And that goes for HGTV, too. And Facebook. And nearly all of the other blogs out there. Mine included.
A friend and I were talking yesterday about how reading blogs – especially those written by healthy-living bloggers or stay-at-home moms with beautiful houses and high-end cameras – can distort our perception of ourselves. We hold a yardstick next to our lives – messy, busy, great but tiring, with kitchens that get dirty and cars that need an oil change – and compare it to these women who seem to have it all plus the perfect top-knot to boot, and … well … we find ourselves lacking. It feels like a competition.
It’s hard to remember that we see only what they want us to see.
My deep, abiding love for Pinterest is no secret. Yet, I have to admit, I don’t think it’s the healthiest indulgence. I pin picture after picture of cozy cabin bedrooms or hamocks on wide-boarded porches or funky yet perfectly staged living rooms. Then I look up from my laptop at a tiny apartment with Craigslisted furniture and my heart sinks. But it shouldn’t. I am damn lucky. While I would give my left arm for a washer and dryer and second closet (oh, and yard please!), our place is cute and has great windows and allows us to live below our means. And it’s ours. Our first place. No, we don’t own it, but we also don’t have to sweat bullets when the faucet leaks or air conditioner blows out.
I would love to have the perfect marriage and perfect family and perfect house with the perfect garden and perfectly DIYed dining table. Not to mention the perfect career and perfect ass and perfect Anthrolopologie wardrobe.
Or would I?
Honestly – yes, kind of. These are all things I value and/or covet. At the same time “perfect” sounds pretty boring. What would challenge me? What would I rail against? What would be on my endless to-do list?
What would be the point?
And, of course, there is the little matter that perfection is an illusion. People use the internet to create an idealized version of their life. They post rage-inducing vacation pictures on Facebook and link to intelligent articles on twitter to show they are globally-minded. They write blog posts about their workouts and organic meals and post pictures of their adorable laughing kids or newest West Elm purchase.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Jealous. Jealous. Jealous. Jealous.
This is normal. It’s human nature to want to put your best face forward, to convince the world that you are in control of your life and everything’s just grand. To want to be envied, just a little bit. And it is, unfortunately, human nature to look at what others have and assume their life is better, easier, and more fulfilling than your own.
But it’s all bullshit.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with Pinterest or Facebook or blogging. I enjoy all of it. But the internet is this clusterfuck of beautiful lies, and it’s easy to be blinded by the message that is so carefully crafted by everyone involved.
By the way, I realize that this is all quite self-absorbed. This blogging, pinning, and pining away. This ridiculous quest for perfection. I don’t think there is anything wrong with seeking happiness, but I know I need to let go of my desire for perfection. It leads me to focus my efforts on crafting this impossible life instead of dedicating my energy to something worthwhile, like real, tangible, day-to-day relationships. Or giving to others. Or even just stopping to relish a sunny afternoon. It leads me down a dark and lonely path of comparison, competition, and dissatisfaction. It leads me to nowhere.
The quest for perfection detracts from what matters.
I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. And I don’t blame the source. I just need to remember that the power to change my perception, to understand that what I read is only a sliver of reality, lies within.