Do You Have FOMO?

Social media has created a new disease. It’s spreading. It’s serious. It’s gone viral. Do you have it?

What’s the disease? It’s FOMO:  fear of missing out.

Symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Comparison
  • Lack of gratitude
  • Fear
  • Discontent

So, do you have it? I know I do.

Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we see the highlight reel of everyone else’s life. We see smiling faces at birthdays, anniversaries, championship games, vacations, parties and more. Everyone’s life looks far more exciting and interesting than the one we’re living.

Technology allows us to edit our pictures. We snap photo after photo, choose the best ones, delete the worst, crop, filter, and remove blemishes.

We throw around the word “blessed,” when we describe our life, which is sometimes just a veiled way to feel more spiritual and humble. We’re not.

No one posts pictures of their kid coming in last place. We don’t often share when our kids screw up or we didn’t get the job we wanted. We don’t share our need for an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication.

We paint the picture we want others to see so that we don’t seem dull and boring. But you know what? Most of life is dull and boring. Most of life is just rowing.

There is no vaccine to prevent this disease, unless you avoid social media completely (you wouldn’t be reading this if this describes you). There is, however, an antidote.

Here are some of the ways we can combat FOMO:

  1. Limit exposure. We get to choose how often, and when, we’re on social media. We can set a timer, we can turn off our access, and we can move on to something more productive. If we’re having a bad day or feeling sorry for ourself then flee! Don’t even look.
  2. Sanitize. We can purify ourselves by starting our day with prayer, not Facebook. Rather than jumping on our phone or computer after our feet hit the floor, how about spending time with a cup of coffee and a great devotional or Bible? Reminders of what really matter will carry us through the day.
  3. Get a check-up. Do you think everyone else’s life really is that perfect? Is it possible someone is struggling behind the smile? Does your own gratitude level need to click up a notch? These are all questions to consider before hitting that return key.

Even as I write this list I recognize I fall way short on every single one.

I’m completely guilty of overexposure. I go through streaks of committing to start my day with God, make it a week or two, and then slip back to my old patterns. And I’ve been 100% guilty of making unfair assumptions about other people’s lives… and vice versa.

I have FOMO.

Do you?

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