Let the nay-sayers say their nays–mine is my partner who would rather go to the mall 2 hours before closing on Christmas Eve than be caught noodling around on a so-called digital bulletin board—Pinterest has captured my heart. A photograph of a rainy, moody street in Chicago, you can find it on Pinterest! Three butt-busting exercises to shake up your fitness routine, it’s been pinned on Pinterest! DIY wedding invitations, kicky summer dresses, clever gardening ideas, and recipes for Rolo-candy-baked-Oreo brownies, are only a fraction of the mana awaiting you on Pinterest! It is a time-siphon in the way of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube, but with an important distinction: it can feed your soul.
Pinterest is a digital pin or bulletin board that enables you to responsibly post images of places, experiences, activities, people, and really nearly anything you can think of that inspires, energizes, or simply makes you feel good. Once you sign up for a free Pinterest account you can create customized boards under subject headings such as “Dream Home,” “Clothes I love,” “Black and White Photography,” etc. The possibilities are endless. The good people at Pinterest have a user-friendly app or “pin it” button that enables you to legally “pin” images from the web or your digital device to your boards. You can “follow” other people’s boards, comment, repin, or like whatever it is you stumble across in the vast Pinterest ocean. Think if you and 300 of your closest friends got together to clip pictures out of magazines and put them on a giant piece of poster board. But, you know, much nicer.
“So chicks put up photos of wedding dresses and shoes and stuff?” my partner asked. Shouldn’t he be at the DMV right about now? “No,” I answered indignantly. He pointed at the screen to a woman’s post of a girl in a wedding gown modeled after Disney’s Cinderella. “Ok,” I conceded, but that’s not all there is to it.” And I truly meant it in the deepest philosophical sense. Pinterest trades on what is visually appealing, creative, and often inspirational. It promotes self-expression, it supports positive affirmation, it feeds our need to take in beautiful, awe-inspiring, or simply pleasurable images, and it unapologetically encourages something we could all use more of right now: the freedom to dream.
These qualities are ones we advocate women caregivers to practice and nurture to assist their long-term wellbeing through our HerSelf First resource tools. And so it was with this in mind that I created the HerSelf First: Inspiring Connections board and implemented a HerSelf First Pinterest Word of the Day project. Each day a group of women listed as contributors to our board receive a word or phrase prompt, a “pinpoint” if you will, to post about. A word like “reach” produces a picture of an elegant yoga pose, “simple” brings forth an image of couples sharing kisses on the cheek, “energize” invites several photos of ripe lemons, sunny yellow Converse sneakers, and a potter’s hands mired in clay to represent a hobby that truly energizes one pinner.
I love perusing these images. It is another “one of the best parts of my job” and time out of my day that I look forward to. Women connect with each other over these words/images, they reconnect with themselves, with parts of themselves that have been locked away, they demonstrate a strong desire to play, have fun, make each other laugh by unearthing clever, silly, or idiosyncratic images. I like to think they give themselves permission to dream again.
You can find our board, HerSelf First: Inspiring Connections on Pinterest (Use the search function to check us out). Interested in joining our HerSelf First Pinterest Word of the Day project? Send an email to Sheila@herselffirst.com.