For the ones who has no idea what F.OM.O is, you aren’t the only one. I just recently heard of this term from my pastor Mike Todd a few months ago. He had a whole series about it and the acronym means “Fear of Missing Out.” At first I thought that I knew what depth Pastor Michael was speaking but it wasn’t until I turned the screens off and looked at the world around me before I opened my eyes to it.
What I saw hurt me. I saw a lot of fake. Not meaning this in a disrespectful way but in a completely real way. I saw people doing things that was just not them or who they represent. People saying things that they know should never come out of their mouths to impress the people around them and participating in activities way before it is time for them to experience them.
I questioned so many different things that I saw, just trying to understand why. Is it because of past traumas? Is it genuinely who that person is? Do they really think doing what they were doing was both beneficial and productive to their future? No matter what question I asked myself, it still didn’t hit as hard as the idea that they are just afraid. Afraid of missing out.
Recently I’ve come to know a young girl. From the outside looking in you saw beauty, strength, compassion and intelligence. For a while I started noticing very small cues that didn’t really fit who she is. One day she was involved in a very bad incident and who she was behind closed doors opened and all of her demons came rushing out full force. The person that I saw was not that loving, beautiful, intelligent little girl but actually quite the opposite.
It made me mad. No not mad. INFURIATED is the word. I was utterly disgusted at what I saw and I was broken to see such horror coming from somebody who I thought was so pure at heart. For a while, I was angry. I couldn’t go a moment without her being on my mind and me wondering if there was something that I could have done to help. From anger came the sadness. Complete dark sadness filled me up and it got me working overtime on trying to figure out “Why?!”
After the sadness came the feeling of terror and that’s when it hit me. Yes, all of the reasons that I mentioned in the past may have been a factor whether it was a traumatic event or something that she was introduced too but it all pushed me to the word “FEAR” and I felt it heavily. Maybe her actions weren’t due to selfishness or the lack of knowing who she was but maybe she, like me, was afraid.
What was she afraid of? How could fear put her in the situations that she openly and voluntarily put herself into? How could fear make her say the things that she said? Do the things that she did and overall, be somebody that she isn’t? (Lightbulb) FEAR OF MISSING OUT. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of not having a certain person or group of people like her. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that the person that she wanted to be would not be cool or beautiful in today’s society.
Due to the nature of the incident, I will not get into the details but I would like to say something for everybody who has similar fears of missing out. It is ok to miss out. Missing out can actually be a joyful feeling. One thing that life has taught me is that there is ALWAYS another door to walk through. What this young girl and many other people fail to realize is that when you act on fear you tend to get exactly what you fear would happen. Fear of being late to work will lead you to speed and get pulled over by the cops which in term will make you extremely late. Fear of a spouse leaving you will lead you to eventually pushing that person farther away and possibly leaving because of the accusations and control. The list goes on.
Funny thing is fear of missing out will actually have you missing out. To the younger crowd, this portion is for you. I get it. I truly do. At one point I was a teenager. I wanted the attention. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be the cool kid. Luckily I had a very strict mother who did not allow me to make most of my decisions until I was ready and I thank her for that. Back then was a different era though. Now we have cell phones that allow you to take videos and post pictures. We have the internet where you can be anybody that you want to be and put up fronts to make people believe that you are something that you aren’t. Because of the fear of missing out, many of the younger kids are getting in trouble for doing things that they know they are not suppose to be doing.
Well let me explain something. You craving to be fast and grown is only going to slow down your progress and growth. You acting now because you are afraid of missing out is going to lead you to missing out. Prime example. You want to hang out with your friends. Your parents say that you are too young to hang out without adult supervision, so you decide to sneak out. Guess what? Now, because you were afraid of missing out, instead of getting that car when you are 16, you have to wait till you can buy your own car. You want a job but now you can’t get one because you do not have reliable transportation to get you to and from work. With no job, how are you to earn enough to get a car? Or gas? Or shopping sprees with your friends? I can go for days on end about this subject but I am sure that you are getting the point.
Acting on F.O.M.O. is actually going to create you to miss out on so much of life. A life that you have no idea how big and vast it actually is. Missing out on opportunities that could slingshot you into success without having to be a victim in a survival story. Your actions today can and will pull you from that great job a few years from now. Your actions today can actually pull you away from that person who will actually be there to push you forward and help you grow. Your actions today can push you out of the group of people that can help you up when you fall. So listen to me when I tell you that I completely understand your fears. I am 32 years old and I get those fears as well.
Should I take that job? Should I buy that drink? Should I respond to that message? We all go through it but don’t taint who you are because of a fear. Like they say, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” So continue building yourself in the direction that you know you are suppose to go and stop being afraid of missing out.
Missing out can actually be joyful. Missing out on that decision that could have left you hurt. Missing out on that lecture that you hate from your parents. Missing out on that bad decision that seemed fun at the time but wasn’t worth it in the long run.
I have a teenage girl and a son who is almost to his double digits. Each day I make sure to tell them that I love them and when they leave my presence to be smart about their decisions. I tell them regularly to look out for each other and to no put themselves into a situation that is going to require healing in the future and I will say the same thing to you. Don’t allow the fear of missing out to put you into a situation that will need healing and involve you to miss out in the long run.
If this has helped you, feel free to like and comment your thoughts and please share because maybe it could help somebody in your circle as well.