Written by Dr. Danielle Delaney, Th.D
FOMO. We’ve all had it. Even if you've never heard of the acronym, the feeling or better yet, the fear, is almost unavoidable in modern society. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is all too real, and has only been made worse with the domination of social media in our everyday lives. Scrolling through the beautifully edited photos on our Instagram and Facebook feeds of our friends on vacation, at parties, and eating fancy meals has fueled FOMO to an unhealthy extent.
But, guess what? Social media is not reality. A social media account is just a carefully curated gallery of orchestrated moments meant to portray a version of reality that doesn’t exist. It’s a facade. So in actuality, you’re not missing out on anything!
When you’re in the midst of a major transition and dealing with divorce or custody issues accompanied by the pressures, strain, stress, and emotions that may accompany transition, your sense of FOMO might be even more intense than normal. It may feel like you are definitely and decidedly out of the loop, unable to commit to social situations, and feeling the loss of your more carefree, fun self. You may not have had time to commit to a workout routine since you’ve been preoccupied, diving into divorce paperwork and feeling depressed about the dissolution of your own “happily ever after.” You may have neglected friendships while navigating your own divorce, or dealing with your lawyers and logistics. As a result, perhaps the invitations from friends or co-workers have even tapered off. You may feel as if you are watching everyone else’s beautiful fantasy and breezy lunches at quaint outdoor cafes while you are experiencing what feels like your own personal and tragic “Titanic.”
When I counsel individuals, couples, and families, I like to remind everyone that what we are seeing on display on social media platforms is truly just the highlight reel of everyone’s true experience. It’s a microcosm of their real world, and certainly not the whole story. Nobody is posting pictures of their horrible food poisoning experience during that sun-drenched vacation, and no one is sharing on social media that they despise their visiting relatives, or that their children are fighting, or that their partner is being distant.
Don’t bother assuming that others are living the perfect existence, because perfection doesn’t actually exist!
When we compare ourselves to others, we often lose sight of the big picture. Everyone is experiencing the inevitable ebb and flow of life, and the secrets of what they are each individually coping with lurk beneath the shiny surface of what many post, discuss, and share. We are all dealt some difficult reality checks every now and then, and each of us processes these wake-up calls differently.
With a little shift in perspective, you can go from experiencing “FOMO” to feeling a new emotion: “JOMO.” What’s JOMO, you ask? It’s the Joy of Missing Out! You definitely NEEDED to focus on the dissolution of an unhealthy and unrewarding relationship, and that’s okay! That old saying that, “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” couldn’t be more applicable. You’re not missing out on anything. Rather, you can find joy in not being on a constant carousel of social events because, more importantly, you are busy taking care of yourself! Not participating in the whirlwind of activities it might seem like everyone else is, is likely exactly what you need as you recover from and work through these necessary transitions. You can find joy in how many occasions you said a healthy and firm “no” to, and take pride in the fact that you respected your process. Sometimes we have to give up one thing in order to do another thing really well. Find joy and pride in the fact that you respected your own needs. In doing so, the Fear of Missing Out cannot coexist with the Joy of Missing Out. Go ahead: accept your circumstances. Watch yourself evolve. Who knows, you might even find that some of the friends who were the sources of so much of your previous FOMO actually become jealous of your JOMO.
You were never really missing out on anything, anyway. When you have completed the necessary work and have processed the deep emotions that accompany dissolution, the fun will still be right there, waiting for you.
About the Author Dr. Danielle Delaney
Dr. Danielle Delaney, Th. D. is the award-winning author of Expect Delays: How to Reclaim Your Life, Light, and Soul After Trauma. She is a Certified Crisis Interventionist, a specialist in Recovery Aftercare and Life Stage Transitions, and is a Spiritual Counselor. She also specializes in the area of Adults Molested as Children, Rape Crisis, and LGBT issues. The Los Angeles Office of Protocol has hailed Danielle as “a proven asset to the City and County of Los Angeles.” Danielle maintains her private practice in Hollywood, California and she can be found listed in Psychology Today. She is a frequent contributor to magazines such as InRecovery and Keys to Recovery, and has made numerous appearances on RadioMD, Rewired Radio and various other shows. To contact her or to learn more about her practice, her book or her radio show The Real Deal With Danielle Delaney, please go to: DanielleDelaneyCounseling.com or ExpectDelaysBook.com. You can also link to her profile on It’s Over Easy The Index.