The Answer to FOMO
By now, we all know that social media is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand you no longer have to get roped into hour long conversations with distant family members when you simply want to say “happy birthday,” but on the other hand every time you hit “refresh” there’s a new photo of that one kid you kind of knew in college backpacking in Europe…again. The little sting of jealousy you get—that’s called FOMO.
FOMO, or fear of missing out, happens increasingly as you’re able to see the accomplishments, travels, and everything else you wish you were doing show up basically in real time. While you’re bored and scrolling through social media, another great thing has happened to someone who isn’t you. It’s annoying; it’s discouraging; it’s ridiculous. This social media induced jealousy can happen over even the smallest things, but here’s the simple cure:
No, I don’t mean that you should resort to sarcasm and passive aggressively comment “Good for you” on every one of Serial Backpacker’s mountain-view shots. I mean genuinely say it out loud: Good for them. They’re enjoying their life!
Serial Backpacker has embarked on an admirable journey. They’re enjoying something you think you can’t have for yourself. After all, if you were traipsing about Europe or wherever, wouldn’t you want to share every possible moment with your friends? It’s not necessarily Serial Backpacker’s fault that their current path is so different from yours. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never have an adventure of your own.
The problem of FOMO is that it’s usually the result of not getting to see the full picture. Sure, Serial Backpacker has some amazing alpine photos complete with fantastic captions, but that probably doesn’t include the actual struggle it’s taken them to get where they are now. Think of your last post. Did you doctor the phraseology of what happened, apply a filter, or stand in a ridiculous pose to make sure your shot turned out perfectly? Most people have. It’s rare for social media to show the full story.
So shake off that “fomo.” You’re probably just on that boring part of your story. And if you’re thinking, “my entire life is the boring part!” change something. Look up the store that you’ve been afraid to contact and see if they’ll carry your items, rearrange your work schedule (or after work schedule!) so you have time to work on that site, shop, or other phantom side project you’ve been telling yourself you couldn’t do.
In the meantime, [bctt tweet=”when you see the highlights of someone else’s journey, don’t belittle the current point of yours.”] Offer a hearty “Good for you,” and eventually you’ll actually mean it.