“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love.”  -John Lennon

As my mom turned to leave I latched on to her leg, sobbing, carrying on and begging her to stay.

Later on when asked why I was so sad when she left, I couldn’t come up with an answer. She gently suggested that perhaps I was worried I was missing out on something fun.

That was it. I had been gripped by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) wondering what she and my baby sister were doing without me.

Today that baby sister is a grown woman with kids of her own yet I still sometimes struggle with FOMO, minus (mostly) the leg grabbing and sobbing.

Knowing full well that I sometimes still make decisions based on my fear of missing out (FOMO) I came armed and ready to a conference I attended a little over a year ago.

Whenever I needed to make a choice about what I was going to do I would simply ask myself if I was making the decision based on fear or love.

  • Should I go out to breakfast with the group or use the time to go on my daily run and meditate?
  • Should I go for a walk and talk to my family or crazy dance with the gang to Prince?
  • Should I have a final lunch with people I had spent 3 solid days with or use the time to walk around a yet undiscovered city by myself?

Each option sounded fun yet I’m more of an introvert so taking time by myself to recharge often feels more like love. Thus, my daily run and meditation won out over breakfast with the group.   Taking the time to connect with my family and skipping the walk allowed me to both recharge and crazy dance. And since poking around an undiscovered city is one of my personal favorite past times that beat out lunch.

For me, making choices in this way felt hugely decadent. And also slightly wrong to my people pleasing side. Yet I persisted and felt good about the outcome until one of the other participant asked if I was a loner as I said goodbye to the group.

For about 10 seconds I was in full blown self -flagellation.

But then something miraculous happened.

My internal critic shut up, the embarrassment abated and I felt just fine because my choices had come from a place of love, not fear.

Now I wish I could say that was it.

But FOMO comes from a huge family so, not surprisingly, I’ve had ample opportunity to practice choosing love over fear ever since.

Perhaps you’ve also met FOMO and kin:

  • FOMU – Fear of messing up
  • FOC – Fear of commitment (Tee-hee)
  • FODO – Fear of disappointing others
  • FOSO – Fear of standing out
  • FOBO – Fear of being ordinary
  • FOBJ – Fear of being judged
  • FOOD – Fear of over doing (How’s that for an appropriate acronym?)
  • FOUD – Fear of under doing
  • And my personal favorite… FOTO – Fear of a friend from junior high posting a picture of you in a tube top.

FOMO (together with all it’s relatives) can still stop me in my tracks, just as it did when I was four.

But now I have a secret weapon to forestall the leg grabbing, sobbing and carrying on.

I simply ask the question, “Which choice feels more like love?”

With much love,