Recently, I’ve felt a growing sense of exasperation at COVID-19 inspired crazy behaviours. Why are people continuing to ignore the directives to stay home? Why do they seem to spit in the face of being a “good citizen”? Since it’s in my nature to try to understand human behaviour, especially during the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 landscape. To the best of my ability, this is what I’ve come up with.

FOMO

I didn’t think that FOMO (fear of missing out) was really a thing until I saw it playing out in this life or death scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. Who would’ve thought that being told not to go to church, have a beach day with friends or visit family over the holidays would spark a deadly rebellion and a pandemic of FOMO?

To be honest, I have a hard time connecting to this FOMO phenomenon to begin with.

  1. I’m not religious, so I don’t connect with the need to practice religion no matter what. However, when I put myself in others’ shoes, I can see how the need to feel connected to a higher power during this scary time is high on the list. I wish people knew that there was a way to be connected 100% of the time, without necessarily having someone else be the connector.

  2. I take a hands-off approach with my family (I know how that may sound to some; for me it works great). I used to have an obsessive codependent need to be around family, but it was my own intense need for love and approval. I don’t NEED to see them anymore out of panicky fear that they will forget about me or that I would somehow disappear if they weren’t there to reflect my existence. Now that I’ve loved myself through that, I feel connected to them and we have a heart-centred peaceful coexistence. And this is also the reason my favourite saying is from Ram Dass: If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.

  3. I’m an introvert and I love my own company. I love to be alone and I feel most at peace when I have my own space. I have found a soulmate who fits in nicely with my life now and I love spending time with him. I am happy in my own bubble of the two of us and I don’t feel lonely or deprived. I’m saying this from a place of knowing the other side of it: I did experience bone-chilling loneliness while I spent years, in fact, a decade, being totally alone while simultaneously losing my mind and wringing my hands for a good part of my day. So, if you’re single and feeling enraged at my statements, I get it.

I guess what I’m saying is I’ve reached a place in my life where I am content and I can be happy and feel grateful no matter what is going on. If you’re about to launch a Jon Taffer rage tirade on me, I assure you I have experienced my share of loss, tragedy and trauma in my life that includes dealing with suicides, alcoholic related deaths, drug addiction, mental illness, addiction, abuse and violence.

I am not numb to what’s happening. I am simply not drowning in fear, pain and upset right now. I’m not writing this to make you feel bad if you are. I want to offer another alternative.

I’m here to say, it’s possible to feel joy, happiness, peace, contentment and excitement for the future.

You may not be there right now, but maybe you can allow yourself to open up to that possibility.

FOMO is about panicky grasping.

FOMO is frantic.

FOMO is making people make choices as if they have no other choice. I have to see my family this weekend no matter what. I have to go to the beach because it may be the last chance. I have to go to church so I can be safe and saved.

FOMO is a way of coping–acting impulsively to give you a false sense of control. If you go to the beach, visit your family or go about your “normal” life, you may feel like you’re thumbing your nose at the big, bad Coronavirus, but guess what? Other people will suffer because of it.

None of us have control over what is happening. None of us know what will happen.

I’d like to introduce a new concept: YANA (You Are Not Alone)

When you feel yourself being pulled into FOMO, repeat this to yourself. Tell your friends, neighbours and anyone you know. YANA is the truth, no matter what. The more you remind yourself of this, the more evidence you’ll see of our inherent connection.

Do you have FOMO? Can you get behind YANA instead? Comment below

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