FOMO In a Digital Age: What Is Real?

Depressed young woman in need of mental health counseling

Author: Halee Smith, LMFT

Have you ever experienced FOMO, aka, Fear of Missing Out? Our minds can be occupied by ideas of what we have missed or could be missing out on. During this social media age, the potential for comparisons is much more present than ever before. People have the tendency to believe that if their lives don’t look like the lives that others portray on social media, something is wrong. The unfortunate truth is that these comparisons will often increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and/or insecurities in individuals.

The concept of genuineness is often overlooked because it does not align with what social media defines as normal. The real question that should be posed is: What does it look like for a person to be genuine in this digital age? Social media should not be connected to our sense of worth or confidence, though it often is. It is important to disconnect a person’s self-esteem from how many likes or hearts that they receive on a post. Social media is where people want to present this idea of perfection, but the reality is that no one’s life is perfect. The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner there will be more opportunity for peace.

“Being yourself” can be a very scary concept. What if people do not like what they see? But what if we looked at the situation differently and said if people do not like what they see in me, they are not my people? Wouldn’t that be refreshing and maybe even empowering? You were created to be uniquely you and by trying to be someone else, the world misses out on someone incredibly special. Be you, not who you think you are “supposed” to be.

FOMO is a real thing, but instead of being afraid of missing out, let’s choose to live our best life without fear of judgement. In the future, you will not remember how many likes you got on a post, but you will remember the choice you made to be your genuine self and make your own memories.

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