Do you ever get conflicted when offered an invitation which either conflicts with something else, or you don’t really want to do but you know everyone will be talking about it and you want to be able to join in?
The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) effect has really taken off in recent years, especially with the advent of social media. People are worried about not knowing the latest gossip, not having the latest thing, not being part of a collective.
FOMO now has a dictionary definition of the fear or anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts on social media.
FOMO manifests in many ways. Podcast fave Tonya Leigh suggested this could be like picking up your phone first thing in the morning, before you’ve even given your loved one a hug, so you can check out what happened on social media whilst you were asleep. Or refreshing emails every few minutes, must in case, or staying at an event long after your bored just in case something might happen. You even say yes to things your body is clearly telling you no because you don’t want to miss an opportunity. Maybe you spend more of your life in your social media world than in your real one.
A serious case of FOMO can induce total indecision, the inability to make even simple choices about everyday activities like what restaurant to eat at or what film to watch. The irony is we may fear missing out so much that we actually do end up missing out. We can legitimise our FOMO by thinking there are so many opportunities and not enough time, framing it as a passion for life makes it feel normal.
TL suggested that if you’re suffering from FOMO you need to admit you have a problem. If you’re disconnected in relationships, anxious, have unrealised dreams, unfinished projects, ask yourself if you’re doing it out of love or fear. We should not be making decisions based on trying to outlive others. There’s always going to be someone doing something cooler than you.
When we trade FOMO for JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) TL said you gain pleasure from enjoying this moment, where you are right now, without worrying about what other people are doing. Make your inner world more important than anything else that’s going on outside of you. This could show up as feeling so grateful you have many opportunities and knowing that you really can’t choose the wrong one; you’re going to learn something new no matter what.
Here are TL’s suggestions for turning your FOMO into JOMO:
- The party is within you. No matter where you are you will experience fun and joy because that’s what you get to bring to every moment.
- You’re always where you are supposed to be. It’s where you are in this moment. If you were meant to be somewhere else, that’s where you’d be.
- What’s for you will not pass you. Honour your soul and intuition. If there’s an opportunity out there for you it will find you. You don’t need to go looking to try to make it happen.
- Disconnect. When you’re tied to technology you need to remind yourself to step away. Turn off the phone, shut down the laptop and disconnect for the noise of the world, and connect to yourself and the people you love the most.
- This is your life. You get to choose how you spend your time and invest in people and causes you care about the most. Make choices that energise you, not drain you.
- Slow down. If you continue to race towards the wrong things you will crash and burn eventually. Take in this moment. Be present. Fully experience your life as it is right now. What if this moment is the best thing ever and you don’t realise because you’re speeding through it?
I admit to not being bothered too much about FOMO. There are some things I do out of supporting others that I might not necessarily what to do, but not because I’m worried I might miss out on something. I’ve attended work social events in the past because it was expected, rather than because I wanted to, or because there might be some gossip to be had the next day. I’m not bothered what everyone else has got; our situations are different. If someone else has the seemingly perfect lifestyle, well good for them, I hope they’re happy. If someone else has achieved something I haven’t, it’s probably because they put the effort in that I didn’t and they deserve the accolades that go with it.
I have experienced opportunities coming my way just at the right time. A few roles I have at work have come along just at a time when I needed to move on either to something that would stretch me more, or get me away from a situation that wasn’t healthy.
Sometimes it can be difficult to spend time with people you would rather choose to be with. Time, distance and responsibility can get in the way. Whilst you may wish to spend time with them, they might not wish to, or be able to spend time with you. I would love to spend more time with R, but we live 85 miles apart and both have jobs that we need to attend.
I think my mantra would be something like “you do you, I’ll do me”. That way, I’m not influenced by anyone else, jealous of anyone else or trying to live a life through them or in competition with them.
What would your mantra be for turning your FOMO into JOMO?