Do you suffer with FOMO or FOBY?
In the social media driven world we live in today Fear Of Missing Out is a very real thing. Perhaps it’s Friday night, you’re curled up on the sofa with take out, a good movie and you’re happy. Then you pick up your phone and scroll through social media and see people you know posting selfies at parties or dinners. You were perfectly content with your Friday night but now there is this feeling in your stomach. That Fear Of Missing Out. Insecurity sets in and your inner voice starts telling you that you should be out having fun, that only boring people stay in. You’re not good enough, you’re inferior. Everyone else is out having a good time and you should be there too.
Maybe you’re the person that’s at a party talking with a friend, but your eyes are constantly scanning the room, your ears are eavesdropping on three other conversations because you don’t want to miss something.
Or you attend a retreat, or a resort and you have to attend every event, every talk, be seen every night at the bar, just in case you miss something.
I used to feel FOMO frequently and would attend parties and events I didn’t really have any interest in, purely because I didn’t want to miss out or be seen as missing out.
As I studied and started practicing mindfulness, I began to understand that FOMO was actually FOBY.
Fear Of Being Yourself. When you are comfortable of who you are, you accept yourself, know your values and beliefs, know what makes you happy then FOMO ceases to exist. You can scroll through social media and enjoy seeing what other people are up to, confidently knowing that you are perfectly happy to be sitting on your couch watching your movie. You can give people your full attention, unconcerned about what is going around you. You can stay in when everyone is going out. The result? Better connections, contentment and happiness.
FOMO has much to do with perception. The need to show people that we are leading, wonderful, fabulous lives. However, living a happy, abundant life looks different for everyone. For one person, this might be, hitting the “in” bar every night after work, being seen at fancy restaurants, or on various beaches around the world. But for another person, a happy, abundant life is rushing home to share dinner with family or settling down with a good book in the late evening sun, alone. When we truly understand what makes us happy and we feel content and comfortable with who we are and what we like to do, then we stop comparing ourselves with others. We stop worrying what other people think, stop living in Fear Of Being Yourself.
As we approach the holiday season, we are surrounding by images of the perfect Christmas, not just on social media, but in magazines, on TV and in movies. I personally do not have a large family and we have never had the big family Christmas. For a long time, I felt I was missing out. It seemed to me that everyone else was having this perfect Christmas with huge family gatherings, unlimited food, mountains of presents under the tree. Perception. FOMO. The holidays can be stressful enough without experiencing FOMO. Stop being in FOBY, Fear Of Being Yourself.
As I came to understand through Mindfulness, it does not matter what your holiday season may look like. It’s about being happy and content. Instead of trying to keep up with everyone else, every party, every event, every conversation, focus on the ones that matter, with the people that matter. This means learning to say NO and learning to say YES. It might even mean disappointing some people. But understand that it’s ok to be yourself, it’s ok to speak up and say when you don’t want to do something or go somewhere. It’s ok to have different needs to your friends, colleagues and family. It’s time to stop punishing yourself with FOMO and FOBY, instead try being happy about missing out and being yourself, being true to who you are.
So, take a look at your life and decide just how much FOMO or FOBY is impacting it and whether it’s time to make a change. Never feel guilty about doing what makes you happy. Do not let the pressure of media change who you are.
FOMO can alsobe confused with Envy. If that is the feeling you have then it is a sign you need to make some changes. If you are envious, then you are not happy, which brings us back to FOBY. Take the steps to make a change to be the person you want to be.
FOMO and FOBY can take a lot of our energy, divert our attention, and spoil the moment, especially around the holiday season. Make a choice to recognize if and when the feelings of FOMO and FOBY appear and don’t let them ruin your moment. Instead make the decision to change whatever needs to change to stop feeling FOMO or FOBY ever again.