I admit to falling victim to the Fear of Missing Out. It is part of the reason I have developed a compulsion for checking social media multiple times each day. I don’t know if FOMO has always been a thing, but it seems to be more pronounced now that the ability to see everything we don’t have and the events we did not get invited to is right at our fingertips. I know I am not the only one who struggles with FOMO.
“How many times have you opened Facebook or Instagram only to catch a glimpse of an event you didn’t know was happening in your town and that you weren’t invited to? Or that a friend was in the area and didn’t ever reach out to you? How many times have we translated those images into the assumption that it was done on purpose? That the failure to connect or invite or include was because we were somehow found lacking? How often have we jumped from a photograph to a full-page story in our own heads that stars us as the excluded victim?” –Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
The less I am on social media, the more positive I feel about myself and my relationships. I am not constantly comparing myself and my life to what I see on the screen. If I don’t see others hanging out without me then I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with me that I didn’t get invited. I know that it’s perfectly normal that people I know will do fun things without me. I, obviously, don’t invite all of my friends to every gathering or activity of mine. That is normal and healthy. But sometimes my insecurity tries to make it personal and get me to believe that I was not invited because I am lacking in some way.
I am interested to see how I feel about my life and my relationships during this social media fast. This past summer my husband and I went on a trip together and I did not check social media often because we were too busy enjoying our time together and the place we were visiting. Perhaps part of my problem is not being in the moment and enjoying what is in front of me. Maybe I have forgotten how to be bored and find better ways of utilizing my time.
I am hoping that the fast will help me to become wiser in how I use social media. There are some good purposes of social media and I would like to be mindful when I use it and how I use it. I do not want it to be an automatic reflex but a thoughtful action. Perhaps, at the same time, I can become better at dealing with FOMO and the negative emotions it elicits.
Alli Worthington, in her book Fierce Faith, gives a six-step action plan to combat FOMO. First, ask yourself good questions such as whether you’re feeling jealous, whether you really want to be at the thing that’s giving you FOMO, and whether it’s really important right now. Second, name what emotions are causing the FOMO. Third, turn FOMO into JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) – enjoy where you are or who you’re with instead. Fourth, do something you love immediately to give you a pick-me-up (take a walk, read a book, listen to music). Fifth, reframe your thoughts – notice the negative thoughts playing in your head and speaking the truth to them. Finally, stay focused on Jesus to remember you are loved, accepted, and blessed.
Do you struggle with FOMO? How do you deal with the emotions it elicits?