One of the biggest concerns I hear from women who are embarking on the AF lifestyle is FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out.”
WHAT IS IT?
If you’re not familiar with this term, it can simply be defined as the feeling of anxiety derived from a perception (keyword: perception) of missing out on something or that others are having more fun than you are. Google goes so far as to include that this feeling is often “aroused by posts seen on social media” in its definition.
In my terms, it’s a tale as old as time – plain, old-fashioned comparison.
And let’s not forget, my friends, that comparison is the thief of joy. But we’ll get to that.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
FOMO happens in all areas of our lives: relationships, careers, friendships, and so on. We’re constantly in a state of comparison and spending our time looking outward to calibrate the barometer of our worth inside: if we weren’t invited, don’t have this or that, didn’t meet the same goals as so-and-so…the madness goes on and on. And the worse and worse we feel.
As it relates to drinking one of the biggest hesitations I hear is a fear of the fear itself: that living without alcohol means will mean FOMO forever. We think, “If I don’t drink, won’t I always be in a state of FOMO?”
And it makes sense. Most people equate drinking with fun. So if you’re not drinking, how can you possibly have (or be!) fun, right?
It’s a common fear and you’re not alone. But I want to point out that FOMO happens ALL the time, with or without alcohol. Look at our kids – they are constantly triggered by FOMO on social media. I don’t drink anymore and I still have to check myself EVERY SINGLE DAY about comparing myself to others. FOMO is not drinking-specific. It’s everywhere and we have to keep it in check lest it derail our inner focus one filtered photo at a time.
HOW TO FIGHT IT.
1. Replace it with another activity. This might get some eye rolls and I get it. In the beginning especially, it’s like “Sorry, lady. Knitting & Netflix isn’t going to be as fun as a night out partying with my friends.” But the truth is, you’ve been equating drinking with fun for so long that how do you actually know what you – the real you – would do for fun if you didn’t automatically just default to drinking?
Maybe you DO enjoy knitting – you just don’t know it. Maybe you forgot how much you love reading or bowling or camping – and I can guarantee that there are new hobbies you haven’t even tried yet because you’ve been in autopilot drinking mode. Once you don’t have it to fall back on, you’ll be surprised at how many fun things there are to do and it gets exciting to try!
2. Hey, do it anyway. If you really want the party or staying up late, by all means, do it. You always have that option. You can still stay out until the sun comes up, go dancing, go to the Superbowl party, see live music…just don’t drink alcohol. Just because you’re there doesn’t mean you HAVE to imbibe. Realize that with or without alcohol, you’ll have good “fun” nights and not-so-fun nights – just like you did when you were drinking. This just reiterates the point: alcohol isn’t the reason for the fun. In fact, when you’re ready, I challenge you to watch a night out with friends unfold sober. It might not be quite as “fun” or glamorous as you remember it to be.
3. Set some personal goals. When you’re working on your own shit and crushing goals, you’re less and less concerned with what other people are doing. Your self-esteem improves and you increase your sense of purpose and fulfillment. Not to mention, it feels pretty amazing when people, including your drinking friends, start asking you what YOUR secret is. Your inner badass comes through and people notice. So find some women who want to better themselves, set some goals, get accountable, and get to it!
4. Redefine FUN. Since alcohol does not EQUAL fun, it’s really important to own the concept of fun – for YOU. It always surprises (and saddens) me that when I ask women what they do for fun, a lot of them grow silent. Either they aren’t having a lot of fun in their daily lives or it’s been so long since they’ve asked themselves this question. It stumps a lot of women. What IS fun to you? Is it socializing? Laughter? Eating meals together? Letting loose sometimes? Get to the root of what you’re really looking for deep down and then create it. If it’s laughter and friends, plan a dinner party. If it’s the feeling of letting yourself loose, sign up for a tribal dance class. You might have to do things out of your comfort zone, but guess what? That’s where the magic happens
Unpopular truth: If you can’t have fun with friends without drinking, you need to start making different friends.
5. Kill the social media. Speaks for itself. I know it’s the way of the world these days, but at minimum mindfully reduce your time on it. Take the apps off your phone. Unfollow anyone or anything that makes you feel “less than” or triggers a feeling of FOMO. Period. This is YOUR platform. You make the rules. Own it.
6. Life an AF life! Living an AF life is one of the most healthy and fulfilling ways to live. You won’t believe the magic that happens when you finally take a much-needed break or let it go for good. If you’re still feeling FOMO when you’re not drinking, it’s ok. It may take some time to figure out the other things that need to be added to your life to make it more fulfilling, but I’ll shortcut this for you: booze is not one of them.
Now for my favorite part: tough love. When you’re not drinking, you WILL miss out on some things, but they are things you yourself admit that you no longer want. So you have to get really comfortable with that.
By saying yes to a new life, you have to say no to some things. That’s the reality; acceptance is a part of this process. A little discomfort is healthy and will serve you in this journey in the long run. Move through it.
FOMO is just another version of the more-more-more syndrome. As drinkers, especially those of us that drink in excess, more-more-more is a “thing” with us. It’s what keeps us wanting another glass when everyone else at the table says “I’m good”. It’s what makes us finish the bottle just because it’s in the fridge. FOMO is unhealthy for everyone, but especially for more-more-more drinkers. We already have the mindset that what we have is never enough, so peering into other people’s lives and gauging our level of contentment on what is going on outside of ourselves is a dangerous and slippery slope. It’s time to reel that shit in.
In brighter news:
- Flexing this muscle gets easier!
- You may not believe me now, but not drinking actually enhances your life (many times over), where alcohol consistently takes away.
- You can absolutely still have fun without drinking and you might even have MORE fun, or at least different fun, which is also fun.
The key is changing the conditioned belief – the thought – that alcohol equals fun. This is only a thought and a thought can be changed.
And let’s get real here: What are you really missing out ON? Hangovers, health problems, lost time, lost energy? Memories missed, potential accidents, wondering what you said/did, embarrassment? The list goes on. It’s just more and more “same old, same old” experiences. Waking up feeling like shit. Heart fluttery anxiety. Regret.
Newsflash: you don’t have to go to the drinking party.
You already KNOW what happens at the drinking party.
FLIP THE SCRIPT
I’m not belittling anyone’s feelings here. Fear of Missing Out is a real thing. But I’m here to tell you that there’s something far more powerful – the Beauty of Missing Out.
By holding boundaries and keeping commitments to yourself, you are living your life on YOUR terms and there is nothing more empowering. You don’t sway because of what others are doing or because of an urge you feel in the moment. You’re committed to a much larger goal and a more beautiful, fulfilling life and future.
Quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself. You’ve got a bigger and better destination in mind and no amount of alcohol is going to get you there.
And the best part?
Pretty soon, you won’t even give a rip.
You’ll be feeling so good in your own skin, your own choices, and who you are that no amount of filtered photos will make you question your decisions.
It’s the sober rebellion, baby. OWN THAT SHIT.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in