Technology brought to us many good things which we embrace and appreciate everyday. Above all, the discovery of the Internet has improved the communication area a great deal. The so huge and massive world has been reduced to a small community where people can interact and socialize freely through chat rooms and teleconference. People keep in touch 24/7 like neighbours living next door despite the distances they are separated apart. With all those good things, there emerged a social anxiety called Fear Of Missing Out, abbreviated as FOMO.
Many people have heard of the term FOMO but only a few of us really know what it means. Have you ever found yourself always waiting for the phone to ring so that you can pick it and talk to friends? Have you ever found yourself postponing certain tasks just to attend parties that you had no plan for? Do you always check on your WhatsApp or Facebook notifications constantly hoping that your friends have texted you and fearing that a minute spent without being asked out is like there is something you are missing? Well, many of us have encountered such situations and we keep undergoing these “challenges” everyday, like our lives are defined by our friends.
Wikipedia defines FOMO and says;
Is a social anxiety characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”. FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interactionWIKIPEDIA
FOMO is mostly attributed to the influence of social media because people have constant access to what their friends and peers are doing. Many people in social platforms are showing off their huge achievement of success and living expensively and many of us end up desiring living that kind of life without even considering that it might be a false presentation. We all know what goes on in social media so no question about that. The fear of you missing what others are doing is what keeps many of us following on updates on celebrity’s lives and desiring to live more like them.
During my heydays, way back before I became a popular person in high school I was just a normal kid who had only one purpose, study and get an A by the end of the four year course. Along the way I met this other lifestyle which many of my colleagues used to like, living like ‘celebrities’ and be popular. The kind of lifestyle was always associated with kids who grew from urban areas because they seem to be “cultured” by how they adopted the western lifestyle. I kind of liked that lifestyle myself, I did not want to miss out especially when I had a great taste of hip hop music and a big fan of films. The thing was I left town years ago so I was just like a boy who was raised up in the rural. So I found a way in to be part of the famous group and all I did was to sneak in a Travis Scott track to the school, popular then which was called Antidote.
Many times I found myself in a group discussing upcoming and new things like music(hip hop especially), films, the western culture, famous celebrities and I did not want to be left behind so every time i made sure i was up to date with everything and somehow steal the spotlight. Yeah, it was wearing me out but I had no choice or else I would be left behind. This really affected my studies a big deal. I was like a slave of something that i did not understand. I had a choice of living my own life but I was naive by then. It was not only during my final year that I decided enough is enough and it was time to get my life together and focus on what brought me to school. I had national exams by the end of the year so that really made me to wake up and do something. But it was not that easy to fight whatever that was and move on.
Fear Of Missing Out can seem to be something to ignore and irrelevant but I know of many people suffering the same problems but they cannot get out. FOMO is not all about social media entirely but also in real life, mine for example. I could not afford missing late night parties even if it meant sneaking out of school. I could do anything just to be at per with my friends. What FOMO denies you is a perfect life which you can afford to live. It blinds you not appreciate the life you have but have that unending desire to live like others, be in touch with others and be everywhere which is almost impossible.
Dealing with FOMO is quite easy if you want to be done with it and there are many ways to cope with your situation. As i always say, there is no method or formula to deal with your own demons. I overcame the fear that was within me and how i did it might help or not help you. I will not share how i did it now, maybe later, but the thing you need to understand is it is possible to get out of that circle and be more of yourself than what others define you. There is an article by Sosa Sharon Dealing With Your FOMO (The Fear Of Missing Out) which i think should get you started if you are really struggling. Also Dr Perry answers the question Is FOMO Ruining Your Life? which i find the context really phenomenal. You can take a look at those sites they might be of great help.
As i conclude, all i can say is it is okay not to be okay. Do not interpret this statement to any negative conclusions. All i mean is your life can be disgusting or not as you want it to be but it is okay not to have that good life you want. Spending much of your energy trying to live that life you admire won’t solve the problem, only making it worse. Why not try and be positive? Work on something that will eventually get you to wherever you want but not trying to be someone else. Be yourself and everything will turn out just fine. Like i said on my first article, patience is all we need.