It’s a good thing you weren’t in my head this past week. Ugh, it’s been exhausting. Picture a tennis match with a ball of decisive decision making being whacked back and forth. You see, this path of forward motion I’m on is really a play-by-play thing. No one’s handed me a book like “Improving Your Life for Dummies”. This week’s universal assignment was all about deciding what old and familiar parts of my world I want to carry forward, while also embracing new ways of being that encourage growth.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about shedding core beliefs that weren’t working for me anymore. That was huge. But can I let you in on a little secret? Even with my deepest belief system getting a reboot, there’s been one liiiiiiitle pesky thing hanging around. Good ole’ FOMO, otherwise known as Fear Of Missing Out. I know so many of you can relate, cause that shit is just seeping out of our pores every time we log into social media. The FOMO is alive and well, and every time we fall trap to it’s illusion, a little part of our spirit dims a bit more.
If you know me at all, you know I’m a live music fanatic. Truly, nothing can touch the magic and energy from a live music experience. Especially when you’re spoiled like me, and Red Rocks Amphitheater is practically in your backyard. This past weekend I wrestled with deciding how to spend my precious time. Weeks ago, I scribbled down in my planner that Bonobo and Lettuce were playing back to back nights at Red Rocks. As the time grew closer, I felt myself want to pull back. I started down the dark hole of lack mindset, I need to save money, I need to save energy. I need to be doing other, more productive things. I crossed both events off my planner and thought that was the end of it. But then the social media promotion for these events started bombarding me, as well as texts from friends asking if I was going to be in attendance. I could feel the FOMO start to bubble up. Something like..this is going to be the best show of the summer! I’m going to hear all about what a crazy fun night that was, and I wasn’t there…and it goes on. Because, as you probably know, whatever we’re missing out on automatically turns into THE most necessary thing to be at, like how could we even go on living if we missed this thing?! Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but our minds sure are good at playing this game. Just think about it. You’ve probably felt FOMO about many, many things. We think this is a once-in-a-lifetime event..until the next thing comes around. It’s a never ending cycle of believing that what you’re doing (instead of the thing you wish you were) doesn’t have as much value. And that can get dwindled down to the belief that you don’t have as much value.
Maybe you experience FOMO in a slower, more subtle fashion. Perhaps you feel those pangs of jealousy when you see others living out what appears to be a perfectly put together life on social media. And then we fall into the trap of comparison, in which we never come out on top. How are we ever supposed to love ourselves and focus on creating our most aligned life if we’re constantly focused on what everyone else is up to? It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with depression and anxiety.
How do we break the FOMO cycle? I’ve got a couple ideas. First, taking a nod from Danielle Laporte, focus on your core desired feelings. Create your schedule around activities that feed into how you want to feel, rather than what you “should” be doing. Part of my struggle this past weekend was feeling the tug between wanting to dive into my live music loving ways, while also feeling pulled into acting like more of an adult. I found freedom in letting go of ideas of how I thought I should be acting, and focused instead on how I wanted to feel at the end of the weekend. I decided I wanted to feel balanced, fulfilled, playful, and focused. Following those core feelings, I landed on attending one Red Rocks show, and found that decision to be the perfect balance. It’s all about letting go of the all or nothing, black or white perspective, and embracing the grey area. This feels a little silly to write, like no shit. But this is something I really struggled with this past weekend, and in speaking with some of my friends recently, I know I’m not alone.
Another way to fight the FOMO is to focus on the end goal of what you’re busy with. If work or other less glamorous commitments are getting in the way of what you’d rather be doing, remember what this activity is bringing to you. Is it financial resources to save up for something cool? Is it a piece of the puzzle that keeps you healthy, independent, moving forward? Shifting your perspective to what you’re receiving, rather than missing, can foster a sense of appreciation for even the most mundane tasks.
Finally, creating a mindfulness practice helps snap you out of the wanting for what you don’t have, and appreciating what you do. If we’re sucked into scrolling social media, feeling the FOMO, we’re letting life pass us by. We’re so caught up in other people’s stuff, that we’re missing opportunities to better our own. By placing our awareness on whatever task is at hand (washing dishes, taking a shower, walking, eating, etc), we come back to ourselves. It is from this awakened space that our gratitude grows. We notice all the little things that make life beautiful that we tend to miss when our mind is somewhere else.
Really, truly, FOMO is an illusion of the mind. We will never feel fulfilled if we’re chasing the next best thing. Awaken from the illusion and remember every moment is a new opportunity to to embrace our unique path, and to create a life that honors all pieces that make us whole.