Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Problem with Pinterest

I don't want this to be long, but I think it will be. I don't  know the best way to write down my thoughts, which will probably result in verbosity. 

Before anyone starts thinking I'm about to get hypocritical, let's put everything out in the open: I use Pinterest. However, I do not like Pinterest. I used to loooove it (look at all these ideas to make my classroom/teaching/cooking/wifeing/homemaking/relationshipping/mothering THE BEST IN THE WORLD!). 

Pinterest is ruining us. I don't think I'm exaggerating. 

I read an article on KSL a few months ago about food. You know how people take "food selfies?" It was talking about that--how we are exposed to good looking food every where we turn: we see amazing looking dishes on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. Our friends' food always looks SO good. Then, when we go to make the dish we've just seen, or when we attempt to eat our own meal, our satisfaction with what we're eating is decreased. We have such high expectations based on everything we see, that our own food just can't live up to our expectations. It was a really interesting article, I wish I could find a link. I totally believe that. How many times have you or I been disappointed in a recipe because it didn't turn out they way we thought it should? 

The problem goes so much deeper than food. We are starting to feel dissatisfied with our whole LIVES. Do you think I'm wrong? 

As I mentioned, I used to love looking at Pinterest. There were so many great ideas to make every area of my life just a little bit better. A little prettier, a little more organized, a little tastier, a little skinnier. I don't think trying to improve ourselves/our lives is a problem. But it's spiraling out of control. What I see on Pinterest is how to make every aspect of my life perfect. 

Consider the titles of pins I've seen recently. 
"The best toys for your 3 month old to encourage proper development!"
"How to get rid of all stomach flab!" (Pinned by a young teen. Broke my heart.)
"Perfect summer decoration" (I have to change my pillows, blankets, etc based on season??)
"How to have flawless skin"
The list could go on and on. Let me make it clear: there are great things on Pinterest. Pictures of the Savior, scripture study aids, quotes from conference, great, healthy recipes, etc. I love seeing those things. And there's nothing wrong with the other pins. Beautifying our lives is a good thing. But I think we are walking an incredibly fine, gray line (as Spencer would say). 

We're constantly fed images of perfection, and think we need to be that way. It's impossible, not to mention unnecessary. Your house doesn't need to be perfectly coordinating and organized. Your body doesn't need to fit into the ideals of society. Your baby doesn't need designer clothes/toys; he needs love. Same for your marriage--while you need to date, you don't need fancy dates and gifts. 

I wish people were more realistic about life. About the only time you see "real" pictures on social media, it's because you're looking at a before/after. 

"Look at how my home/classroom/food/style/body used to look! How embarrassing!"

While we should work on bettering our lives, we should do it to glorify our Lord and make ourselves better, not so that everything seems perfect.  

 1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

I want to take care of my body because the Lord gave it to me. I want to be the best in my marriage because we have been sealed, and that's an important covenant. I want my house to be clean and tidy so we can always have the spirit in our home. I will never forget something Baylor said to me. He was picking up his room and said, "I want to keep my room clean because I know the spirit likes to be in clean places." That is good parenting right there! I hope this upcoming generation can focus on the real reasons for doing things, instead of thinking, "I want this because it's what I see online." 

Again, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a perfect looking house/body/classroom, etc. But I do think there's too much emphasis on being perfect. We need to make sure the more important aspects of our life aren't slipping away. 

I just worry that satisfaction is becoming impossible to achieve. The more we see, the more we want, the less grateful we are for what we do have. The more we see, the more time we spend trying to replicate what we see, the less time we have for the important things. 

The reason I'm writing this post is because I have completely, 100%  fallen into the Pinterest trap lately. I just had a baby and we just moved, so naturally everything that is talking about post-partum bodies, raising a child, and decorating your house is interesting to me. I have been stuck in a rut of trying to perfect everything in my life, even though it's not necessary and I've never felt this way before. I never thought I cared about having a Pinterest looking home. But suddenly I do care, and I think it's because I'm spending more time looking at that stuff. 

We know that what you see and hear becomes part of you. The facade of social media is no exception. 

Spencer and I have talked a lot about the trap of social media lately. He's helping me stay grounded. I will never forget what he said to me at the beginning of our marriage. I was browsing the Hair and Beauty section on Pinterest one morning in bed. Spencer woke up, looked over, and said, "You know I don't expect you to do any of that, right? I love you the way you are." 

I don't know what to do about my Pinterest account. I do feel hypocritical. I just keep thinking about all the recipes I love that I don't want to lose by deleting my account!

To end this verbose post, I'll end with some real pictures from my life. I'm not trying to say my house is gross, or dirty, or clean, or cute, or anything. I just want to say, "This is my life. This is reality. I'm done trying to mirror what I see online!" 

Our dressers don't match. But they do what we need them to!

Towels ready for the laundry...

Curtains waiting to be hung. And I'll admit I'm obsessed with our "Take time to make a moment" and picture of the temple. 

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