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Last Updated on May 13, 2020

How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out

How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out

You hear plenty about the fear of missing out these days. There are memes, posts, emails, and videos all talking about helping you deal with your FOMO.

In case you have not heard, FOMO was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. Yup, fear of missing out is so popular its acronym is now a word of its own.

As acceptable as the fear of missing out has become in modern society, do not forget it is still a fear. As such, it is important that you do not overlook the impact fears can have on your life.

What Causes the Fear of Missing Out?

Research finds a link between social media and the fear of missing out.

People have always been interested in what others are doing, but social media has only exacerbated the issue. Now, everyone from adolescence to adulthood is scrolling through their social media feed checking to see what everyone else is doing.

As you find out your friends and family are taking lavish vacations, growing their family, throwing parties, and purchasing new homes, you may perceive yourself as less successful. As you continue to sit at home scrolling through your phone, you start to wonder why your life is not as awesome as theirs.

You will start to question whether those people even like you since they did not invite you to the “best party ever.[1]

This tends to drive the continued need to check social media for additional updates. After all, the last time you were on, you found out you were missing out on “so much”.

Now the fear has worsened, so you find yourself checking the same people for more updates. You want to confirm if it was a one-off, or if they are truly excluding you from “everything”.

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That is why the fear of missing out is not something you should take lightly. As these negative thoughts creep in, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

We all go through life wanting to belong and feel accepted. As you start to believe your family and friends are excluding you, you begin to feel isolated and alone. When you frequently compare your life experiences to the experiences of others, it causes you to feel lonely and inadequate.

How to Deal with the Fear of Missing Out

Overcoming your fear of missing out starts with understanding that it is a problem you have to solve.

In many cases, FOMO is not considered to be an issue that needs to be addressed. However, anything that can lead to depression should be taken seriously, even if it has become a pop phrase that people embrace more than any other fear.

By accepting the fact that your fear of missing out is a fear that is hindering your growth and success, you allow your mind to focus on ways to address the issue.

When you believe that FOMO is a normal and acceptable part of your life, then the issue is your friends and family having fun without you. And when that is the premise that your mind is operating from, it forces you to decide between two unfavorable situations.

You believe (1) your friends and family do not like you as much as you thought, or (2) they are living a better life than you.

Know That It’s Just Scripted Reality

The reality is much simpler than those choices. Your friends and family on social media are just posting their highlight reel.

Think about the number of photos they had to take to make that one perfect photo. How about the likelihood that they are checking their post because they are worried about the number of likes they are getting?

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These possibilities are more likely than the fact that your friends do not like you or have a better life than yours. This is part of the reason why research concludes that the fear of missing out often originates in unhappiness.[2]

When you are not satisfied with your life, you tend to believe everyone else’s life is better than yours. As you struggle with this thought, you naturally become curious as to whether it is true or not. Therefore, you take a quick stroll on your social media feeds and confirm your suspicion that everyone else is having fun without you.

Social Media Is Not Reality

If you take a moment and realize that social media is not an accurate depiction of reality, you will be better off.

Social media posts are usually the “best-case scenario” of everyone’s reality. People take ten to fifteen pictures before they can post one image. They use four to five filters and want to make sure they have the right lighting in the house. They even spend a considerable amount of time checking the background of their picture to make sure their house looks clean.

When people go out, they want to capture the moment and think of a clever caption. This is not because they want to cherish the moment for themselves, but because they want others to like their photo.

Everyone is going through the process of comparing the highlight reel of someone else against their own life. The problem with comparing yourself to others is that you are comparing the results, not the journey.

Assuming the depiction someone is trying to create is accurate, you still do not know how long it took them to achieve success. All you know is they are successful now. They could have struggled for years, or they may have extenuating circumstances that you are not aware of.

By honing in on the thoughts and perceptions you are creating, you allow yourself to realize all the assumptions you are making.

When you accept that the conclusions you are drawing come from the inside, you know the first place you need to look to solve the problem.

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Find Joy in Your Life

If you want to transform your fear of missing out into a joy of missing out, you need to start by appreciating your life.

A great technique to accomplish this goal is to practice mindfulness meditation. Dr. Gupta describes mindfulness meditation as the “non-judgmental observation or awareness that is focused on the present experience.”[3]

As mentioned earlier, FOMO is directly related to the unhappiness someone already feels in their life. As a result, you are looking for experiences to confirm your feelings of doubt.

Mindfulness meditation forces you to focus on what you are doing in the present moment. You are not concerned about what others are doing; you are just enjoying the here and now.

The key is to not pressure yourself into doing anything extravagant. You must allow yourself to enjoy whatever you are doing. It does not matter if you are reading a book, going on a walk, or watching a movie. You need to allow yourself to enjoy whatever it is you are doing.

By suspending negative judgments of your life, you begin to realize that your life is sufficient as it is. There is no reason for you to compare what you enjoy doing to what someone else enjoys doing. The funny thing about life is we all think the grass is greener on the other side.

Have Proper Judgment

I remember watching this short video where someone was driving a used car and someone with a new car drove by them.[4]

The person in the used car looked sad and said to himself that he wished he could have a new car. Then a person in a bicycle rode past the person in the used car and said, I wish I had a used car. Next, someone walked by the person on the bicycle, and she said, I wish I had a bicycle. Then the video ends with a child looking out their window in a wheelchair, and the child says, I wish I could walk.

The short video is a reminder of how important having the proper judgment is to any situation. There are very few inherently good or bad situations. It usually comes down to how we choose to react to those situations.

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You could choose to be discouraged by your friend throwing a party at their house, or you can be excited by the fact that you do not have to plan and purchase stuff for a party. You could choose to feel depressed by the promotion your friend secured, or you can choose to be encouraged by the fact you have a secure job in a field you like.

By accepting the fact that you get to choose how you react to everything, you allow yourself the ability to find joy in all situations. As weird as it may sound at times, there is someone who envies your situation over their own.

If you really think about it, there is probably a time in your life where you did not appreciate what you had until it was gone.

Think about how simple life may have been when you were younger and all you wanted to do was grow up, or when your house was always dirty or you couldn’t afford expensive furniture because you had children.

Yet, when your children grew up and left the house, you realized a clean house and expensive furniture was not as important as you thought.

Final Thoughts

You must allow yourself the ability to enjoy the moment because the moment is all you have. If you are always concerned about what others are doing, you will always find a situation that you think is preferable to your own.

Keep in mind that you are just looking at a scripted snapshot of their reality. You have no idea of the effort or the motivation behind the image someone else is trying to paint of their life.

Therefore, do not allow the fear of missing out cause you to become depressed about your own life. Live your life to the best of your abilities, enjoying each interaction as it happens.

More Tips for Living a Joyful Life

Featured photo credit: Oleg Magni via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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