FOMO: The Fear Of Missing Out
Let’s talk about FOMO.
How many of us have ended up being completely exhausted and burnt out because of this? Doing things we don’t necessarily feel like doing but doing them anyway because we fear that we would be missing out on something if we didn’t?
I thought I’d write about this not only because we keep hearing more and more about FOMO but also because if we let ourselves drag by it, there’s a big chance of us missing out on, not what our friends are doing, but on life itself.
So What Is FOMO?
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It is the fear of not being included in or part of something that other people are doing. FOMO is not just the fact that you are not participating in what you believe are exciting things; it is actually more than that since it is a genuine feeling where you become deeply worried, anxious and distressed when most of the time there shouldn’t be a reason for you to experience such negative feelings. Ie those feelings are not always justified.
Why Do I Get FOMO?
When you get FOMO, you should consider reflecting on why you believe you have FOMO. You need to sit down and ask yourself some serious questions.
What is triggering it? Is it coming from me or from social media? Ie, was I quietly sitting in my sofa and that feeling just surfaced out of nowhere or did FOMO come up when I saw a post on Instagram about that super event I now feel like I need to attend? Do I really have FOMO or do I have FOMO because my friend has FOMO? Is it really FOMO or is it me trying to avoid doing something else that I have to do such study, work, go gym or whatever?
It’s funny because as I am writing this, I can see for myself that there are different layers to it. When we would think that the reason for FOMO is simply “I just don’t wanna be missing out on that event”, there are most of the time different reasons behind it. Just like the few questions above briefly highlighted.
1. Number one
However, I would say that one of the biggest reasons for FOMO- if not the biggest- is the fact that we feel other people have or will be living a better life than us.
But what is a better life anyway? First of all, we can only think people will be living a better life than us if we compare ourselves to them. Do we want to be comparing ourselves to others? No we don’t. It is not a healthy place to be. So the problem here is not the FOMO itself or the thing we are missing out on, the problem becomes us. We need to think better, to do better, to focus on ourselves better before getting an unjustified FOMO. Secondly, better life is very subjective. It is what we make of it.
I don’t necessarily especially want to have a better life than my friends, family, colleagues but I am living a better life FOR ME if what I do what brings me peace and contentment. I’ll come back to this later.
2. Number two
The second biggest reason for FOMO is I think worrying that people will lose interest in you if you don’t do things with them. What if they don’t want to be friends with me anymore? What if I am seen as an outsider next time they have a party? What if I am not one of the cool guys anymore? What if they stop inviting me?
However, we can only wonder this if we worry too much about our image to people’s eyes. Again, it is not a healthy place to be. I do not want to worry about what people think of me. I want to worry about how I feel about going or doing what is said or portrayed to be an exciting thing. Sometimes we don’t even know what the whole thing is about! We just go because everyone is going! How stupid is this.
But like I said, I need to think about how I feel about being part of it. Am I tired? Am I drained? Do I even have an interest in it? Do I like the people that are part of it? Is it too far? Will I have to make a thousand compromises? Do I have the money? (gosh that is a good one because I cannot even start to imagine how many people get financially in trouble to be part of the band and simply not get FOMO).
Is the thing I am missing out on better than what is making me miss it in the first place? When this might sound like a silly question because we wouldn’t have FOMO if we didn’t think it wasn’t, we still have to ask this to ourselves. What I am trying to say is if the dilemma is so big, maybe it’s because what is making us miss whatever it is we are missing out on is so worth it too. And I want you to reflect on that. Picture yourself with a balance and try to weigh what is more important to you.
If I am feeling physically and mentally drained, what’s more important? Me taking the time to rest and recharge properly or do that thing and get a burn out that I will regret later down the line?
If I don’t have the money right now, what’s more important? Me thinking of and saving for my future, or buying Halloween costumes I can’t afford in order to go to that superparty and wonder how I will make the money back?
“That social thing is so late, far and in the middle of nowhere- I don’t know how I’ll get there but man I have to go” What’s more important, me wisely choosing safety or me turning a blind eye and increasing chances of things going wrong?
And if you just don’t have any interest in what the event or thing is about, ie you hate the music, the art, the vibes or else but you feel guilty because no one else feels that way, please do yourself a favour and just don’t go/ do it! What a waste of time to be in a place you’re not fully comfortable in. This is not me saying do not be open to new experiences. This is me saying make sure you don’t do something that will be a complete waste of time to you. Do not feel pressured. You could be using that time so much more wisely. Be aware of where your inner energy goes. You generally feel this deep inside and your intuition is rarely completely wrong. Trust yourself. If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t.
Things To Do To Avoid FOMO
1. List things you are grateful for: this is particularly helpful when you feel like others are living a “better life”, like I said above. When we let those feelings overwhelm us, we tend to forget about all the beautiful things we already have around us. When we put a light on them, we realise we rarely need more than that. We don’t need another party, another work event, another gym class to look like other fitness models.
2. Explore your own interests: when you find your own interests and passion, you won’t be easily dragged to doing random activities. Take me as an example, I started writing about this FOMO post during a bank holiday. I could see on social media everyone gathering and having picnics (yes I wrote this blog in May! And only posting it now). As tempting as it was, I didn’t get FOMO because I remember myself being so at peace with writing instead of having to join socials at a time when I was physically and mentally drained by work. I don’t get FOMO when I go gym because doing so already brings me a lot of contentment and therefore I do not feel bad for not doing something else. If you feel like it’s other people that will bring you joy, you probably need to work a bit more on yourself. Désolée!
3. Be intentional on who you follow on social media: this one is very important. Be wary of people only showing the good side of their lives making you feel everything is going wrong in yours. Be wary of those whom lives seem to be just about what they are “visibly” doing and not about how they are possibly feeling. More often than not, majority hides behind parties, holidays and trends to mask who they really are or what they really feel. With this said, if our aim is to not compare ourselves to people, this should hopefully not impact us much.
The Bottom Line
I wish we all had JOMO instead- Joy Of Missing Out! Ie, feel content with what we are doing. I think that’s how it should be. When I was writing about this post during that super warm bank holiday, I surely had JOMO. I was just content. And I was even more content and glad I didn’t impulsively decide to join one of those picnics. Instead, I prioritised myself. What’s more beautiful and rewarding than this. YOU are the centre of your life.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! I am not here to tell one truth. I am here to make you reflect a little bit on your life and hopefully help you take control of it. Pause a little bit. Ask yourself a few questions. And if you have a friend who gets FOMO, don’t hesitate to share this post with them. Enjoy life.