By Chris Boron
There’s something to be said about the feeling of being included. Whether it’s taking a small role in a large fundraising event, going on a beach vacation with the family, or getting the inside scoop during a conversation at the water cooler, we all want to be a part of something.
In essence, we all suffer in some degree with a classic case of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.
But why? Why do we feel the need to be a part of everything? What’s the reasoning behind a fear of missing out? And what can we do to experience freedom, rather than a fear of being out of the loop?
Don’t think you struggle with FOMO? (You might be in denial.)
Are you a chronic “I’ll let you know” or “That’s too far in advance for me to think about” type of person when asked if you want to make plans together? You, my friend, suffer from FOMO. You like to keep your options open in the event something better will come along, and you don’t want to make the commitment for fear of missing out on something more fun. #admitthetruth
Do you get anxious, even self-conscious, if a quiet conversation is happening nearby? Do you strain your hearing just to see if you can grasp the subject of what is being discussed? Do the whispers derail your rational thinking into believing the hush-hush interaction is actually about you? Yup: FOMO.
Is your calendar booked solid? Do you struggle with saying “no,” therefore committing to everything? Do you try to fit every possible event in your schedule? Once again: FOMO.
According to an article on the Psychology Today website, “FOMO frequently provokes feelings of anxiety and restlessness, often generated by competitive thoughts that others are experiencing more pleasure, success, or fulfillment in their lives than they are.”
Yikes! (Unfortunately, our non-stop social media usage doesn’t help.)
The article goes on to explain, “Unless the underlying concerns that drive this desire to compulsively accumulate as many experiences as possible is identified and addressed, FOMO behavior will continue to prevail and diminish the overall quality of well-being, and fulfillment in one’s relationships and life in general.”
Uh …not cool.
But guys, I’ve found the solution to overcoming FOMO. While its concept isn’t new (I’ll be honest, I totally thought I created it until I googled it just to double check), it’s currently being utilized by yours truly, and the findings are coming back positive:
JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out, is sort of game-changing. There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes along with the idea of just letting go of the need to know EVERYTHING, and honestly, that’s really what it breaks down to.
But it’s more than just being okay with not knowing or being included in everything. There’s true joy in being confident enough in yourself to say, “Nah. I’m good!”
Don’t get me wrong. Initially, it kind of sucks and takes some muscle to erase the fear (hurt, bitterness, curiosity, etc.). But as they say, peace is on the other side of fear, and it’s a joyous feeling! There’s so much pleasure to be had when you can release the anxieties of thinking you’re not good enough or that you’ll miss out on memories people will talk about later on down the road.
Are you ready to experience JOMO?
Start with baby steps: Resist the urge to stick your head in on conversations you weren’t initially a part of. Or try disconnecting for 2 full hours by turning off your phone and leaving it in another room. Maybe even (politely) decline the invite for a Friday night out on the town that you know would be a blast and instead, plan on enjoying some relaxing downtime at home.
With practice, the realization of having that freedom will make the process easier as you continue searching for the joy of intentionally missing out on things and appreciating solitude. Enjoy the peace!