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The Other Side of FOMO: What Am I Really Missing?

         Most of us know FOMO is the fear of missing out. People claim to have FOMO when they are unable to partake in an event or experience and feel anxiety based on their absence. But FOMO implies that one experience is far more important, impactful or meaningful than another which fuels the fire of comparison culture. We may think FOMO is a love of exploring, of getting out and seeing the world, but the bottom line is FOMO is a trigger for mental illness and substance issues because if we give in to FOMO, we aren’t staying true to ourselves and our needs.

         When we see the word FOMO on social media, we usually see this acronym tagged to parties, concerts, and travel experiences. Rarely do we see this term linked to events such as family parties, family dinners, and or a quiet night in. This contrast is the real curiosity of FOMO. It seems to be centered around friends and costly events, but why can’t someone be jealous of a quiet night in?

If you’re someone who connects to this message, it might be time to ask why the external experiences are more important than inner growth and family. Why don’t you want to spend time at home? Are you afraid to be alone? Do you even like the band everyone is going to see? These questions are an important step in the direction of unpacking the reasons you feel you are missing out. Ultimately, they will help you unpack issues with mental health, addiction, and so much more.

Why Do I Feel I am Missing Out?

         If you’re the type of person who experiences FOMO, it’s important to stop and ask why? Say your friends are going to see a band that you kind of like, but you don’t really have the money. Plus, you’ve had a long week at school. Do you really want to go? Or let’s say your friends are going to a party at a popular kid’s house. You don’t like drinking, you don’t know anyone there, and the thought actually gives you anxiety because there will be significant underage drinking. However, you feel that if you don’t go, your friends might stop talking to you or you feel you will miss a connection with the people there.

         These examples illuminate the underpinnings of FOMO. In both scenarios, the people making the choice are driven by fear, hence FEAR of missing out. Fear is an archaic emotion that connects to survival. It’s the thing inside of us that yells WARNING and tells us certain ideas or behaviors are going to cause us pain, sadness, or even death. Fear is a response that was designed to keep us safe, but in a 21st-century world, fear can be a trigger for deeper mental illness.

         Understanding this concept of fear is an important part of unpacking why we are afraid to miss out because fear can mask other issues that could connect to negative experiences and even repressed trauma. And the more we make choices out of fear, the farther we get away from what we truly need in relation to health and wellness. So, the next time you feel FOMO, it might be the right moment to stop and assess because in doing do, you can break this negative response patterning once and for all.

The Importance of Family and Community

         The concept of a family is integral to healing and health. Whether we are talking about blood relations or not, the word family means a group of people that unconditionally love and support each other. Without this archetype, it can be difficult to heal from things like trauma, addiction and substance abuse, and mental health ailments.

         Maybe you’ve drifted away from your family, focusing on concerts, parties, and other distractions that have been fueling your addiction or mental illness, and that’s okay. But it’s time to rewrite that narrative and help you realize that turning in towards your support group could be the thing that stops the feelings of said fear. The FOMO we should actually be focusing on should be with the people that have raised us and supported us. Why does society push us away from the people that birthed us and raised us? The answer is unclear, but to start healing and get back on the track to health and wellness, healing within our family systems is an integral step.

         Reconnecting with family isn’t always easy, especially if you’re suffering from addiction or a mental health disorder. If this hits home, The Bougainvilla House can help. We focus on getting kids connected to themselves and their families with a community-style practice. We offer individual, group, and family treatment programs that are customized to fit your individual needs. There’s no need to fight mental illness alone and live in fear. Call now to learn about your options for a better and brighter future: (954) 764-7337


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