Rejecting the rationalization of FOMO – Pt. 2

Did you figure out the “why” behind the “what?” Did you pinpoint where in your life you’ve allowed FOMO to creep in? If not, take a moment, grab a cup of coffee and read part 1 relating to this blog. After you’ve read part 1, ponder the why. Then head back to this one. Your why matters. Before I share my why, here’s a story leading to when I discovered my wrong why and when my why became one that mattered.

Growing up I was never the smartest kid. If you ask my parents they will admit they really didn’t think I would make it that far in life. No, they are not horrible parents for thinking that. I was just never a fast learner. Matter a fact, I wasn’t a learner to begin with. I struggled with reading and writing. Spelling was atrocious and any other subject was simply out of the question. I was always behind. I was teased for being a dunce by family members outside my home and even by classmates at school. Don’t go on feeling sorry for me. While I don’t condone bullying, I am also somewhat thankful because they are who motivated me. They along with my parents who believed and worked hard to help me believe.

I made it through primary school, that was an accomplishment. High school came around and I kept finding myself wanting to prove my intelligence to my classmates. I went to an all-girls catholic private school. Pretty much everyone was smart and was competing for the top seat. My group of friends in particular were a part of the 3 & 4 Science Club. In the Caribbean schooling looks differently so it may not all connect for my American readers. Either way, my friends were and still are pretty bright. If I am being completely honest with myself, I am still shocked that I even got into that high school and made it through the 3 & 4 Science Club. Really, those classes were no joke.

My senior year of high school posed grand difficulty. I was very ill with a tumor inside my back on my tailbone. I’ll share the miracle of that story some other time, but I managed to graduate with the help of my parents, understanding teachers and a very special friend of mine still today. Her name is, Michelle. She believed that I could do it. So much so she sent me every assignment, notes she took and videos of the class sessions. Guess what? I graduated. On to college.

I got accepted to Southwestern Assemblies of God University and was placed in the Learning Centers for poor SAT scores. First year in college and I felt smaller than the size of a mustard seed. Not because I was in the Learning Centers. I understand the importance of the program my university provided. Rather, I was missing out on what it’s like to be considered smart. I had a case of FOMO I didn’t realize I had. All this time, my efforts in school were not because I believed in myself. My efforts were because I was scared to miss out on educational status. All my other friends were top in their classes. They knew what they wanted and were going to get it. I on the other hand was simply fighting in school just as to not miss out on having a diploma like the others. Sad, I know. It was my freshman year in college that I decided to reevaluate my why. I was insecure. I didn’t think I was smart. All my efforts were simply for a paper that would hang on my wall someday that tells the world I was something I didn’t even believe I was. Smart (enough).

Have you heard the phrase, “faith without works is dead?” This comes from the Bible in James chapter 2. James shares an analogy.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith and works work hand in hand. Have you figured out where I am going with this yet? Let’s go back to my why. Before my revelation moment, my why was simply works. I didn’t believe I actually could. I was simply doing with no purpose other than to not miss out on educational status. A lot of what we do is works in order to not miss out. All stemmed from rooted insecurities. Look at it this way…

  • You work out because you believe you’re ugly and fat.
  • You have children to fill a void.
  • You get married in order to avoid loneliness.
  • You get an education in order to not be criticized.
  • You buy those brands in order to fit in with those friends.
  • You buy that house to appear you’re of wealth.

Personalize that to you. You do, in order to not miss out. Faith without works is dead. Many of us are simply working towards not missing out. We simply don’t believe. Believing is more than having a positive attitude. In this case, belief is knowing who you are and where you are going. Here’s how belief combined with works shifts the game.

  • You work out because you see the importance of healthy living and desire to become a better version of yourself.
  • You have children because you and your spouse while you enjoy each other are ready to expand the family.
  • You get married because you love someone so deeply you want to share the rest of your life with them.
  • You pursue education because you believe you can and will set out to pursue your dreams.
  • You buy those brands because you know you can afford it not to impress others rather simply because you want to.
  • You buy that house because you know you are not overextending, rather in a healthy position to do so.

Get where I am going with this? Faith alone will not get you anywhere. Believing you can do or become something only leaves you stuck in where you are. You won’t get much of anywhere with simply believing you can. Works alone has no value on it’s own. Combine faith and works, you combat FOMO. No longer do you do and want out of insecurities. No longer is it because of “them.” Rather you live and do, from confidence and purpose.

I graduated college in 2018 and later graduated graduate school in 2020. My why? Because I believed in myself. I had faith I could, so I did. I wanted not a paper to hang on the wall. I craved knowledge that would help me get where I believe God has called me to. Parents and family aside. Opinions of others aside. I believed and did with purpose. I challenge you to do the same. If you are being and doing to fit someone else’s narrative, it’s time to hit pause, reevaluate and do. Confidence and purpose are not far off. Once you know your why, let that combat FOMO.

Let your why stem from purposeful living.


Rejecting the rationalization of FOMO – Pt. 1

Around the 2000s, marketing strategist Dan Herman first wrote on the concept of FOMO. It took a decade plus some for this concept to develop. Within the past two to three years, I’ve personally seen and heard FOMO circulate a lot more that I decided to do some personal digging and research. For those of you who do not know, FOMO is an acronym that stands for Fear of Missing Out. Side effects found by studies done shows that FOMO has led to detrimental physical and mental health. It has also led to mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, decrease self-esteem, moderate to severe social anxiety and increased negativity and depression. Fear of missing out comes from the concern that one might miss out on an opportunity, information, satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media outlets. Interestingly, studies on FOMO have found that those in developed countries are more prone to this. 70% percent of adults they’ve found suffer with FOMO either slightly or significantly that have produced moderate to severe side effects. Psychological disorder? I’d dare to say, no. While I do not claim to be a mental health phycologist, I do propose that the rationalization behind FOMO is a weak marketing scheme to promote the abuse of social media consumption and justify one’s insecurities.

Alright, let’s get personal with this. A couple years ago my friends started getting into relationships. That led to friends getting married, to now having children. Friends who bought houses, friends who landed awesome career roles, friends who are the epitome of fitness goals and friends who have the perfect life. How do I know all this? By scrolling. Scrolling became increasingly worse as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ranked as monopolizing social media platforms.

Social media is perfect for marketing. It’s ingenious honestly. We are marketed every day more so now than ever before. Every second we look at a screen whether stationary or mobile device we are consuming a marketing idea, and our frame of thinking is being molded. Social media markets the highlight and the highlight interestingly is what brought about the idea of FOMO. How is it that the good brings so much evil? Here’s the thing, we don’t expect to share the awful bad in our lives. No one post about the bruises on their skin from their abusive spouse, the painful agony from a breakup, the rejection letter from a job, or the failure of a test/exam. We don’t show those parts of our lives. We share the highlight. Am I suggesting we share the bad? Not at all. Sharing the bad won’t help. That’s not the solution. I do, however, suggest we reevaluate why the highlights of others lives distorts the way we live and stirs feelings of “missing out”.

We want based on what’s been marketed. Nothing wrong with that. Wants are not all bad. But how did we as society get to a place where wanting has led to physical and mental health disorders? Why do we feel as if we are missing out if we don’t have the latest phone, are wearing the latest brand, are in the perfect relationship, traveling like the “IT” traveler or invited to “that” persons party. For me, that looks like — a 25 year old unmarried woman without child(ren). Yes, the pressure is on. Everyone else is married. Everyone else has kids. Everyone else appears to be doing or has “IT.” Yet, no one actually obtains “IT” because they are too focused looking at someone else’s life. Every second spent scrolling is confirming the idea that (me) you are failing at this thing called life.

My honest and wholehearted belief is that society’s rationalization of normalizing hours of scrolling through someone else’s life in envy at the many things they have and are is why we are the way we are. But if I dig a little deeper, I’d dare say, that you are to blame. I am. You are. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting on social media. I enjoy seeing where people are in life, posting an updated picture of my fiancé and I, but I have fallen into the trap of depending on social media to gratify and fill the void of my personal insecurities. A post today has shifted from pure desire to share an update, to now need for affirmation. Scrolling has shifted from keeping up to date with friends and family to envying where others are and what others have. The more we scroll the more we believe that we are missing out and the more we believe we are missing out or have “missed the mark” we have mood swings, feeling of loneliness, feeling I am not good enough or am doing enough, and feelings of anxiety about life.

Does this resonate with you? Do you feel pretty crappy after scrolling through social media? Do you feel like you are “missing out” because you aren’t in a relationship, because you don’t have kids yet, because you don’t have the perfect body or because you’re not “there” in life yet? I say this with as much grace possible, FOMO is an acronym designed for this generation to hide behind their insecurities. We’ve been marketed to believe FOMO is okay. That this is normal. That it is expected.

It’s not normal and should not be expected. Insecurities are serious business. If apprehension within oneself is not dealt with, the result is FOMO and that’s what we don’t want or shouldn’t want. Want to know why you and I haven’t fully succeeded? FOMO. The pressure to buy things we cant afford and be someone we are not in order to impress other people is what keeps us where we are. FOMO, keeps us stuck and it keeps us fake. Judgement not from others, rather judgement we place on ourselves.

The first step towards making progress and moving beyond FOMO, is first admitting it. Be real with yourself.

  • Why do you want to be in a relationship? Because everyone else is in one and you’re tired of third wheeling or because you believe you are ready?
  • Why do you want children? Because everyone else is having and you’re scared you are behind or because you and your spouse agree it’s time to start a family?
  • Why are you working out? Because you want to look like that girl or guy on Instagram or because you want to create healthy habits and live well?
  • Why do you buy the clothes you buy? Because everyone else wears that brand or simply because you enjoy the look and feel?

What is your “why” behind the “what?” Pinpointing the why is the first step towards combatting your insecurities. Rationalizing FOMO is weak. Combating FOMO is strength. Your why needs to shift away from “because of them.” We will discuss tools on combatting FOMO in part two, but I will leave you with this. You are not missing out! Live your absolute best life by first seeking God. Scroll, double tap and pin, confident in who you are and where you are. And if you are not comfortable with who you are and where you are, quit sitting there scrolling in your insecurities, and do something about it!

What is your “why” behind the “what?”