It’s All About Perspective: Making The Jump From FOMO to JOMO
FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is easier to manage when you have a clear sense of what’s important to you– what aligns with your values, your priorities and your energy. In such an environment, you can achieve JOMO, or the Joy Of Missing Out, because you are truly where you want to be. There are, however, a couple of sneaky situations that can impede these foundational beliefs and constitutions. For instance, have you ever been romanced by the enthusiasm of someone you admire, thereby prejudicing your notion of what’s appropriate for you? How about when you become disappointed by what you believed was the best choice?
Where kids would tantrum, we adults manifest these frustrations in a less vocal, but more damaging manner, the most common of which is getting lost in our smartphones to divert attention. It’s a kind of numbing, which replaces throwing your whole self into an experience for the purpose of understanding it. Let’s take a closer look at the ways FOMO can be managed, and JOMO can be achieved.
You Call This Fun?
I once found myself at an engagement where the folks around me were having a fabulous time, while I was miserable and ticked off, especially at the person who invited me. He insisted this gathering would be FANTASTIC, but it turned out not to be my cup of tea. I was also mad at myself for having said “yes”. What was I thinking?! Or perhaps the question was, “why was I not thinking?”
Afterward, I recognized the error of my ways. I first had to admit that I didn’t want to let my enthusiastic friend down by saying “no”. Then there was the truth that FOMO got in the way of my clear thinking. My friend knows how to set a scene, sketch a picture, make raking leaves sound like fun. So naturally, when he describes something, I want IN! It’s only now that I realize how he does things that fulfill him. The trick is to understand what fulfills me, and grant it more power. Getting there means taking a breath, scanning my values, assessing my priorities, and gaining perspective before saying “yes”.
Love The One You’re With!
I derived an additional lesson from that party disaster: While I was there, I could have made the best of it by being present, instead of sulking, being judgmental, and likely being passive aggressive to my friend. Clearly, I was the reason I didn’t enjoy myself. Ever since that realization, I have decided to be where I am, be present with whom I’m with, and be curious about almost everything.
The unfortunate shame of FOMO is that when you’re engaging in one thing, and fearing what you’re missing out on elsewhere, you aren’t fully present in what you’re doing, and are likely missing out on something right in front of you. And when you‘re anxious, worried or downright fearful of missing out, your amygdala wiggles, and your prefrontal cortex can’t fully engage. Your cognitive skills become muted, reining in your creativity and engagement, rendering you unappreciative of what you’re involved with. You’re truly missing out on everything!
If you’re clear with yourself about what’s important to you, what lights youup, and what provides flow, satisfaction and joy, you won’t mind it as much when you miss an event. That could mean something as untragic as missing your niece play in a little league game, or something as permanent as missing the wedding of a dear friend due to a family celebration scheduled for the same day.
You may be disappointed to have not attended both simultaneous events, but you can take pride in recognizing that your decision is in alignment with your values towards family. And this begins with gratitude for the family you value. When you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll see the abundance and appreciate that you have almost everything you need!
Do You Have A Gratitude Practice?
To get started, simply write three gratitudes in a journal each morning– no duplications. Look wide and deep at your good fortune, from being a healthy person, to witnessing the first sign of buds on the trees, to your doggie greeting you every evening at the door, to the beautiful smile an elderly lady gave you when you opened a door for her, to your train being on time, to the garbage men picking up your trash every week!
When I began my gratitude practice decades ago, little did I know how healthy this was for my emotional, spiritual, mental and physical health! An added bonus is that with gratitude and curiosity, I’m representing a favorite aspiration: “Be a fountain, not a drain.”
Like most of life, FOMO is cyclical, and when it begins, you might be tempted to let the amygdala’s dark side win out (that negativity bias is such an ingrained trait!) FOMO’s best chance of luring you away from your place of joy is through digital connectivity. In my follow-up article, we’ll explore a). how social media can be so wonderful and so evil at the same time, b). how to find some balance, and c). how it may begin with a digital detox.
If you enjoy what you’re reading and are considering living life more fully, schedule a complimentary consultative session with DRIVEN HERE.