I would love to say that I have never experience the Fear of Missing out (F.O.M.O), I would like to smile and shrug it off as something that happens to other people, but has never happened to me, but I would be telling a bold-faced lie if I did.
For those of you who don’t know, or who have had the luxury of never experiencing it, F.O.M.O is actually defined as a social anxiety stemmed from the belief that others might be having fun while the person (me or you) experiencing the anxiety is not present.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others” – Brene Brown
For those of you who have F.O.M.O or are ‘recovering’ from F.O.M.O you understand the empty feeling associated with this social anxiety. For me when I knew everyone was doing something I wasn’t, I used to get this sick ache, a feeling that was deep and nagging because I wanted to be there too. I wanted to be able to swap stories, laugh at the same jokes, get the numbers and the girls that went along with them.
My F.O.M.O became toxic and resulted in me saying yes to things I didn’t even want to do just for the temporary satisfaction, and the sense of belonging. I was over committing to the point, that I was double and triple booking social gatherings, resulting in needing to be everywhere with everyone all at the same, and the guilt associated with “letting others down” became ever so present. It was wreaking havoc not only on my body, but also my mind.
I realize after many sessions with my therapist that my F.O.M.O was one of the things that heightened my anxiety and her recommendation was to journal my feelings in the moment then go for a walk and I can honestly say it began to work over time and the fear of missing out was no longer a fear and I wasn’t missing out on anything at all.
Maybe you are wondering how I continue to deal with moments of F.O.M.O and for me prayer and steady bible reading has helped shift my focus from others and myself onto something that is bigger than me.
Healing from your F.O.M.O will look different for everyone, because we all come from many walks of life and have difference experiences, so talk to your friends about it, talk to your therapist if you have one, and if you don’t, there are many resources out there to help find the one that is best for you and trust me when I say you won’t regret your decision.
I suggest making the word ‘no’ a powerful part of your vocabulary and understand that you should never feel the need to explain your ‘no’. Dig deep for the power that is inside you to regain control of your life and do the things you want to do because YOU enjoy it, period.