“No ways, I so bummed I couldn’t make it. I saw the Facebook photos and it looked ama-zing!”
How many conversations have you had with something like this inserted into the middle? Quite a few, I’d bet. In a survey done on this sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out, or that your friends are doing something or are in possession of something better than you, three quarters of young adults questioned admitted they have felt this way.
That’s right, FOMO is a real thing, people. Fear of missing out. It’s what happens when you’re sick and you can’t go to Nolu’s 21st, or when you need to stay at home to look after the kids and your friends go to the soccer match, or you don’t have the cash to go to the concert everyone else is going to.
FOMO isn’t healthy. It makes you feel bad. It makes you focus on everything you are missing out on, and drowns you in your self-made pool of sadness. Yuck. No, thanks.
So how do we avoid FOMO in our life and get rid of that thought that says, “You’re missing out”? How do we focus our attention so that we appreciate the real world and don’t turn to Facebook (which is only going to make us feel worse)?
FOMO comes from discontentment
Would you feel so bad about missing out if you really were content with your life? I don’t think so. Would the party you missed plague you so much if you had a full, inspiring, and fulfilling life? I doubt it. Your life is your responsibility and you should take stock of how happy and fulfilled you are. If you are feeling empty, try to assess things and ask yourself why.
Do you lack good friendships?
Is your work unfulfilling?
Are health issues holding you back?
Is your life balanced?
Have you considered the spiritual side of your life and thought about what your purpose on the planet is?
It’s your life, manage it
How great your life is, is up to you. You don’t need lots of money to have a great life. What you need are good people, purpose, work to do, and enough to meet your needs. Your life is like a big pay check handed to you at the beginning of each day. How you spend it will impact your happiness, contentment, and whether or not you have future investments to enjoy. Manage your life. Make decisions about how you will spend each day. Don’t let life tell you how to use your time; you decide how your time will be used. If you have a healthy idea of what you want to do with your time, then when you have to say no to invitations and miss out, its okay. If you have decided to spend less time with friends and focus on your work then you will be able to accept that you won’t be able to attend every event, and that’s okay.
Don’t believe the lie
It may sound all well and good to manage your life but when you say no and scroll through Facebook and see everyone else having fun, you don’t feel so great. This happens even when you didn’t have an event you missed – scrolling through Facebook and comparing your life to everyone else out there is a recipe for disaster. Facebook is a snapshot of people’s lives. None of the pain, confusion, or broken relationships are up on Facebook. None of the long hours of crying babies are seen in their cute baby pictures. Use Facebook but don’t let yourself be fooled into believing everyone else’s lives are so much better.
At the core of FOMO is a cake of gratitude with an icing of envy. FOMO makes you dismiss the awesome things God has given you or you have worked hard for and replace them with the illusion of something else. FOMO is not okay, friend. Don’t let it win. FOMO will try to steal your real life by making you want someone else’s. The Facebook photos may look ama-zing, but kicking butt at your own life is far, far, far more ama-zing.