Also known as F.O.M.O., the fear of missing out is a form of scarcity thinking. People see, what they believe, are exciting and worthwhile things happening around them, yet they are not part of it....
fun activities and experiences…
investments… and so on.
These things seem so much more valuable, when seen through the eyes of a person not content with their own life, which in turn can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression... it can also lead to reactive-spending.
As social media allows us to take a peek into the lives of others on a bigger scale, for many, it also amps up feelings such as envy, regret…and even inferiority. Believing they are not on par with their peers financially can be a blow to a person’s self-esteem.
I mean, it’s one thing to see a neighbour buying a new car or going on a great trip…but when a person is bombarded with the “edited version” of the lives of many, many other people on a daily basis, who seem to have “more” or “better”….. it’s easy to see how it can have a negative effect. People may start to feel like they are lagging behind and missing out on so many wonderful things in life.
What we see on social media is usually an edited version of life, a sliver of the big picture. We don’t often see what’s happening on the back end…for example…if someone buys a new house…we don’t usually hear about the journey….how long it took them to save for it, or the sacrifices they may have had to make along the way.
On the other hand, there are people who show all the wonderful things they are buying and experiences they are having…yet they don’t share how they went up to their arse in debt to get and do this stuff.
There are many ways F.OM.O. manifests and it’s not only the emotional/mental impact of it as anxiety increases, but there’s also the financial impact of it. Yes, social media is one source to feed the fear of missing out, but advertising and marketing also feed it and use it to manipulate the buying decisions of consumers. By increasing the sense of urgency and scarcity, marketing is used to push consumers to make quick, impulse decisions.
The need to “keep up with the Jones”, or any of their social media “friends” and be an “insider” is one thing, but it can get worse as people act on those feelings and do something about it, like spending money they don’t have… and filling the gap with credit.
It is possible to overcome F.O.M.O. rather than jumping on the reactive-spending bandwagon. If the fear of missing out is having a negative effect on you, here are a few tips to curb those feelings.
Evaluate the source of your F.O.M.O.
When you understand what’s causing the feelings of missing out, it gives you an opportunity to take action and do something about it. For example, you may not be able to afford to buy a new home, but even if you are renting, you can add a few personal touches to make your current residence warm and inviting to you.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
If comparing yourself to others makes you feel like you aren’t good enough or don’t measure up…stop it. The only thing you should be comparing you and your journey to, is you and your journey. Using other people’s success as a meter for your own is setting yourself up for disappointment. Chances are, you will always find someone who has more or better than you.
Discover your core values and what’s important to you.
Spend more of your time, energy, and money on the things you truly care about and enjoy. When you do this, there's less reason to compare your life to that of someone else. It’s OK to say “no” to the things that aren’t important to you.
Appreciate your own life & express gratitude for what you have.
Being able to appreciate what you have in your life right now and be grateful for it doesn’t mean you can’t have hopes and dreams for the future. But it does mean you can find value in your life now, instead of losing sight of the present in hopes of what the future may look like. It also lessens the need to fill your life (and home) with things you don't really need or enjoy.
Spend time with people who share the same values as you.
Avoid spending time with people who make you feel bad about yourself. It won’t always be easy, but make an effort to spend time with people who are supportive and share the same values as you.
Take a break from social media.
What you see on social media is not 100% factual, you are only seeing what people want you to see. If checking out the filtered lives of others leaves you feeling depressed or like you don’t measure up….take a break. Spend less time checking out other people's posts and more time doing things that make you feel good about yourself and your life.
Be open to new opportunities.
Chances are there will always be a “missed opportunity” of some sort in your life but instead of feeling bad about it, and regretting it, understand that other opportunities will come your way. They may not be exactly the same, but there’s always the possibility they will be better.
Look for the silver lining in a missed opportunity.
For example: Maybe your financial situation didn’t allow for you to take a weekend away with friends. Instead, you could take a lovely day trip and catch up on some home projects, you’ve been putting off.
Think, before making financial commitments
Take time to think about your purchases before you dish out your money. Do you really need it? How will it benefit you? Know your spending limits. If you use credit to make purchases, pay off the balance each month to avoid paying interest, if you can’t pay off the balance, create a repayment plan to pay it off as soon as possible.
If you need help, ask for it.
Dealing with the negative feelings associated with F.O.M.O. may not be easy. If these feelings are severe and you are unable to resolve them on your own and move forward… seek professional help.
Conquering the “fear of missing out” will not happen overnight, but by taking little steps you can loosen its grip and make it easier to feel OK about not having all the things and experiences your peers may have.
Embrace the joy of missing out.
Allow yourself to be present and in the moment, enjoying the things that make you happy, and what you have in your life right now.
Until next time…
Have a fantabulous day and always let your awesomeness shine!
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