Maybe you’ve heard of the phrase the “Fear of Missing Out,” (or FOMO)? It has become popular recently, and it’s used to describe a person’s underlying fear that by not attending an event or making a purchase that you “might miss out on the one thing that will make all the difference” in your life.
FOMO usually comes with a side of subtle, or perhaps subconscious, peer pressure. FOMO happens when you’re worried that “everyone else is doing it,” and that if you’re not doing it, well, you’ll “miss out.”
If you’ve been moved into action because you’re afraid of missing out on something, I lovingly ask that you reconsider doing anything based on this premise. With a very few exceptions*, doing anything, making any decision coming from a place of fear is is likely to be a decision that doesn’t serve you well.
Let me break down why. In making decisions, you can approach them from a place of love or fear. A love based decision will be one that lights you up, fulfills your purpose, aligns with the things you yearn for in your life. It leads to spaciousness, to possibilities, to creativeness. As a positive energy, love is uplifting and affirming. If you make a choice grounded in love, you’ll find that it opens doors to what your soul feels is right. It propels you along. My tendency to live out every last second of an amazing vacation location has it’s roots in love and excitement, making it less FOMO and more YOLO (you only live once).
On the other hand, if you make a decision based in fear, it’s often one that feels like it’s trapped you in, it’s limited in it’s breadth, it’s coming from a place of being reactive (instead of proactive). Fear is a negative energy that has shrinking properties, and that once placed in motion, feeds on itself. While a fear based decision might seem easy in the moment, I find that looking back on those decisions often feels icky, or are the times I question why I acted the way I did.
If the only reason you’re making a decision is because you’re afraid you will “miss out” by not going (or not doing it), then you won’t get the same amazing depth and fullness from that experience as you would if your decision was based on the fact that you loved everything about what making that decision meant for your life. You’re selling yourself short if the only reason you’re doing something is because “everyone else is,” or because you’re afraid of what may happen if you’re not there.
Here’s the thing- I want you to be so damn lit up by your decisions and choices in life that you run towards them with open arms. If you’re doing something based on being afraid of missing out, I’m betting it’s not going to light you up because your whole reason for being there is … fear. And fear can’t be sustained for long, and it surely won’t sustain you after the initial “what happens if these people learn something I don’t know” feeling goes away.
In other words, I want you and my clients to learn to be mindful about making decisions based on love, not fear. The next time you’re faced with any kind of decision, ask yourself if you’re making it out of love, or whether fear is motivating your answer. Listen to your gut for the response and take note. Give yourself permission to pursue the things you love, and to say a loving “no, thank you” to the things that you feel you need to do out of fear. In the end, following love will be the thing that sets you free.
*I’m not talking about situations where true physical or mental harm is at stake, nor suggesting that in extreme situations a person pause to consider if getting away from that danger is coming from a place of love or fear. Arguably, if faced with a “fight or flight” situation, one should consider safety first. I think we can agree, though, that FOMO is not usually about life and death scenarios.