The Truth About FOMO and How to Deal With It
It’s Saturday night. I’m under the covers, headphones resting around my neck, laptop on lap and cat by my side. I’m in my own little heaven. It’s easier to be completely content with being a homebody on a cold and rainy night like this- not a lot is happening outside these walls and on my social media dashboards. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I get a strange sense of comfort in that. A break from FOMO (fear of missing out) is what we all crave, right? For me it is anyway. Winter seems more appealing in that sense. An excuse to hibernate and to be in my own little world for a while without having to reject friendly invitations to go out. I’ve been reflecting on this fear and have come to realize that it is has kept me from the things that are actually important to me. Here’s what we should understand about FOMO and how to deal with it.
disconnect to reconnect
How many times have you wanted to deactivate a social media account, but couldn’t for the fear of being forgotten or not in the loop? Disconnecting has been a hot topic of conversation everywhere and even between me and some of my close friends. It seems that everyone I know that has taken a break has felt a sense of empowerment from it and has encouraged me to take the leap.
When we take time away from our devices and away from the social scene, we can sometimes feel an important part of our human nature not being nourished- that being connection. We yearn to be seen and because of social media, we want that satisfying validation of people knowing that we’re doing good things in the world. Or to simply show that we exist.
There’s a big part of me that would love to travel back in time when the world wasn’t constantly buzzing in our hands. The simple fantasy of living in the land of flip phones, dial-up internet, and newspapers. It is a distant dream that I can only relive by watching 90s’ television.
Denying Our Inner Introvert
When you give in because the idea of a couple drinks can’t hurt, but into your second drink you are soon haunted by the realization that maybe you should’ve stayed in that night. I noticed this happening to me personally over the summer. I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to go out, but did because of that sneaky FOMO. At the end of the night, lying in bed, I’d have regrets and would write myself personal notes to not deny my inner introvert again. But it has been a vicious cycle.
I think we all have this fear of missing out on a serendipitous moment. We hope that something extraordinary will happen. Maybe we’ll meet someone new or that we’ll have more stories to tell in the future because we really “lived in the moment”. Most of the time that isn’t the case for me because I’m left with hazy memories of spending too much time at a bar and more often than not regretting drinking too much. The visions in our head are usually better than what plays out in real life. This isn’t something to be sad about, just something to ponder and to use for your benefit. Just remember that whatever you think is happening without you, probably isn’t happening at all. We are telling ourselves false stories that only distract us from enjoying ourselves. The best thing to do is to follow your intuition. It’ll keep you on your path.
The Good News: No One actually Cares
No one cares that you’re not going out on the weeknights or weekends. No one is pondering about what you’re up to or wondering where you are. People are only seeing what everyone else is updating on social media. To be blunt- no one gives a shit. You’re probably thinking how is this good news? It takes off the pressure of having to be this perfect, do-it-all person. This realization has helped me the most in dealing with FOMO.
At the end of the day we are all in it for ourselves. Everyone is just doing whatever makes them happy, so why can’t you? If you’re spending your Friday night drinking wine with your cat and absolutely love it, then do that. If you want to spend your weekend working on you and your endeavors then treat yourself, girl. You are a good person and you do not need to spend every waking moment of your life pleasing others.
the honest, yet relieving truth
We will never be able to overcome FOMO. Why is this a relief? Because it is a catalyst for us to love better, achieve greater, and to live more. It is a part of being human- our yearning to be a bigger part of the world.
In order to work with FOMO we have to understand what is triggering us. Instead of spending time worrying about other people, we could see this fear for what is really is- an alarm. We can use it to steer us in the right direction. The direction to the destination that we know, deep down, will make us happy. You are valuable and so is your time. Do what makes you happy.
Artwork by Roy Lichtenstein