The fear of missing out: it’s something that we’ve all come to experience at some point in our lives, haven’t we? In college, I had a serious case of it. I recall many sleepless nights rushing from one social event to the next, always feeling the need to be surrounded by a group of people lest I miss out on something extraordinary. While I look back on those years so fondly, I am keenly aware that as someone who has their fair amount of introverted qualities, there were seasons where I was really just running myself into the ground. I was exhausted 95% of the time, yet hesitant to slow down because I lived in the fear that I would miss something, that someone else would take my place in my friend group, and that I would be left out of some special memory or experience.
Although I have now found more balance in my social life, the tendency to feel left out still creeps in every now and then. This is especially true in the face of social media. Where I may have been totally satisfied to stay in on a Friday night with a book, glass of wine and early bedtime, a quick peek at Instagram or Facebook can completely destroy my contentment. Suddenly, my solo plans pale in comparison to the dinner parties, hip new restaurants and exciting nights out that all of my friends are seemingly enjoying.
What I am realizing is that, as cliché as this may sound, it’s in these times that I truly need to learn how to be my own best friend. This is an ongoing process, but I’m finding that it starts with learning when to put my phone down, log out and unplug. Social media certainly has its perks, but we simply cannot use it to compare our lives to the lives of others. We cannot allow it to be the thief of our joy.
…I’m finding that it starts with learning when to put my phone down, log out and unplug.
We also have to understand that at any given moment we will be missing out on something. We cannot be everywhere all of the time. We cannot do it all; there will be experiences in life that we just have to miss out on. Guess what? That’s okay! Your worth isn’t measured by how social you are or how many parties you attend. Once you accept that truth, you can begin to focus your time on the most life giving and fulfilling ways for you, not worried about what your friends may be doing or what you may be missing out on.
Being your own best friend means not looking for constant outside validation, but rather, being content in your own skin. It means being perfectly delighted by your own company and confident in the way you spend your time, even if that means turning down an invitation to stay in for a night of rest. Some people are hardwired to be extroverts, bouncing from one event to another. They never crave times of solitude. Not all of us have that personality.
To both the introverted and extroverted reader, find ways to become your own best friend. The confidence gained when we learn to be comfortable alone serves to make us a better friend for when we are back in the presence of others. Schedule a date with yourself and make it a top priority. Put your phone away and don’t worry about what you may be missing. Choose to focus on the love, care and enjoyment of the one and only wonderful you.
Want to read more? Contentment and comparison is a topic that we will be delving into in our upcoming spring issue. Pre-order your copy, here.
Image via Emily Blake