I first came upon JOMO (the joy of missing out) in Oliver Burkeman’s column in The Guardian. I was instantly excited. Currently, I have been practicing the art of choosing. JOMO was the complete embodiment of this art, a freedom. Oliver Burkeman explains JOMO as the idea of being personally joyful from declining invitations. For example, say you are invited to an amusement park with your work friends. This outing sounds like fun, right?
But my highly sensitive brain would think: “Do I really want to spend more time with these people? I mean I like them, but isn’t 8 hours a day enough?”
Then the inevitable thought: “Roller coasters make me feel like I’m plummeting to my death. Why am I putting myself through that again?”
While these might not be some of the things you think, it’s the train of thought I am attempting to highlight, not the thoughts themselves.
These thoughts eventually lead me to the inevitable conclusion: I DO NOT want to go! Statements such as these used to make me feel lame, unadventurous, and even cowardly. Then I allowed myself to accept my own opinions despite the opinions of those around me and I was comfortable enough to say OUT LOUD that I do not want to go to the amusement park! It is not something I find enjoyable. I do not think it is necessary to force myself to do something other people think is cool.
This acceptance gave me freedom.
It opened my eyes to the freedom I have as a human being to be vocal and definitive about what I do and do not like. I do not need to feel ashamed about this idea. I do not need to whisper it and hope no one hears me. I can (literally) shout it from the rooftops, because it is how I feel and I do not need to be afraid of that. Accepting my own feelings gave me the freedom to express them. When doing so, I realized people around me actually felt the same way. I was astounded. It is one thing to feel alone in your own weirdness, but to be surrounded by people you care about who share your weirdness? Now that stirs a sense of belonging for sure.
While I briefly explained my journey through accepting a part of myself, it did in fact take me years to realize this. I deleted social accounts to avoid FOMO (the fear of missing out). I kept others in case I ever wanted to see anything, but generally completely ignored them (and I really do mean completely ignored). I had such a strong fear of missing out that I avoided everything just to not feel bad about myself, my life, and my situation. I did not have the money or the time to go out every night, travel through Europe, and shop at Barney’s every weekend. It simply was not possible for me.
After years of doing this, I started to wonder what the point of feeling bad was. Why was I sad? Did I want to be sad? Did I want to depress myself because of viewing other people’s Facebook and Instagram photos? I realized that I did not. I did not want to be jealous of other people, I did not want to wish to live their lives or that my life could be different. These thoughts led to my decision to work on not feeling bad about not doing things and engage in things that I enjoyed.
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I created the blog One Sensitive Day at a Time, and it has been extremely therapeutic for me. In the beginning, I wrote posts before I even launched the site. I wanted to be sure that when I did manage to get readers, they would actually have something to read. It has been my most favorite part about the blog process. Being true to myself and doing something for myself has given me the most profound sense of peace.
You have the freedom to accept yourself. Wherever you are in life right now, accept your life as it is. While others might be at a “better” place, this is completely in your own belief. You have the power to change this belief. You are completely capable of being happy and highly sensitive at the same time. You have the freedom to choose.