Beware the Pinterest Effect

I love Pinterest, but sometimes it ruins my life.

At its best, Pinterest helps me crowdsource ideas for creative making. Usually this happens in the context of developing a shared home that my wife and I use for hospitality and the benefit of others. It's exciting and fun to see how creative people can be. I learn from this and become a slightly better human being.

At its worst, Pinterest changes the way I see the things I already have. They might work, but they are just fine. Then they are no longer fine. They are old. They are blasé. They are not enough.

That's probably the core issue here: What shapes our ideas of "enough"? If Pinterest maintains a controlling interest in our conception of enough, there can never be enough. Someone's kitchen accent wall will always have nicer shelving than yours. Someone's bedroom furniture ensemble will always look more comfortable. Someone's bathroom remodel will always have fresher lines, more interesting tile choices, and a more compelling matched vanity and mirror, not to mention a shower that obviously makes its owners feel like they start each day bathing in a Peruvian rainforest waterfall, except without the insects and tropical diseases.

Pinterest works best when we don't let it tell us what "enough" means.

The truth is that our identity and values need to be shaped by something stronger than comparison, scarcity, or envy. Who I am -- who I am becoming -- is going to last forever, one way or another. (That's true for you as well.) What I have will be gone sooner or later. (This is also true for you.)

Beware the Pinterest effect. If you find yourself becoming more discontent with what you have and less thankful that you have it, and if you think Pinterest isn't helping, consider logging off for a while. Be reminded that all our possessions are borrowed, temporary gifts. Remember that who we are is more important than what we have. Relearn the truth that someone else will always have nicer things, and that's OK. We can celebrate them and be content with our things at the same time.