some quick thoughts on Pinterest

Pinterest is all the rage among the demographics that I fall squarely into, there is no doubt. Female twenty-somethings love it, obsess over it and apparently can spend hours pinning to their hearts’ content.

I am on the fence.

I understand the attraction, and at the same time, I am not really interested in spending a bunch of time on Pinterest. I guess I just want to say this:

Pinterest is really only worth the time you spend on it if it is purposeful and helpful. Like many other social networking tools and sites, it can offer great benefits, but it can also just waste a bunch of your time, make you unproductive, or make you really narcissistic.

For example:

I have people that I follow, as well as friends, who constantly post pictures of very fit women who are working out or doing some crazy yoga pose or athletic feat. Now, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to share stuff like this, but what is the purpose? I think people like to motivate themselves to be in or get into shape. But to me, it’s not wise. It’s a pretty slippery slope to be constantly viewing images like this and potentially obsessing over them. One minute you’re happy with how you look, then you look at your Pinterest account, and you’re reminded of everything that you’re unhappy about with your body. And even with plenty of exercise and self-discipline, you may never look like that model.

We can’t just let ourselves ride a roller coaster of self-deprication and punishment because of what we’re told to look like, especially when it’s a silly picture that’s encouraging us to talk down to ourselves. At least, I know that it is unhealthy for me to view images like that all the time, especially when I am pregnant and feel kinda yucky and pudgy, and it would be really unhealthy for me to compare myself to a woman doing a headstand who has abs of steel. We don’t all have to be fitness models, and we’re not going to. It’s very difficult to find the discipline to view images like this with a healthy perspective, no matter what you look like and what shape you’re in at the time.

So, I have a new philosphy on Pinterest when it comes to matters like this: when you notice items being posted that bring you down, or seem really pointless or unhealthy or unpurposeful, just stop following the board that they are being posted to. There are people I follow who post both things I love and things I don’t, and the easiest thing to do to determine what you look at it is to go to someone’s boards, glance through them and “unfollow” whatever you don’t prefer.

I guess maybe this is a silly thing to write about, but I just feel that it’s a good general thought that we are very capable of choosing what we want to consume, whether it’s TV, facebook, or just playing around with apps on a smartphone way too often. When we’re adults, we’re not often held accountable by others; it’s our responsibility to choose our exposure levels wisely. I think it’s necessary, even with Pinterest use, to make wise choices and treat ourselves respectably. It’s easy to live in condemnation and feel that you don’t measure up to other people’s standards – in physical fitness, craftyness, style, cooking or creativity. But don’t do it. Just accept who you are, and with God’s help, improve in the things you’re able to. We could all stand to love ourselves a little bit more.