How to Use Pinterest as a Tool for Self-Discovery

I think most girls have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. On my best days it's a source of colorful inspiration that I go to when I have a few minutes to spare. On my worst days, it's a hotbed of comparison that evokes feelings of jealousy and failure.

But I've been feeling lost lately in almost every area of my life, so I've decided to use Pinterest to help get myself back on track. Get this: I'm using it as an actual mood board for life. Who would have thought?

Get to know yourself

With all the noise online and in the real world, it's tough to really hear yourself. To find that little voice inside you that squeaks out "I like that!" or "I abhor that!"

It's also nearly impossible to figure out whether or not you genuinely like something, or if it's just a trend you only gravitate towards because it's, well, trending. I don't think I actually liked chevrons when they were trending, but I felt like I had to have them.

My haphazard Pinterest use

My public Pinterest boards aren't the most organized. I generally use them for saving successful recipes, sharing blog posts and discovering paint colors (if I feel like stretching the limits of the "no painting" in our rented apartment).

I keep most of my boards secret, because they're more focused on the brainstorming process rather than concrete, final ideas.

This is where I use Pinterest to find out a little bit more about myself. It's my current favorite vehicle for self-discovery.

What can you discover using Pinterest?

If you use it right (which can be hard to do), you can make a serious dent in figuring out your style and personality. You can also discover what styles and vibes just really aren't all that up your alley.

I start by doing a search for the particular category I'm working on at the moment, then pin anything and everything that catches my eye onto a secret board. Then, I check out the board and start looking for patterns. It's as easy as it sounds.

So that's how you can discover new things about yourself, let's talk what you can discover.

Colors

Obviously. But if you're looking for a helpful spark to determine which direction your wardrobe should go, what colors belong in your blog theme, or if you're looking to start fresh with a new bedroom palette, getting to know your preferences intimately will help you develop a strong direction.

For this, it's easiest to search "color palettes" to keep things organized.

When I did this, I found out that I generally prefer bolder color palettes that include some variant of pink, orange and blue. I previously thought I was partial to grays, but there were very few grays on my final board. It was helpful for blogging, but also reminded me of my love for bright and varying colors.

Vibes

This one is a little more abstract than colors. I use my "Vibes" board to find out what overall feel I want to invite into my life.

I search for apartment interiors (I try to avoid houses and exteriors, because I'm going to be renting for the forseeable future) and office spaces.

Do you like clean lines or cutesy clutter? Do you prefer a sterile space with a few pops of color, or do you like color all day, every day? I've found that I don't like the cluttered or busy look as much as I used to, and am leaning towards more sparse spaces.

It's reminding me that I need to keep it simple, which is a wonderful reminder during chaotic times of life.

Styles

Use this to determine where you're at and where you want to go. What you wear has a lot to do with how you feel and project yourself in the world. Pin anything that resembles something in your current wardrobe, and also pin things that you can see yourself wearing five years from now.

The five years from now rule is helpful because it automatically escalates your style and keeps your mind focused on classics rather than trends.

From this, extrapolate a few keywords to describe your style. Is it professional? Festival-chic? Hipster? The best I have for myself is...bright and a little bit stripey. I'm a work in progress.

Manifest it, baby

Now make it happen. Identify the places in your life where you feel like you're in line with what you've just discovered, and where you're not yet in alignment.

For me, that means that there's a rug that has to go. It's just the opposite of everything I want for my home.

But beyond that, I've found that I need to do some digging to find pleasure in colors and variety again—something I've lost sight of in recent years. I've let some drab items and drab mindsets in to my life that I have to rid myself of.

But first, a few words of caution

Keep in mind that this is purely for inspirational purposes. These boards are not to-do's or wish lists for your next shopping trip. Go for the mood, not for the specifics, because if you get too focused on replicating your boards you will find yourself sucked into that comparison trap.

It's tough to maintain a perspective on what's realistic and what's not when you're online. It's even more difficult to accept the imperfections in your own life that Pinterest can highlight. No one likes feeling "not good enough," and if you don't approach Pinterest with a healthy, inspiration-seeking mindset, you'll leave the site emotionally drained.

Do you have a healthy relationship with Pinterest? How do you use it?