You may have heard me say that most of us need to be far more gentle with our selves than we generally are. Heck, I may have even said it to you directly. I’m a BIG believer that we ought to treat ourselves as nicely (or better) than we would treat any one else.
Unfortunately, that often is not the case.
There seems to be this weird perception that there some badge of honor for abusing ourselves.
You know what I mean. We talk about getting little to no sleep with a certain admiring disdain. As if to say, oh you poor thing – good for you! We glorify busy, but excuse the lack of results. Talk about self care that turns into a pity party around why we can’t fit it in – as we join one more committee at our kids school in order to look good to the other parents.
It’s almost become so normal to be exhausted, unwell and over-committed, that we can barely imagine what it might be like to not be this way. For some it seems like a fantasy world. But it doesn’t have to be.
Then we get this idea of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. This is where we think we are missing out on something exciting that everyone else is participating in…and it’s stressing us out!
This is getting to be more common and becoming a serious mental health issue, more so as we see each others lives through the social media filter.
Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media outlets it often looks as though our friends are really living it up.
And we start to feel inadequate, as though we aren’t living up to our potential or that we somehow are missing out on the best of life. This can trigger real anxieties! It can cause people to spend money they don’t have and rack up debt, exhaust themselves, become quite scattered and unfocused and unsure of what they actually want in life.
I see it in personal lives, but also in business. Quite of few people I work with are entrepreneurs and FOMO is killer for them. They want to try the newest programs that ‘everyone’ is doing, attend all the seminars, switch online platforms because the one others are using must be better right? They end up spending time, energy and money for very little return and a whole lot of frustration.
It’s right in there with the ‘shiny object syndrome’. Must have the newest and greatest (fill in the blank here) or we are falling behind somehow.
I was recently giving my contact info to someone and they said they were ashamed to admit they had an old phone. They honestly didn’t want me to see it! It was only a couple of years old, but they had this FOMO mindset and truly thought I’d judge them on it because they had a contract that still had time on it and couldn’t spend a thousand dollars on the newest phone.
That looks crazy-pants when you see it in writing…but I wonder if you think it over where you too might have fallen prey to this thinking. Phones, cars, schools, vacations, outfits, kids clubs, computers, where you shop, what you send/eat for lunch, weekend plans…it can strike anywhere.
Self-judgment. Comparison. Fear of not being seen as good enough to others. Being left behind or left out? Brutal. Painful. Damaging.
Raising some awareness here because it’s hurting us as a society. It’s hurting our business, our families and our kids are beginning to be noticed carrying this heavy expectation too. Emotionally, mentally, heck even the environment (as we throw away perfectly good things and expend so much energy creating more) we are struggling to get a handle on this.
What we have to realize is we are looking for validation externally. And that rarely works or lasts.
When you are constantly worried, checking your phone so you don’t miss out, trying to keep up with every thing you think you ‘should’ be doing its bloody exhausting on so many levels. And guess what? NO one I talk to about can or will tell me they are happy.
What can we do?
Well, first get a bit of a reality check on social media. Realize that what you’re seeing on social media is always filtered. It’s pumped up and made to be super fabulous! Reality isn’t always quite able to match up to what people share on their social media accounts. In fact, it rarely does. Reduce how much time you spend there. Get out and get in person with your friends!
Spend some time being really mindful of all the wonderful things in your life right now. Get to know who you are really well, get clear on your own personal values and goals. Having super values and goals will go a long way to help you keep your focus and prevent you from getting caught up in what society is telling you should be important to you.
Gratitude kicks ass for helping us staying connected and happy in the moment. You can absolutely want more, but when you are really truly aware and grateful for what you have right now…your wants seem to decrease and get laser focused.
Being really mindful of the exciting and blessed life you have right here and right now can also help get rid of the FOMO mindset. Listen, you can do anything you want to, you just can’t do everything. I had to accept this a long time ago and once I did it made a world of difference to my outlook. Trust me, I used to be frustrated at life because there are SO many amazing things to learn, touch, see and do and there just isn’t enough time in one life time to do it all!
I had to stop letting everyone else’s goals and intentions and plans influence what was important to me and figure out what would be meaningful in MY life.
Focus. Get clear. Be present.