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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

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 were doing, but social media has only exacerbated the issue. Now, everyone from adolescence to adult 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”.

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.

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How to Deal with the Fear of Missing Out

Overcoming your fear of missing out starts with understanding it is a problem that needs to be solved.

In many cases, FOMO is not considered 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?

These possibilities are more likely than the fact 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.

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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 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.

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]

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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 not to 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.

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

You could choose to be discouraged by your friend throwing a party at their house, or you can be excited by the fact 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.

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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, but all you wanted to do was grow up. Or 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 you are just looking at a scripted snapshot of their reality. You have no idea 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 to cause you to become depressed about your own life. Live your life to the best of your abilities, enjoying each interaction as it happens.

Featured photo credit: Oleg Magni via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Undre Griggs

Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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