Fear of Being Forgotten
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Everyone is afraid of something. For the longest time, I thought everything I was scared of was tangible. That makes the most sense. If we can see it, feel it, we actively avoid it or react when exposed to it then surely that's a legitimate fear right?
I'm learning that it's not that simple.
I've begun to recognize all of the intangible things I fear on a daily basis. More pervasive and paralyzing than my fear of spiders, bugs, and heights, these intangible fears affect the way I show up in my life and even how I see myself. Every second of every day, I fear that I'm not worthy of love, that I'm not doing the best I can, and fear that I'm letting people down.
Our generation is the generation of fear. Yes, our fear of tangible objects is very real, however, more than ever, individuals fear being forgotten. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) always seems to come up in our endlessly plugged-in generation.
Digital connectivity drives our anxiety of being alone and fuels our fear of being forgotten. Social media has amped up the volume of FOMO by creating platforms to keep people updated with the list of things they are missing out on in that moment. When we see our friends hanging out without us, we internalize and understand it as a reflection of our value or worth as a friend. When we see seemingly perfect influencers sharing their lives, we fear that our lives are inferior by comparison, and we aren't "doing life" properly.
If we don't post a picture of bottomless brunch, did we even go to brunch?
If we don't take a picture of the peak of the mountain, did we even go hiking?
No one posts about their failures on facebook or instagram, and instead our feeds are filled with self-aggrandizing content. The FOMO resulting from our never-ending comparisons to others affects our lives in both small and large ways.
For me, FOMO has manifested itself in my life as a fear of being forgotten. Not necessarily forgotten in the meta and existential way. But merely forgotten by my peers and loved ones. If I don't post regular updates on social media about what I'm doing and how I am, will people forget me? Does that take away from my worth and sense of self? For me, posting anything on any digital platform has not only been therapeutic but a source of joy and connection. Of course, I have regularly bought into the FOMO social media constantly reminds me of, and have ended up feeling lonely, sad, and depressed.