What is FOMO? For those of you that are new to this trendy term, FOMO is the abbreviation for “Fear Of Missing Out”. While the acronym is self-explanatory, FOMO is the apprehension that you aren’t making the right choices and/or that others are having a better experience in life compared to yours. FOMO can be applied to a whole spectrum of topics whether it be regarding your lifestyle, career, education, finance or even something as little as your taste in music.
Feeling left out or the concern of missing out is something we have all experienced since we were young. Going to Mary’s 8th birthday party because the popular kids are invited, not joining the school band because it’s considered nerdy, furnishing your room all white because online influencers are doing it or going to Coachella because it’s the “cool” thing to do; all are signs of FOMO.
Why do we have it?
While the notion of FOMO goes way back in time and quite the natural part of the human psyche, the awareness of it is stronger than ever thanks to Social Media. Aside from all the great benefits Social Media has to offer, FOMO could be considered the ‘dark side’, if you let it control you.
We have the world at our fingertips whether it be through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, the list goes on. We know what everyone is up to from family and friends to celebrities and favorite athletes. It’s great to have immediate access to the world, news and the people you love but how often do you see something on your feed that makes you feel insufficient, jealous or worse, question yourself?
Why should we be aware of it?
The hidden danger of FOMO is that we start second guessing our decisions, lifestyle and our own self worth due to the fear of social exclusion. We let that fear guide our decisions, which ultimately makes us value what we think others value, not what we actually value.
Another significant downside to FOMO is the irony of the desperation to stay connected to the world by interrupting what we are already doing in that moment. Refreshing your Instagram feed during work, checking your Twitter during a date, texting while driving; we’re trying to connect by….disconnecting? Why? Because we feel like there could be something better going on in the world that we aren’t a part of and we don’t want to be left out.
What should we do about it?
Social Media makes you want to be everywhere with everyone all the time. Truth is, we cannot possibly experience every exciting thing that is happening in this world. As wonderful as it sounds to be capable of being ubiquitous, we’re not.
Once you’ve accepted this reality, you’ll start to give your full attention to your own life and to yourself. You’ve been given this life to enjoy, to explore and to love. Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to share this with others but it’s also crucial to be in the moment and not spend your precious time letting yourself feel bad about what you may be missing out on or worrying about what others are doing, seeing or thinking. Sure, it’s not an easy fix but we know we can all stand to unplug once in a while especially when we’re in the presence of our friends and family. Don’t let your feed question your value, the company you keep and always remember to embrace your uniqueness after all, you’re a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.