With the rise of social media, it is easy to feel like everyone else is constantly having more fun than you are. Whether it’s a post of a delicious-looking meal, a check-in at a late night happy hour, or a photo album for a class reunion you didn’t attend, there are endless reminders in our faces of all the fun things our friends are doing that we weren’t there for.
Social media gives us all the opportunity to carefully curate and present the best possible version of our lives to share with the rest of the world. We get to choose exactly what we post, allowing to share only the highlights and leave out all the boring, mundane bits.
While the various forms of social media are a great tool for keeping track of our friends and connecting in different ways, the downside of all this online interaction is that, for the most part, we only see the happy, exciting events going on in other people’s lives and this can give us a skewed representation of how our lives compare to those around us.
Fear of Missing Out
FOMO – fear of missing out – may seem like just a silly acronym, but this feeling that something cooler is always going on can be quite detrimental to your happiness. When you constantly think you are missing out, it takes you out of the present moment and makes it hard for you to enjoy whatever it is you are doing right now.
Especially if you live in a big city where there are lots of events, parties, and activities going on, there is never enough time to make it to everything and you can easily spend your whole life in a constant state of FOMO. How sad is that? To go through life thinking that there is always something better you could be doing with your time, someone cooler you could be hanging out with, a hipper party you could be attending?
Joy of Missing Out
I would like to propose that instead of getting lost in this feeling of FOMO, we instead start focusing our attention on JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out. Instead of constantly feeling worried that there are so many things we could be doing and not enough time to do them all, how about instead we delight in the fact that we live in an age with so many amazing options available to us! How wonderful is it to live a life that is so packed full of opportunities that you can’t possibly experience them all?
What if, instead of spending all our time on social media comparing ourselves to what everyone else is doing, we put down our phones, practiced some mindfulness, and became completely immersed in whatever we were doing in that moment? Instead of packing our schedules as full as possible so that we can experience every single bit of entertainment the world has to offer, we could slow down, take some time for ourselves, and practice some self care so that when we do spend time with friends, we are present and engaged with them. We could spend more time losing ourselves in the moment and less time wondering what else we could be doing.
There are always going to be other things going on that we’re not a part of. At the end of the day, it’s less about your outer circumstances and more about what you have cultivated internally. If you practice the art of being grateful and present for whatever you are participating in at the moment, you will forget about all the other cool things going on and learn to fully appreciate and enjoy that which is right in front of you.
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Olive Ryan is a traveler, educator, blogger, photographer, lover of glitter and acro yoga enthusiast! Although her hometown is Portland, Oregon, she has lived in and explored many corners of the world and looks forward to spending the rest of her life doing so. Find more of her writing on her travel and wellness blog, oliveabroad.com.