Mending My Love-Hate Relationship with Pinterest

If you know me IRL, you probably know that Pinterest is by far my favorite “social media” app, a development that occurred over the past year. I tend to not spend much time on regular social media apps like Snapchat or Instagram simply because they take too much time out of my day and don’t necessarily make me feel the best. Pinterest, however, visually looks like a social media app without having all the added pressures, like having to constantly interact with media (aside from just “pinning” it) or worrying about the amount of “likes” you get. Pinterest allows you to go down the rabbithole into your own personalized feed, but rather than acting like another TikTok, you tend to see posts that can help with self-improvement, ranging from motivational quotes to fashion inspo to recipe ideas, instead of comedy or dance videos. That, along with the limited amount of interaction you actually have to keep up with, is what made me fall in love with Pinterest. However, lately I’ve been realizing that my relationship with the app is actually more of a love-hate one. Let me explain.

woman working on her laptop at desk, with notebooks, flowers, and coffee on desk Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

As I mentioned before, there are many reasons why I love Pinterest. Ultimately, I love that it allows me to organize my “dream life” in such an aesthetically pleasing way, and I love the inspiration the pins will spark in me, as well. However, I’ve come to realize that living vicariously through this app isn’t making me as happy or inspired as I initially thought it did. Instead, it tends to make me feel like my “dream life” is way too far out of reach, and that it’s something that I will never fully be able to achieve. This all-too-familiar feeling is how I tend to feel after spending too much time on other social media applications, and it’s also one that I thought I’d never associate with Pinterest.

When I first realized that my relationship with Pinterest wasn’t all love, I took a break from it. Until I was able to pinpoint exactly why I was suddenly feeling averse to the app, I didn’t want to give it much more of my time. Ultimately, I concluded that the problem wasn’t just that my “dream life” felt quite unattainable (because at the end of the day, Pinterest is still a form of social media, and therefore only features the best of the best photos), but also that I wasn’t taking any inspiration from what I’d pinned and actively including it in my life. Since coming to that realization, I’ve been trying to refine what I pin. I consciously pin only things that I know I can incorporate into my life, such as a new hair color or fresh outfit, rather than those that are completely unattainable, such as living in a cottage in the countryside or travelling throughout Europe for a year.

I know this may seem obvious - why pin anything so drastically unattainable? However, that never used to be my train of thought. Instead, I figured I would pin anything that I thought fit the idea of my “ultimate dream life”, no matter how unrealistic that goal was. Now that I’ve been consciously filtering my pins to only those that I could add to my life at the very moment I pin them, or perhaps a year or two down the road, my love for Pinterest has returned. It now feels like I’m planning actual, concrete life goals rather than simply longing for a dream life that, realistically, I may never be able to attain. 

writing in book with cup of coffee and croissant Photo by Cathryn Lavery from Unsplash

So my advice to any fellow Pinterest-users would be to use the app as a way to set attainable, fairly short-term goals rather than insane, super unrealistic life goals, because living vicariously through the app tends to ruin your mood, but using it to plan the look for tomorrow’s outfit or the aesthetic for your dorm room next year adds the fun right back into it!