Love This Pose.

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to be on Pinterest while I’m planning my wedding. But, I actually have needed to use it for work recently, and I was reintroduced to one of my greatest pet peeves on the site. You know what I’m talking about. Those pictures of beautiful people and families and newlyweds embracing in a strange how-did-they-do-that kind of way and the user-provided caption below:

Love this pose.

What bothers me so much about this? It’s the idea that these pinners are trying to mentally and digitally catalog these poses for their future photo opportunities because they want to look just like that. They want their hands to make perfect hearts and for their babies to look so happy that viewers can practically hear her giggles.

But by focusing on creating the perfect pose, they’re already taking away from future candid photo ops. They’re planning out how happy and flawless they should make themselves look rather than truly focusing on the joy of the event being photographed.

Love this pose on Pinterest

A quick search for “love this pose” on Pinterest and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Why are we really posing?

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?

I actually had this idea brewing when Mike Burns from The Other Side of Complexity shared one of his older posts on Facebook titled “On Posing for Acceptance” While he wasn’t talking about the same style of posing, it made me think of what this means in an alternative context.

When we focus on poses, we’re putting ourselves in an unnatural state. Why do we do it? So that other people can look at us and view us as the ideal. It’s all about being seen instead of feeling or experiencing what’s going on around us (hence my general distaste for the concept of “selfies” as well).

Don’t get caught up in what the internet tells you. The internet will tell you to stand like this, walk like that, and while you’re at it change your hair color and get taller. Poses are not one-size-fits-all, and they certainly don’t look good on everyone. The only thing that looks good on everyone, unfailingly, is authenticity. (Especially if you’re a total goofball and make weird faces in every “serious” picture you try to take).

I’m not saying that you should never pause and smile for a camera. What I’m advising is that you stop collecting “poses” like they’re Pokemon (gotta catch em all) and start reveling in the moment.

Stop going through life by standing still in your favorite poses. Start moving forward, candidly and genuinely.

Don’t waste time looking for cameras.

What is your favorite photo of all time? Is it perfectly posed, or is it candid?

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My Break from Pinterest

That’s right. I’m officially off of Pinterest for the next 9 or 10 months. I’ve already shared my opinion about Pinterest before on this blog, and I wanted to reiterate it now that I’m engaged (gasp!) I’ve spent my fair share of time pinning away dreamy things on Pinterest and thinking of the day when I’ll walk down the aisle.

Pinterest makes me think everything in a wedding looks so rosy. Not quite. I’m sure I’m going to be tired, my teeth aren’t going to be glowing white and I’m absolutely, 100% sure I’ll be sweaty. (Sorry for that–but it’s true). I’ve sworn off Pinterest while planning so that I can clearly imagine my wedding the way I want it to look and not be inundated with possible alternatives that might make me second guess myself about silly things like colors and the amount of mason jars I can realistically fit into my decor.

Pinterest has started to come out as an added stress during wedding planning, setting unrealistic expectations for the day. With all of those beautiful and widely varying images laid out in front of me, I can’t help but think I’d want it all and then be disappointed when it doesn’t come true.

My less-than-perfect fix? Google images. That way I can only see precisely what I type in to the search bar. I see pink and green weddings. I see paper flowers. I do not see royal blue weddings with 24-Karat details. I do not see purple macaroons or yellow and white fresh Easter Lilies. I’ve picked my colors and my flowers. Pinterest, you’re just too tempting.

See you on the flip side, Pinterest!

The Cleanse: Pinterest

You have a choice to make, right now. Before you pin your next pin, before you browse your next DIY Board, you have to make a choice. Will you use Pinterest for good or for evil?

I’m feeling rather cynical, so I’m assuming you’re using it for evil. I’ve used it for evil. I still do, when I’m in the mood.

Is there a wrong way to use Pinterest?

Yes. Pinterest is a beautiful, well-designed inspiration tool that can help you design your life. Down to the colors of your throw pillows and accent doilies, it can help you visualize your new home without lifting more than a finger. Some power pinners can plan every detail, while those of us who more casually browse can get general ideas and color schemes from images we find beautiful.

But here is what Pinterest is not: an escape. If you are using Pinterest as an escape pod from your everyday “ugly” lifestyle, you need to shut it down. Turn off your computer and run very far away from it. Do not spend one more minute on the site.

Rilke Quote

Rilke telling it like it is. I may pin this image out of irony.

But I like Pinterest better than real life.

I did too for a while. My life isn’t nearly as rose-colored and beautiful as the lives of people on Pinterest. I had to break it to myself, and I’ll break it to you too. The secret of their happiness? Professional photography. Excellent lighting. Great makeup. Tons of spare time. Photo filters. Photoshop.

If you’re measuring your happiness up against what Pinterest offers, then you’re doing it wrong. People in pictures on Pinterest are smiling  because they’re not thinking about how good this will look on Pinterest. Amazing DIY projects are not the result of hours spent on the site—they’re the result of hours spent working on a craft.

How do I reduce my addiction to Pinterest?

First of all, find out if you have an addiction. Then, identify if you leave the site with a plethora of new ideas, or if you come away wondering why does my life suck? If it’s the latter, it’s time to cut down.

I still go on Pinterest. I love it. However, I’ve changed my use of the site. How often do you go back to your boards to see something you’ve pinned? (Especially if it’s not a link to a useful post or cool DIY project). If you’re like me, the answer would be never.

minimalist Pinterest board

Does anyone else see the irony in having a Pinterest board devoted to minimalism?

So instead of overwhelming myself with weird digital baggage, I stopped pinning to many boards. Right now, I’m pinning minimalist images that inspire me to further reduce clutter in my life. If I find a link particularly useful, I pin it to my secret boards along with the engagement ring ideas I stored up to give my boyfriend (not a joke. I’ll talk Pinterest and weddings in a later post). By using secret boards, I don’t feel like I’m broadcasting my general good taste (please read that sarcastically) to others.

Instead of browsing everything, I turn to specific keywords or particular boards, to avoid overwhelming myself. If I find myself clicking through to a retail site in order to purchase something, I call it quits. Shut it down. I’m not on Pinterest to shop. I’m on Pinterest to be inspired. For free.

That leads me to my final point:

Did you know that Pinterest is a goldmine for marketers? Consumers spend more money and purchase more things more often as a result of Pinterest use than any of the other top social media sites. There’s tons of Pinterest marketing info on how best to get casual pinners to convert. You may think you’re on Pinterest for inspiration, but oftentimes you’re actually there to be marketed to (that’s why I try to avoid browsing consumer products).

Give Pinterest a break. Use your time wisely, and actually start working on one of those projects you pinned months ago. I know I should.

Are you a friend or foe of Pinterest? Let me know in the comments.