questions an inquiring mind wants to know and see the awesome things your friends and enemies are doing while they should be home being miserable with their loved ones.
So, what do you do if you’re feeling the dreaded FOMO? Here are a few things to consider.
1. Limit your time on your phone. Not a new concept but a solid one. Put your phone in a different room (or state) so it’s not handy to pick up every 2 minutes . . . Or better yet, delete those unnecessary apps that are so easy to tap 150 times a day. The world won’t go mad if you don’t know what Trump is up to every few minutes or see a positive affirmation from your favorite guru hourly. Less phone, less stress.
2. Do a little self-inquiry into why you feel the need to keep up on all the latest hooplah? What are you trying to gain? Control? Are you bored? Lonely? Are you feeling left out? Do you feel invisible if you’re not posting? Are you looking for ways to fit in and appear happier than you are so you can mask those underlying feelings? Check in with yourself and be honest.
3. Stop comparing. Just because someone bought the latest gadget, went parasailing or took an extravagant vacation doesn’t mean they’re happier than you. You don’t know what’s going on behind the amazing pictures. Other people are masking, too.
4. Get real. Social Media is like photo shopping your life. It’s momentary highs dressed up like everyday life. It’s not real. Trying to keep up with it will drain your energy and distract you from the things that really matter and can improve your life . . . like working on your personal relationships and goals.
5. Accept yourself as you are right now. If you want to make improvements, do it, but improve according to your wants and needs, not according to what you think will look good to others
There’s always going to be something bigger and better than what we’re doing or living in the moment but that doesn’t mean we’re missing out on something. We don’t have the same values or want the same things so we shouldn’t be comparing lives. It’s important to ask the question “Do I want to be authentic and true to myself or just find ways to keep up with others?”
Peeking into someone’s life can be fun and inspirational, but we should be paying more attention to our own. If we aren’t, it’s time to figure out why and do something about it.