How to Manage and Overcome FOMO

FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is often times associated with being a bi-product of the recent explosion of social media popularity; however, it is actually an ancient, intrinsic characteristic of all humans, due to our survival being absolutely dependent on the larger group. Though, currently, group membership is no longer necessary for physical survival like it was in prehistoric times, this undeniable, and sometimes uncontrollable, urge for group and social acceptance and praise still survives within us all, and now thrives under the encompassing social media sites that consume many people’s lives.

We see the photos our friends, peers, and colleagues post about their ‘extravagant’ lives, detailing everything ranging from: their recent vacation in the Bahamas or their internship in Paris, to their ‘perfect’ relationship with their boyfriend, to their recent shopping spree, to their delicious meals they enjoy on their outings, to the ‘crazy cool’ parties they are always at on the weekends. Then, we see their massive amounts of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, which is ‘proof’ to us that society approves and is even envious of their activities and their lives as a whole.
This leaves you feeling sad, lonely, depressed, and defeated, because you may be viewing these peoples lovely photos of their seemingly amazing lives from your cold, grey cubicle, or from your couch with the company of Netflix, potato chips, and your cat. You feel like your life doesn’t measure up with the extravagance of your friends and peers, which can lead to ravenous jealousy and emotional stress.

However, when this feeling arises, it is important to think about your OWN social media life:

Do you simply snap the perfect picture on your first try, every time? No. Instead, we take 27 photos of the same sunset or silly selfie duck face, and then spend 15 minutes applying 3 filters to the picture to make it/us look better than it/we actually do.

Do you sometimes stage or pose your pictures in an attempt to make your situation look more fun, appealing, and envious than it actually is? Yes. You are probably at the sports bar sitting alone to the side while fighting with your best friend, but you will post a picture of you fake dancing and smiling while double fisting beers to make it look like you are having the time of your life.

 It is important to realize that EVERYONE else is doing the same thing with their social media account.
EVERYONE, not just you, is looking for social acceptance and approval, and everyone tweaks or even down-right lies about their lives and daily activities on their social media sites to make themselves look more desirable. Nearly every single person on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is participating in a social media arms race: we are all ‘stocking’ up on staged life experiences in an attempt to gain the envy of our peers. 
So, next time you are feeling down on yourself because of others ‘amazing’ lives and accomplishments, remember that 9 times out of 10, their social media site probably is nothing more than a façade.

Sources: Read/Write

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