in Life Lessons

FOMO: The Anxiety is REAL & How to Deal With It

I “quit” Facebook long before it was cool to do so. I couldn’t stand the amount of envy-inducing imagery it was pushing (my bad for being easily triggered). But Facebook is just the beginning. The real psycho test starts with it’s younger more narcissistic brother, Instagram.

Open the app and you will drown in “my-life-is-cooler-than-yours” photos and 3-minute-videos of other people doing more awesome stuff than you can ever do in 3 lifetimes. Instagram made things worse not better. People are constantly showing off their greatest hits while the rest of us feel as though our lives suck (when it really isn’t).

FOMO is real, especially for young chaps like us. We were born bathing into this shit. Wrapped in Parkson gift wrap complete with a Hallmark card that says “Congratulations, you will have lower self-esteem than your grades”.

Not all hope is lost. It takes time and reflection to figure what why you are super jealous in the first place.

I always believed that one of the ways to know if something is what you really want you is by going through the Facebook Envy Test, that is:

The activity shown on Facebook that makes you feel shitty the most is the thing you deem most important in your life.

For me, it’s travel. I start grinding my teeth and feel like a bag of sad soggy french fries left on the kitchen table for too long from the night before, everything I see someone I know touring in Europe or someplace with old nice-looking buildings.

Now, I have yet to travel the world and tick my Facebook Envy list away. I plan to, for sure.

But even if I haven’t traveled, I think we all can agree that being envious doesn’t help us. It eats away at us makes us more toxic than the glue we used to eat in primary school (No? Just me?).

What I have done to curb the envy and soul-crushing distraction that is Facebook is by deleting the app off my phone, and only leaving my Messenger Lite there.

On my desktop, I install a chrome extension that replaces my newsfeed with a quote:

And you know what the weird thing is? I didn’t miss a thing. I didn’t experience “Facebook Withdrawal Syndrome” or anything. Life just went on as normal. Did I mention the free time it gave me?

That’s all fine and dandy, Ben. But how do I get rid of my FOMO?

Honestly, I don’t think we can. I deal with my FOMO by not dealing with it.

I need to breathe air, but I don’t need to check Facebook or Instagram. The Internet is good at showing sexy but it sucks at showing life. People with 40-year friendships don’t get as much attention than an internet millionaire surfing with 10 bikini models. Stacks of 40 love letters between old lovers don’t get as much attention as 40 stacks of cash.

The language of the internet is mainly that – sexy ?‍♀️ and cold ?

But the language of life is mainly love ❤ and warmth ?

Another thing I realized about FOMO is that you are always missing out. You could very well be on that trip to Europe but you missing out on 999 other things as well. By saying yes to one thing, you are saying no to a million other things.

Mark Manson, star blogger and author (who also wrote on this subject), who used to travel to over 52 countries in his twenties, eventually came to the realization that by living the travel dreams he wanted, he was giving up something else… He was giving up his friends back home, the chance to build a family, to be part of a strong knit community.

To get something, we must give up something too.

Now, so what if your life isn’t Instagram worthy? Does it really matter? Like the saying goes with money –

You can’t take your Timeline with you.

By all means, LIVE YOUR DREAMS. But don’t let this stupid thing called FOMO be the driving factor behind all your choices in life – because the #1 regret of the dying (according to research) is –

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

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