"Hey, we are having a party. Wanna come?", read the text on Rebecca's phone.
Tired and exhausted from the week's hectic schedule, it didn't deter her from turning up, fearful that she might not be invited next time if she refused now.
Globalization and technological advancement have opened doors to the world. Everything is within the reach of our fingertips, both exuberance, and anxiety.
Millennials and Gen Z have grown up with savvy gadgets, internet that allowed us to keep tabs on everything happening to everyone around the world. Social media and virtual influence have shot up anxiety levels and depression is at an all-time high.
Wikipedia defined FOMO as, "Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a social anxiety stemmed from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present. It is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, or a profitable investment. It is the fear that is deciding not to participate in the wrong choice."
Humans are configured to act more swiftly out of fear than wisdom. This was perhaps helpful in the early days when one had to flee or attack enemies or wild animals to ensure survival. Now, the modern Homo Sapien fights to keep up within one's own species.
Preconceived notions and assumptions are rarely true and often based on toothless observations. To readily believe that everyone except us is having the time of their lives is not only doing a disservice to ourselves but also a wild exaggeration of other people's equally flawed lives.
In our brutal comparison of ourselves to others, we are putting them on the pedestal, deliberately ignoring the fact that they are after all humans like us, with their own journey and struggles.
Capitalism has led to a meteoric rise in materialism and consumerism.
Impossible standards of beauty, popularity, and wealth have pulled us into the rat race. There exists insurmountable social pressure, to be present, involved at all times at everything, lest we are left out in the glorious path to acceptance and adoration.
Cyberbullying has emboldened negative people to nitpick at everything, pointing out flaws and dragging others' self-esteem and confidence through the floor.
The human race is obsessed with the one thing it cannot be - PERFECT
This unending chase for external validation from society and peers is grossly toxic, taking a heavy toll on our mental health. It has pervaded into all aspects of our lives, from our way of living to the most personal relationships one can forge. One has to follow the newest trend, buy the newest I phone, the car everyone keeps posting about otherwise we are worthless.
Lack of healthy competition that stems from being inspired by the achievements and previous failures of others is long gone. What exists now is a detrimental cycle of distorted reality where only projections of manufactured perfection and happiness are plastered across screens worldwide and circulated vigorously.
We pine for the lives others lead while not leading our own, escaping the joys and lessons of our own journey.
The following are some of the areas where FOMO [fear of missing out] corrodes our sense of self and mental health:
Caught in the trap of a filtered world, we view everything with rose-tinted glasses, a mirage of flawlessness greets us each time we scroll through Instagram or Facebook.
Foreign trips, a new job, the latest outfits, the picture-perfect face inflict a sense of inadequacy and embarrassment on us.
We hate ourselves for not possessing what others flaunt so effortlessly while forgetting that those same people didn't post about the struggles they had to endure to get what they have.
Nobody cares to lift the veil that hides the tears, the rejection, the downfalls that contributed to their success.
We hopelessly try our luck, jump into the bandwagon of likes and followers which we perceive will determine our worth.
Authenticity and genuine persona are pushed to the backburner, what remains is a skilled copyist.
Socializing and Friendships
Never say no to a hang out seems to have become the norm. Who we are friends with determines how popular or desirable we are, even though the circle is vehemently shallow and toxic.
Our unease with being by ourselves, not enjoying our own company because that is considered a sign of social undesirability has transformed us into a pack of wolves, struggling to exist on our own.
Humans are social beings but to push ourselves into social interactions and friendships that drain us emotionally and physically is unhealthy. People who admire us and care will not be offended if we take time off to recharge.
Let go of people and situations that jeopardize your well-being.
Love and Relationships
Like all other things, affection has also become a commodity we must possess. Modern dating culture revolves around having a partner for the sake of it, to bide the time rather than being built on mutual love and adoration.
Being single must be miserable, a sad demotion from the perks of a relationship is what people feel.
It seems as though having a partner is a necessity rather than a happy occurrence. Where will we get those cozy Instagram pictures that we drool over otherwise?
To be sad alone is better than being miserable with someone else. There is no point in jumping into relationships without being comfortable with the idea of being happy on our own.
Nobody misses out on love if we love ourselves enough. Learn to treasure yourself before someone comes along who values your presence.
Career and Success
So what if your friend has the job that you ardently want? There is no universal timeline to success or failure, no plan that works for all.
We are all shaped by our unique experiences and talents. The journey is about achieving our goal, not ensuring we get there quickly before everyone else.
Jealousy, envy, and spite eats us from within, creating a void that distracts us from our own path. In this world of cut-throat competition, we often lose sight of our self, convinced of our destiny to fail as we watch others get ahead of us.
The most successful people today are those who persevered in their own trajectory, didn't let others' success be a cause to doubt their own.
Everything is ours to achieve if we work for it.
Fear Of Missing Out is a chase, where we run after what others have, not on what we can develop on our own. We surrender our self-esteem and self-worth into the hands of a society that excels in crushing it.
We will be doomed to sadness and misery if we chase external validation, it's a hoax and it is unworthy of trust. Our only competition is our former self and the one we need to chase is our future self, that is someone we don't want to miss out on.
We are enough and we are worthy.
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