Can You Pin Happiness?
I joined Pinterest a few months ago to see what all of the fuss was about and to share my quotes and book information. I spent a few hours over the next week exploring various topic streams and signing up to follow boards that I found interesting (fitness, vegetarian, inspirational quotes). I love Pinterest for inspiration and ideas (those pumpkin recipes floating around last month made me want to take a week off work to spend in the kitchen!). Despite the positive impact that pinning can have as a virtual muse and design board, I also see a dark side casting shadows on the perfect pictures.
Many pins have the effect of ramping up expectations, often to levels that are impossible without a trust fund, a gaggle of helpers, or rib-removal surgery. It’s so easy to get caught up in the beautiful pictures, one after another, and to let your mind fantasize. The images cement our daydreams, providing a goal that may be inspirational or may be utterly unattainable. There is a fine line between reading a quote layered over a fitness model and feeling encouraged to work out and feeling frustrated that no number of hours in the gym will be able to give you that physique.
Nowhere does this setting of expectations get more out of hand than on the wedding boards. These are some of the most popular pins, making the rounds among women of all age: married, single and in-between. There are photos of elaborate dresses with price tags to match. Pictures of cakes with carefully crafted fondant. Images of budget-friendly decoration ideas. But they all have one thing in common. They’re perfect.
I get it. It’s much easier to focus on a single day than the parade of days that create a marriage. We can try to convince ourselves that a picture perfect wedding will somehow trickle down into the years of the marriage. Sadly, the proper shade of aubergine (what color is that, anyway!?!) for the bridesmaid’s dresses will not mitigate that recurring argument about the dishes. I wonder what a real life marriage board would look like? Probably not so perfect 🙂
I fear that too much time spent perusing perfect pictures will move a person away from happiness as the gap between their expectations and reality grows ever wider. Be a discerning consumer of media of all types. Filter what you are exposed to and limit yourself to images that inspire you and lift you up. Watch yourself and be prepared to go on a media diet if you find that you are becoming too engrossed in the pursuit of perfection. And for goodness sake, please get off the wedding boards:)
Pin it then live it. Don’t let your dreams only exist in the digital world.