Pinterest gives me perfection envy. It stresses me out. Every time I am on Pinterest I find myself browsing through fabulous looking meals, impeccably decorated homes, professional-looking DIY crafts (particularly those with washi tape), flawlessly toned bodies, incredibly overdone birthday parties, and insanely adorable outfits. It is nauseating, quite frankly. Thankfully, those witty, sarcastic e-cards get pinned around quite a bit to bring us back to reality.
Seriously, am I the only one who feels completely inadequate when I’m on Pinterest?
As for those overdone birthday parties, I am incredibly grateful that my kids are old enough that I avoided the anxiety some mothers now feel over putting on a good enough birthday party. Just a year or two ago, an hour and a half at the bowling alley was perfectly acceptable. Now moms are feeling inadequate if they don’t have handmade centerpieces, or color-coordinated candies in adorable tins sitting neatly next to over-the-top matching party favors. I am not kidding folks, there have been actual studies about this topic. According to an article in the Journal of Consumer Culture, “The findings show that mothers could publicly demonstrate their intimate knowledge and care for their child by personalizing the birthday party through the gift of their time and effort to create a homemade’ event.”
Or you could avoid all that unnecessary stress and give the bowling alley a call.
Let’s face it. The combination of social media, instantaneous uploads, and good, old-fashioned voyeurism is changing our lives in more ways than one. Is it also changing the way you shop?
Until now, too many people (and we all know one or two of them) were willing to put themselves in precarious financial positions in order to acquire more items, such as the big home, luxury car, or name-brand apparel. Our material possessions may have made us feel some rise in social status, but that may be changing in favor of our online social status. We may no longer feel a need to be the person who actually has it all, but rather the person who seems like they have it all.
Now people can simply craft (pun somewhat intended) the perceived image they want for themselves through online profiles, followers, preferences, and so on. In fact, some theorists believe that the emotional satisfaction and feelings of stature people used to get from owning material items, is now instead being replaced by how we present ourselves online. Hence the fabulous looking meals, impeccably decorated homes, professional-looking DIY creations, flawlessly toned bodies, overdone birthday parties, insanely adorable outfits — and, yes, my Pinterest envy.
So put away your wallet, because our possessions may become less important as more of our social lives are taking place online. In the August issue of The Psychologist, Dr Christian Jarrett states, “Where once we expressed our identity through fashion preferences and props, today we can cultivate an online identity with a carefully constructed homepage. We no longer have to purchase an item to associate ourselves with it, we can simply tell the world … about our preferences.”
In the meantime, for those (like myself) who sometimes feel a dip in self-esteem when they get online, keep in mind that your contacts may be (whether consciously or subconsciously) trying to develop an image of themselves in the way that they want to be perceived. That may be the perfect crafter, the perfect party host, the perfect fashionista or the perfect parent.
Just remember what your mother always told you. Nobody is perfect.
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