Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

After this morning's post I've been thinking a bit on the effect that Pinterest has on many of us. I addressed it briefly at the end of the post and we've had some great comments so far, but I thought that I'd continue that for this evening's post. 

I love Pinterest...but that's not how it always was. I've been through a few personal Pinterest "movements" since I started and each time I have liked Pinterest a little more. 

Stone Age Pinterest: When I started Pinterest I viewed it as another social media site. I followed all of my friends and all of their boards and not anyone else. I commented on pins, but I didn't really pin much. I didn't really get the point of it. 

Dark Ages Pinterest: Once I realized that Pinterest wasn't just another Facebook or Myspace or whatnot I started following other people. I followed just about anyone. My view of Pinterest at this point morphed into a "To Do" list. I only pinned things I planned on doing. I got quite frustrated with myself often because my projects didn't turn out like what I saw on Pinterest, or I knew I just couldn't make it (due to various conditions, restrictions, or self-judgments). I would compare my house and projects with the pins I saw all over. 

Industrial Age Pinterest: After a Pinterest lesson from my Mother-in-Law I realized that I was following way too many people and boards that I had absolutely no interest in. I started completely fresh and "unfollowed" everyone and went back through to build up boards that I was interested in. I also started to realize that Pinterest was more than just a to-do list, but I didn't want to go crazy with it...so I started a few "inspiration" and "idea" boards. I still was pretty hard on myself though when comparing my reality with what I saw on Pinterest. 

Modern Age Pinterest: I now see Pinterest as an Inspiration Board. I have pins that I want to do, but mostly now I pin things that give me ideas, that are a similar style to things I want to do, or pins that give instructions on how to do something I've never done. I now realize that Pinterest isn't reality. Everyone's homes do not look like that, everyone is not a master chef, everyone is not a DIY genius, and everyone is not a handyman/super maid/ beautician. I can see pins and pick ideas from them and adapt the idea to my reality here in my home. Does my house look like a magazine? No way (unless we're talking about the "Not-So-Clean Homes and Weeds" magazine). Do all my meals turn out? Nope. Do my projects all end in Blue Ribbon Pieces of art? Bahahaha, no. I think there are many though that haven't reached this point yet...and this is partly the point of Pinstrosity. Pinterest is not real life. 

Because a post with just words is boring and to show you a little of what I mean, let me show you a little bit of what I'm talking about. Back in May I did a post called "My House is a Pinstrosity"; I was in transition from the Industrial Age to the Modern Age of Pinterest and was still a little frustrated with my lack of Pinterest Productivity. I actually didn't finish any of those projects I talked about until after I'd fully entered the Modern Age. I'll show you. 

I had a pin from http://sproutrobot.com/ that was going to help me have the most amazing garden ever:

n May my garden looked like this:

And you know what...it still does look like that. Well, now there are a ton of weeds. I think that watering can is still there (awful, I know). I had grand ideas for my beautiful garden and what I was going to do. But then we ended up in a better situation...our next door neighbor (who is also our awesome landlady) had a garden the previous year and she was always bringing us produce out of it. We talked to her and offered to come help pull weeds, plant, water, and take care of the garden in return for some of the produce. She was quite happy with the idea...gardens are a lot of work and it just made sense to combine efforts and to have one garden between the 3 of us rather than 2 separate gardens. 

It may not be the most spectacular garden the world has ever seen, but it has been more the sufficient for all of us and it's been a blessing. 
I'd never seen such a perfect web. It was fun to look at. 

I also had this pin that had been on my board for a long time that I never did anything with:

Yesterday I finally did this. 

My closet doesn't look anywhere near as neat and pretty as the original pin (the sheets are in the top left)...but no one ever sees my linen closet but Cameron and I. It doesn't have to be beautiful. The idea of the pin was to make it easy to find the bedding you need. Pretty wasn't the point here...efficiency was. 

Many of us saw this pin when it stormed through Pinterest:

I LOVED the idea. The self portraits where you are trying to fit you and another person in never really turn out great...your faces are at odd angles and you rarely can see what's in the background. This was such a fun way to put you in the picture and still show your adventure. 

Our next adventure we did the pin...and it just wasn't us. It wasn't our idea and it felt kinda weird. We needed something that was us. So we thought on it a while and came up with our own idea that just fit us better: 

Salt River Canyon, AZ
Wood drawing models from WalMart, and then homemade clothes from fabric scraps (it took me two tries with each article of clothing...Cameron's first pair of jeans ended up being skinny jeans and that's just not Cameron, lol). We keep them in the car or my purse and pull them out when we go someone new or fun or when we just want to take a shot that says "We were here!". 

I think the Mini-Mowers (as we call our little wooden people) are just about the perfect example of what I'm trying to say. Pinterest isn't about copying what you see and recreating it perfectly so that you have the perfect home, party, garden, food, etc. (not that recreating something is bad at all...but that's not the sole purpose of Pinterest). It's there as a resource, as an idea generator, as motivation. Find things you like on Pinterest and make them yours! Perhaps the pin is already your perfect style and you can make it straight from the pin...but if it needs some tweaking, don't be afraid to jump in and put your personality into the project. Our houses don't look like magazines, our food often is less than ideal (but hey...how many times have you gotten not-so-great food at a restaurant and they are supposed to be masters at it!), our parties look homemade (because they are!), and our projects don't always look like Martha did them...and that's perfectly okay! 

Give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself (I know, easier said than done...trust me I know).  Don't be so worried about recreating a pin perfectly that you miss the fun in the project. Don't grieve over a "failed" pin and turn it into a bad experience; laugh it off and chalk it up to experience and good memories. You're doing just fine. 




  1. I think I could also be in Not-So-Clean Homes and Weeds Magazine! But, in all seriousness...thanks for this post. It's so easy to get wrapped up in our Pinterest to-do list instead of enjoying the new ideas and adapting them to our tastes & talents!

  2. Love your pinterest testing; sorry you had to evolve so slowly! You are way too hard on yourself. I started right at the Modern Age with Pinterest as an Inspiration Board; I never even considered the former states you went through! Keep up the good work.
    p.s. I did the sheet thing above too and mine look close to the original pin but I had to tuck the ends in as many of my sheets are twin-sized! And that's OK. :-)
    p.p.s. If you look at my blog you will see I have failed miserably there (even though all these Pinterest-linked blogs inspired me). Kudos to those of you who can do this all the time. And keep 'em coming!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I completely agree with you about the frustrations about trying to make life like Pinterest.

    It's hard to try and make a pin you pinned "your own" since there is a fine line between copying and being inspired. I'm still struggling with this one. But everything is inspired by something else! :)

  4. I enjoy pinstrosity so much, but I don't use pinterest the way most people do. I rarely browse for pins or use it as a search engine. I pin items I see elsewhere on the internet and don't want to forget. When I redecorated my family room last year, I was considering a couple different looks. Then I looked at my home and garden board and realized that most of my pins had the same colour scheme. Pinterest helps me track what I like, and see how it changes - or doesn't - over time.

  5. Love this post! It feels like I have been through may of those stages and arrived at the same place as you. Your site helped me to realize the joy of trying a pin not all about how they turn out. My only regret is not taking a picture of my pinstrosities. I especially want one the time I tried to melt the used crayons into heart shapes and instead it melted the silicone mold and smoked up the house. Then kids were crying because they thought I burned the crayons or they thought i was going to make them eat the burnt crayons for while I am running around trying to get rid of the smoke. Glad I think it is funny now.
    I now use pinterest as inspiration or tutorials or just to day dream about my future house/life when I win the lottery.

  6. I have seen far too many people feel that Pinterest has made them more obsessed with perfection than play and comparing themselves to others. I think that's really sad. For me, it is a treasure trove of inspiration! I LOVE it! I've always had a thing about not being quite the same as everyone else. Now whenever I do something new my daughters (6, 8, 10) turn to me and say "Pinterest?" lol. And I cannot even count how many conversations have started "I saw this idea..." "On Pinterest" "well, yeah...". In fact, my 6yo now keeps coming up with nutty ideas she wants me to post to Pinterest, LOL. I've had some humdingers of Pinstrosities (I need to get around to sharing some of them here!) but I've learned SO much and have grown in creativity and inspiration!

    One of the wisest things I did was create a board with "Stuff I've tried /attempted". I repin things I've done onto that board and edit the pin with what I learned, positive or negative. Helps keep my 50 chocolate cake recipes straight ;)

  7. A very thoughtful post! BTW, I love your dolls & the photo with them. They're like your own version of Flat Stanley. The feet picture idea wasn't original w/the pinner, btw. Yours looks really fresh and personal.

    I don't follow Pinterest altho' I'm enjoying Pinstrosity. I have collected craft clippings and patterns for many, many years and came to terms long ago with the fact that I mostly enjoy collecting, not making, them. I do have a big stash of fabric and squeak out a costume now & then though.

  8. I was driving down the street one day and saw someone with a wreath on their door that I had pinned and wanted to make. It looked nice, but I can't help but think that as my friends and I re-pin each others' stuff soon we'll all have the same stuff in our homes.

    Your little wooden figures remind me of a project I did for a friend. There's this character called Flat Freddy that you can print out and take pictures of him everywhere you go. The idea with it was to share him with friends when they went away to see how many places he could go. We made a little paper doll out of pictures of my friend. I've always wanted to make one of myself and just never got around to it.

  9. I went through the same stages, with Pinterest. I would check it out every day - ridiculous! I now check in every week, sometimes 2 weeks will go by.

    I am thoroughly enjoying your posts. You do a great job -thank you!

  10. Very well said. A great reminder for those of us who look at a picture and think "I can do that and it will turn out EXACTLY the same even though I have never done anything like it before!" (p.s., LOVE the "Mini-Mowers!")

  11. I LOVE this post. I have tried very few things I pin and this gives me new courage!

  12. This was a really great post! I had a class today for work that had to do with emotions and I used the post and the quote as an example on the self regard section. I think this was really important to say, and you did it well!

  13. I LOVE everything about this post. When my friends or family comment on how well a craft came out, I'm quick to tell them that they don't ALL come out as planned. And that they too could do it, if they just tried. I'm also sure to tell them that there's usually a few tears and/or curse words involved in EVERY craft I do. I also LOVE the wooden people idea! As a military spouse, I wish I had thought of that sooner! Oh the places those little folk could've gone!

  14. I love it!!!!!! The dolls are so awesome! My hubs and I aren't "feet" people, but we are both artists, so the dolls are definitely more "us". :) I love the idea!

  15. Love it!!!! We are a Lego family & just happen to have Lego figures that the kids have assembled to 'look' like us. I think our future adventuring pictures will include our Lego personas.

  16. Just stumbled upon this site last night. I knew someone else in the world had to have made some kind of "Pin fail" site and I'm so happy I found it! I got caught up in the Pinning world and have went through all the stages too! I've reached a point where the only projects I actually attempt are the ones I know I'll end up using and can actually complete. Making it your own is really the whole point and I love what you did with the dolls in your adventure pictures! I think I'll be implementing some kind of action figures or video game models into ours! Love your site!

  17. Late to the party, but I love this! I mostly see Pinterest as an inspiration board, and I also pin things from websites around the net. I've switched computers so much I don't even save favorites anymore, and Pinterest is a way to save those - blogs I want to go back to, articles or patterns to look at again later, and of course recipes! I know many who have had the Pinterest problem though. BTW, LOVE the Mini-Mowers! So want to do something like that for us =) Sewing the clothes sounds like fun!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.