FOMO: fear of missing out. When you get anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere without you. We have all been there. It started for me when I was in high school and I would get invited to a party or got invited to hangout with my friends, and even if I didn't have the energy to go, I went anyways because I was so scared of missing out! Add on to the whole ordeal that the word "no" just wasn't in my vocabulary and you have a recipe for disaster. Looking back, I was very insecure. Not in a "I hate myself" kind of way, I was actually very confident, but more so in a "I'm not sure who I am or where I belong" type of way, which is normal at that age or any age for that matter. We all go through it, sometimes more than once. Because of this I hungout with many different people in different friend groups to try and figure out who I was and what I liked. I wasn’t the same with each person and a lot of the time I didn't really feel like I fit in. So I’d always try to make up for it by NEVER disappointing, or letting someone down. I’d constantly say yes to doing things even when I wasn’t fully comfortable with it and would have severe FOMO if I had to say no! As I got older, I understood the power of no and also realized that by trusting my gut and noticing who I felt most natural and comfortable around ended up being who my closest friends were. It allowed me to push out the bullshit people and unnecessary things. It's a tricky thing to balance and understand in our life these days with Instagram and Facebook, with everyone showing off the highlight reels of their life. It can be so tempting to do all the things we see other people showing off and raving about without even checking in to see if we care about it at all. It turns into the weird subconscious thoughts we keep in mind. I started to forget about the beauty of the simple things in life and being connected with how I felt about things in the moment, which is why I started writing about this subject. I noticed the shift in my behavior again in certain situations because of social media and how I felt like I was in this constant FOMO cycle, burning myself out again with things that didn't really even add to my life just because I felt like I needed to keep up with everyone.
So here is how I started to keep myself in check. I asked myself: when you get invited to do something, what is your initial reaction? Do you want to go because you heard it’s supposed to be "cool?" Meaning, are you only thinking of going and have FOMO because you think other people would wish they could and envy you for it? OR are you going because you truly want to and think it will be something that will bring you joy or add to your life? Make sure you know how to define the two, because you can’t burn yourself out saying yes to everything that gets offered to you when deep down you don’t really give a shit about it. For example, I travel A LOT but I hate doing touristy stuff. I know there’s so much history behind some of those touristy things and people come from all over to witness them and it’s a must for most, but for me it’s not always on the top of my list. I would rather enjoy the city through coffee shops and runs, or making new friends and read about the history online. So if and when I do go do a touristy activity even though I'm personally not a fan, it's with people I love because they expressed it’s important to them, but I definitely don’t go just so I can say that I went. That’s so dumb and a waste of your time! That goes for anything. Even parties. Do you want to be there? Should you stay home and study? Are the people going your close friends or your party friends? Take notes. Write down the pros and cons. If someone invites you somewhere and your first reaction is "omg yes that would be so fun I need this," then don't overthink it, but if you see a post or someone tells you about an event and you're sitting there like, "everyone is going to have so much fun without me if I don't go, but ughhhh 'Im so tired and I just want to hangout with my cat and drink a glass of wine" ......THEN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stay home!!!! Nothing will happen if you don't go to the party. Your friends can have fun without you.
I believe a huge part of controlling your FOMO also comes down to your "why?" Why do you hangout with those people, why are you doing certain things everyday, WHY do you go to those parties? Why are you so worried about not being there? Once I ask myself those questions I can monitor how important each thing and person is in my life. There are some people that I just hangout with because I like to dance and party with them but I don't have any meaningful connection with, and honestly that's fine as long as I can acknowledge the relationship for what it is because then if I'm burnt out and someone from that friend group invites me to a fun party or trip I will know that I shouldn't go. It won't add anything good for my life because when I'm burnt out, what I should be doing is spending time with myself or with people that build me up on a mental and emotional level.
Understanding your "whys'" and getting control of your FOMO then turns into being able to stay focused on your goals.There will be times when you get offered to do certain things that yes, may bring you joy in that moment, but it might also distract you from the bigger picture that you have been working so hard to achieve. So in that case, doesn't matter who it is, you will have to turn them down at some point and choose not to do something that may bring you temporary joy in order to stay focused and continue to put your energy into what you're working towards. Because you and I both know, the temporary thing will not be as sweet as it will be when you achieve that big thing.
I guess to sum it all up, my point in all of this is to really tune into what makes you happy and what matters to you most. WHATEVER IT IS, keep it close to your heart and make sure you don't do anything in life because you think you should, you're scared to disappoint, or you just want to show off about it. Choose where you put your energy carefully then the FOMO won't control you since you're truly spending your time doing what you love and what matters to you. Telling your friends, posting on social media, writing about it comes second. It's so easy to get caught up in all the bullshit. So don't give into the FOMO and I guarantee no matter how much your friends give you shit, nobody really cares if you don't go to the party.
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