The isolation of abuse made us feel like we were trapped in an aquarium. We felt exposed and vulnerable to the judgment of others. Meanwhile, from behind the walls of our glass cage, we watched the lives of others pass us by. We longed to break out of our captivity, to join in life outside of its sharp borders. That said, it was difficult to align our yearning for inclusion with our fear of exposure.

Now that we are free from our abuser’s clutches, are there still vestiges of that aquatic confinement in our lives? Today we can find ourselves continuing to look out the window of separation, under the guise of social media. Psychologist Arnie Kozak writes, “FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) happens when we invalidate the experience we’re having because we’re obsessed with the ones we’re not having.”

We are told that social media platforms foster connection and a sense of belonging. However, aren’t we, once again, peering out onto the lives of others and feeling like we’re missing out on all of the adventures? We’re afraid that everyone else is having fun without us, or worse yet, that they’re having fun and experiences that we can’t ever hope to have ourselves. This fear joins together in an orchestra of debilitating feelings like resentment, self-criticism, inferiority, and jealousy. Eventually envy rears its head, tempting us to become ensnared in its talons. Then we retaliate by presenting ourselves, on social media, in enviable ways as well. MIT professor, Sherry Turkle, says, “One of the weirdest things about FOMO is that people find it hard to live up to not only the images projected by others but also the image they’ve presented of themselves.”

Let’s reframe this tendency, so that we can exploit it to serve our greatest good. Instead of being ruled by FOMO, we can use it as a tool of inspiration. You don’t have to miss out on living your life, by regretting not living the life of others.

Activity:

  • Grab a small blank notebook, a pen, and a permanent marker.
  • Write on the front of the notebook with the permanent marker:
    • Book of Inspiration
  • Use this notebook to write down, or paste pictures of, things that inspire FOMO in you.
  • The Pinterest app can also be another great tool to use in the same way, by labeling a board “Inspiration.”
  • This reservoir of inspiration can be used any time you feel motivated to choose an activity, destination, or goal you would like to pursue.

Affirmation: I am inspired by the lives of others, and what I see around me, to live a fuller life.

Journal Cue: Have you ever had FOMO? What brought it on? How does it feel to reframe FOMO into a Book of Inspiration?

© Amanda Lee

 

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