From the Coalface {SQT} Reframing FoMO

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Head over to her blog to check out all the other Quick takes!


I was sent this wiki link by my lovely husband who was sent it by my father-in-law about FoMO… never heard of it?

Fear of missing out or FoMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”

This is the definition as used in relation particularly to the modern use of social media and how it has led to some becoming dependent and addicted to this form of communication.

It is a particularly human trait as it requires us to imagine how much more fun/interaction/pleasure etc. we might have had if we hadn’t chosen to do the more mundane thing we did do..

“FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.  In other words, FoMO perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time, as “you can imagine how things could be different

How much of my life do I fritter away as a victim of FoMO?  How many duties do I avoid for fear that doing my duty (and it typically is not pleasurable or exciting) will mean I miss out on something amazing?


Then I got to thinking about how this fear-based thinking really does dominate so much of our culture today, and is particularly fuelled at this time of the year.  Christmas is one great FoMO event for so many, that it becomes a frentic race to buy, buy, buy.

My husband and I were chatting about priorities for Christmas presents, and it is amazing how we can even project our FoMO onto our kids.  We don’t want them to miss out.  So we buy, buy, buy and plan play dates and get togethers and use the holidays to try and catch up on social interactions we don’t normally manage and eat food we don’t normally indulge in, so that we all don’t miss out!


In homeschooling, how many times do I fall victim to a subtler form when there are many voices feeding into my own FoMO.. “You don’t want them to miss out on social interaction with their peers.”  “How can you be sure they’re not missing out on getting the right academic help?” “What about missing out on Sports Days/Swimming Carnivals/Show-and-Tell” etc etc


As parents, we are constantly bombarded with others trying to put their own FoMO onto us…

“How could you have such a big family?  Are you mad?  We didn’t want our kids to miss out on a good school/overseas trips/their own bedroom etc. if we had more children they would be deprived of so many things”

“I am glad we didn’t have children straight away.  We waited to have children for years so that we wouldn’t miss out on spending time with just the two of us when we got married.”

“I am more focused on other things.  I couldn’t have more than 1 (or 2) as I didn’t want to miss out on pursuing my career.”

“I would go crazy.  There is no way I could stay home with the kids all  day as I would miss out on using my brain for more than doing the laundry, and I would miss out on seeing all my work friends/ a good salary etc.”



Despite the above, I actually think that FoMO is a good thing.  I really believe we have been given it for a reason, and just like sin is taking something good and twisting it to be something that send us off-course, so the same goes with FoMO.

What if we feared missing out on:

  • Heaven by not doing God’s will
  • True happiness : “Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. “The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude. . . . In Scripture, to see is to possess. . . . Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.”(Catechism of the Catholic Church 2548)
  • Relationship with God
  • Love from those who truly have our back in every possible sense
  • Communicating with our spouse in loving ways
  • Doing our duty in order to earn days off purgatory
  • Suffering for the sake of love so that we can all be in the most awesome social network ever invented in the Kingdom of God
  • Peace in this life and in the world to come
  • Amazing relationships with our children that brought us closer together even as we age and they become adults
  • A simple life that was filled with space to reflect and find joy in relationships, not things
  • Relationships that foster life and genuine love


Did you know that one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is Fear of the Lord?  One way to define it is as this:

[An] infused gift of the Holy Spirit that confirms the virtue of hope and inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of his help.

The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God.

The gift of fear comprises three principal elements: a vivid sense of God’s greatness, a lively sorrow for the least faults committed, and a vigilant care in avoiding occasions of sin. It is expressed in prayer of the Psalmist, “My whole being trembles before you, your ruling fills me with fear” (Psalm 119:120). One of its salutary effects is to induce a spirit of deep humility in dealing with others, especially with inferiors, since it makes a person aware that he or she stands constantly before the judgment of God.



Perhaps another way to help reframe FoMO is to think of the commandments as a roadmap for happiness, and one of these has been included to make us most happy here on earth and in eternity..

“10. You shall not covet your neighbours goods.”

Our neighbours “goods” might not so much be things (although it definitely includes them), but perhaps their “experiences” that we fear we will miss out on.  Maybe even their seeming happiness or lack of suffering or the ability to support their family financially without having to be like George Jetson slaving away day after day at the Sprocket Factory.


The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly…Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:  

Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother’s progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2539, 2540, 2535)

I am writing this for me more than anyone else on the planet, as I seek to try to do something different this year to every other year, and use my FoMO to actually want the things I genuinely don’t want to miss out on.

Have a great week everyone!


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