Episode 40: The FOMO Dilemma
Hey there! Welcome back. I hope you’re doing well! Today, we’re reflecting on FOMO and why chasing the next best thing may be making you miserable. So, to begin with, let me define FOMO. Now, as a GenXer, I didn’t even know what the heck this was for quite some time, but I eventually found out that it stands for Fear of Missing Out. It’s that nagging feeling that you’re being left out of something amazing, something that everyone else is experiencing. It’s the reason why you stay up until 3am scrolling through your social media feeds looking at “just one more post”. FOMO can make us feel like we’re not living our lives to the fullest, like we’re missing out on some of the fun and excitement that the world has to offer. However, the truth is that it is often based on unrealistic expectations and a distorted view of reality.
So, let’s talk a little bit about why we’re so prone to FOMO and also how it’s affecting our overall happiness and well-being. I also want to offer some ideas of how to break away from the FOMO cycle and learn to appreciate what you have instead of fixating on what you lack.
So, let’s start with an example. Have you ever bought the latest iPhone only to find out that the next version is coming out in a few months? I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me. Or have you ever landed a job that you really love only to start dreaming of an even better one a few months later? We have all been there, and it’s not an inherently bad thing to want to improve our lives. The issue is when this constant chase for something better starts affecting our self-worth and our ability to appreciate our current circumstances. It’s important to remember that we’re not defined by what we have or what we do. We’re defined by who we are as individuals. Our own self-worth shouldn’t be tied to the things we have, the careers we have, or even the relationships we have. We should be focused on accepting who we are while still striving for personal growth and development.
This constant discontent also affects our relationships. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our relationships to others’ and feeling like we’re missing out on something better. We see couples on social media going on extravagant vacations, buying all these expensive gifts, and gushing about their seemingly perfect lives together. But we forget that these images are just their highlight reel and aren’t a true representation of their relationship. We need to shift that focus and energy towards our own relationship and be aware of the love and support that we already have. We need to work on building strong and healthy relationships instead of seeking something that might not even exist. (Note: I am talking about mutually affectionate and respectful relationships here. I am not encouraging people to live with abusive, unhealthy, or unhappy situations. You deserve love, kindness, and joy! I am just suggesting you take a moment to take some time to consider your relationship without referencing others’.)
Let’s talk a little bit about self-awareness, the key to breaking free from this cycle of fear-based striving. When we increase our knowledge about ourselves, we’re better able to identify our thoughts and emotions and truly understand why we feel the way we do. We’re able to recognize when we’re seeking that external validation and work on building our sense of self-worth. Self-awareness also helps us to appreciate the successes we already have achieved in our lives. It’s easy, SO easy, to focus on what we haven’t done yet, but we should take time to reflect on the things that we have accomplished, no matter how small. It could be finishing a book, trying a new hobby, or just choosing to take a few moments to improve our mental health.
Another important aspect of being content is practicing gratitude. When we work at being grateful, we shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do, and suddenly the world becomes a much brighter place. We move from scarcity to abundance. We should take the time to appreciate the small things in life, like a good cup of coffee in the morning, a smile from a stranger, and the beauty of nature. Gratitude also helps us to complain less and do more, my favorite thing to say! Instead of fixating on the fact that something is not the way we want, we should focus on what we can do to make it better. We can’t always control what happens, but we can manage how we react to it.
So, how do we cultivate contentment and satisfaction in our own lives? Well, it starts with small steps every day. We build strong and sustainable self-worth, self-love, and self-knowledge. We should work on developing healthy habits and routines that bring us to our better selves like meditation, exercise, and spending time with people we love and who lift us up. Be intentional about your relationships, spend time with those individuals as opposed to those who bring us down. We should also be mindful of the messages we’re receiving on social media and curate our feeds to have content that inspires and uplifts us. It’s natural and healthy to want to improve our lives, but we should not let this consume us. We need to appreciate what we have, what we've done, and what we can do while still working towards personal growth. We have to practice gratitude and self-love, make sure we’re aware of our emotions and motives, and surround ourselves with positivity and kindness.
Thank you so much for reading today! I think one of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is simply thinking of one thing that went right during the day as you get into bed. It might have been the crappiest day you’ve ever had, but taking that minute makes all the difference. I am so grateful for all the support that I’ve received from everyone who is listening. Iit keeps me motivated to be here with you. Reach out if you’d like to via email at mmwpodcast.net. You can also find us on TikTok and Instagram at MakeMeWholePodcast. Remember: complain less and do more!