Sarah and I are continuing the #reverb challenge into 2016 with monthly prompts, you can join in anytime by signing up here. There is no obligation to write every month or even post what you write, signing up is just about receiving a prompt and using it as you wish. Use the #reverb16 hashtag when posting on social media so we can find you!
February | Super Bowl month has us thinking about our culture's inherent need to belong and to experience things together as a community. What events are important to you during the year? How do you show solidarity with your tribe?
Our human experience as part of something bigger than ourselves is something that is so basic an instinct it doesn't even register as a distinct desire, it just is. We want to be known as individuals, special in our own unique ways, but we tend to validate ourselves in our comparisons with one another - the majority of which hold the title of normal.
Kids do this at an unbelievably early age. And, they usually are not self-aware or mature enough to control their compulsions to shame and ridicule other kids who are unlike them. If a kid is different, they get attacked. It's the tribe's defense mechanism against losing the title of normal, to stay always in a majority position and feel validated and secure.
This perpetuates throughout our adult lives, usually not to the cruel extent that kids go to, but it manifests itself in more passive ways. Such as FOMO. Fear of missing out. We say yes to doing things we don't necessarily want to do because our friends are doing it and we simply don't want to be left out. They'll be making inside jokes about that funny thing that happened for the next decade and we will not have been there to be in on it. Annoying.
I fall victim to this a lot. As an introvert, the number of things that I actually want to do with people is surprisingly few. Small groups, like one other couple or even two works well for me, but parties and large crowds make me feel queasy and disoriented. But, I find that I have a hard time saying no to invites to events like these, where all my friends will be all at once, strictly because I have a FOMO.
And just like I have learned that there is no such thing as normal, I should also know by now that there is no social situation that has been so satisfying to me that it was worth the FOMO I was avoiding. OK, except for my own wedding. That which would never have even happened without me being there. I hope. LOL.
Of course, traditions that happen as part of larger society can always be celebrated privately amongst smaller groups, and in that way, the introverted among us can participate in culturally important events (if we wish), and live to talk about it to anyone who is asking later. This is the FOMO compromise.
The older I get, the more I can pinpoint exactly where that tipping point is where my personal satisfaction or excitement outweighs my natural inclination to be quietly alone. I save my energy for crowded events that are truly special, like the Adele concert G's taking me to in October, or a close friend's birthday party. And, I try ignore the noise of FOMO. I'm not missing out on anything that I don't really want to do. Now, I prioritize showing solidarity to myself, rather than the tribe, by honoring who I am.