Yes, you read that correctly.
F.M.S. Not P.M.S.
F.M.S. is a syndrome, or a theme, that runs through our lives. It stands for ‘fear of missing something’.
I first heard about it at Christine Kane’s Uplevel Live Retreat.
Christine suggested we use our down time, out of the conference, to network and brainstorm with our fellow retreaters.
However, she cautioned, if we needed rest and time to regroup, we shouldn’t let our f.m.s. get in the way of taking care of ourselves.
Hmmm. Interesting idea.
And one of the major themes of my life.
I recognized, sheepishly, that I’m governed by the fear that I might miss something if I don’t say yes to everything.
Saying yes to everything, as you may imagine, hasn’t worked out that well.
Saying yes to food I don’t need, but that I don’t want to miss, led me to gain over 20 pounds.
Saying yes to volunteering requests that simply couldn’t fit into my calendar led me to burnout and a permanent fear of chairing committees.
Saying yes to my kids’ requests for things that didn’t feel right in my gut led to regret, and backtracking, and fights that didn’t have to be.
So how could I have identified my fear of missing something?
And how can you?
Here’s what I do now.
When faced with a choice of eating something that everyone around me is eating, when I’m not hungry, I check in with myself. Question one: am I hungry? If not, why do I want to eat this? Usually I pretty quickly get in touch with thoughts like: it looks so good, I don’t want to miss it. Bingo: I’m afraid of missing something good.
Solution: I tell myself that I won’t miss something I didn’t really want in the first place. I can have it when I want it, which is actually when my body is hungry, not my mind.
When faced with a request for my time even if the idea sounds tempting, I check in. What’s driving me to say yes, when there isn’t a blank spot in my schedule? Is this something I really want to do, or am I afraid of missing something?
Solution: I tell myself that if I WANT to say yes, something else has to go. Like too many clothes in a crowded closet, I can’t squeeze one more thing in unless something leaves. Then I make a choice.
When faced with a decision to allow my girls to do something, that I, as an enlightened parent, am tempted to give to them as an experience, I check in and ask if it will really make sense right now, or am I afraid of losing an opportunity?
Solution: I tell my girls that many opportunities are tempting. We have to practice being finicky with our choices. And so we are.
If you find that some of your choices lead you to results that don’t fit in the life you’re creating, it’s time to look more closely at those choices.
Give yourself the F.M.S. acid test.
Are you afraid of missing something?
Your time is valuable.
Your attention is valuable.
Your focus is valuable.
F.M.S. is a default choice.
Make the choices of your life from a clean place, not a default place.
What are you afraid of missing?