Many experts believe that the Fear of Missing Out is a fairly new problem we face as a society today. It reared it’s ugly head back in the early 2000’s when social media became popular. We also have the ability to have knowledge at our fingertips 24/7. A.K.A. the cell phone.
Some people try to get free of FOMO by taking a break from Facebook. Some will disable their email and messenger alerts.
Others will change their fancy cell phone with all the bells and whistles and go back to a flip phone. Wow! Do they still have those things? These are all great strategies.
I mentioned in my last letter that there are many good tools to help with FOMO. Mindfulness & meditation can help tremendously with the anxiety and stress that this condition causes.
However, we can treat the symptoms but if we don’t get the root of the problem the issue will continue to persist. We can run but we can’t hide. :)
What is the deeper issue you ask? In my opinion it is the human condition. I don’t believe that FOMO is a new thing. It just has a new name and a more dramatic exterior. I admit, it is definitely a bigger problem now and it’s reeking a lot more havoc in our lives.
Take a few minutes to ponder this perspective. What if we were able to take what the experts believe is causing FOMO (our digital habits) out of the picture completely? Would our fear of missing out disappear?
I may be way off, but I don’t think it would. Why? Because I believe we all have a need to be in the know, a need to be seen, a need to be liked, a need to belong and a need to be loved for who we are in our imperfect, messy lives. Some have a higher level of need than others, but we all have that need. It is our human nature.
When that need becomes out of balance our shadow side will take over. Now we have a need (I.E. to be in the know) that is out of control. When that need is upside down it triggers our deepest fears and limiting beliefs. They sound like this, “I will never be as happy as so and so. I will never succeed in life. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not wanted. I don’t belong. I am damaged goods… and the list goes on.
When these fears and limiting beliefs get triggered all hell breaks loose. We see other people through this filter of comparison and it causes us to honestly believe that everyone else (on social media or otherwise) has their $%#@ together except for us.
The big green eyed monster called envy enters in and takes center stage. We want what others say they have. We want what we perceive to be their happiness, and their adventures; their "perfect" family and house with the white picket fence. We want to be as smart as they are and want to succeed in our careers as much as they have.
We think if we change who we are, change what we do, how we look, gain more knowledge and become smarter, we will finally “arrive." We will become like them and acquire their lovely, perfect life.
What happens when we keep trying to be like someone else? We loose our unique, authentic, beautiful selves! When that happens we begin to spiral downward. Discontentment, stress and anxiety begins to settle in and make themselves at home. We can’t tolerate this feeling, so we keep scrolling and keep clicking and the cycle continues.
Next time we will talk about some ways we can begin to break this cycle. I would love to hear your thoughts and your experience with this topic. Please feel free to join the conversation by posting your comment below.
Do you want help with the stress and anxiety FOMO causes? Do you want to discover how to break free? Give me a call or schedule online by clicking the button below for a FREE 40 minute get to know you coaching session.