We live in a busy world.
Busy schedules keep us on the move from early in the morning until we fall into bed late at night. Sometimes those busy schedules continue to spin in our heads long after the light has faded and the darkness of the night has filled our bedrooms.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I see people on a regular basis who have succumbed to a culturally based pressure to be involved. They arrive at my office in a state of mental, physical and emotional fatigue and frustration. The problem, they report, is a lack of time, a lack of organization, or a lack of ability.
“If only I could get it together” they lament.
They are unhappy, discontent, worried, anxious and sometimes scared. In their disheveled, emotional state they wonder aloud what is wrong with them.
The insinuation seems to be that if only they were more capable, more organized, and better able to multi-task they would be able to manage their crazy schedule and find the contentment and fulfillment they believe their frantic lives should bring them.
They are usually a bit surprised when I disagree with their attempts to self diagnose. In fact, instead of agreeing that they are somehow lacking in their ability to manage the whirling dervish they call their life, I suggest they are suffering from a disorder of internal distress called FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out.
People struggling with FOMO, have a strong internal drive to be involved in everything.
They fear not being in the know.
They fear being left out.
They fear disconnection and isolation and their frenzied efforts to find connection often lead them to lead lives of frenetic “busyness” and chaotic fragmentation.
People caught in the grip of FOMO mistakenly believe they can quill their internal dis-ease through embracing and participating in as many social, community, organizational and business events as they can cram into their schedule. They unwittingly internalize the social norm of busy as a way to find a sense of purpose and value.
More superficial connection, more involvement and more participation, they believe, will lead to internal contentment and fulfillment. People will notice, they surmise, their commitment and dedication. They imagine this adoration will soothe the secret fear that they will never be good enough, find acceptance or relational wholeness.
And so they arrive in my office, tired, disillusioned, frustrated and sometimes down right mad. Mad at themselves, mad at others and often mad at God.
They have mistakenly fallen victim to a philosophy that tells them that internal contentment is found in an external solution.
Recovery from FOMO, however, requires a shift from the external to the internal.
People caught in the grips of FOMO are quite literally looking for love in all the wrong places. In their attempt to feel “a part of” they end up feeling “a part from.”
Instead of finding real connection and relational wholeness they find themselves caught up in a variety of pseudo or pretend relationships that leave them feeling alone, isolated and disconnected.
The treatment for FOMO is REAL.
Real Relationships, Real Emotions, Real Acceptance and Real love…because REAL always feels better than pretend.
People who experience real relationships, express real emotions, experience real acceptance and real love seldom succumb to the Fear of Missing Out.
Because they are involved in real relationships that foster real emotions, provide authentic acceptance and genuine love, they are internally content and satisfied.
They spend less time chasing the external vestiges of fulfillment because they are already internally complete and satisfied.
If you are suffering from the dis-ease of FOMO, don’t spend another day attempting to meet your relational need for connection, acceptance and love through busyness and over-involvement.
Real connection with your sense of Self, with Others and with God as you understand God is possible and available.
For more information on overcoming FOMO, learning to live in REAL relationships and additional counseling services, call Chrysalis Connections Counseling and Family Leadership Center at: