Pieces of the Pie

I was talking to my coach last week and sort of doing a mental dump of a collection of small, medium sized, and maybe biggish things that were frustrating me or sucking my energy in different ways. As we went around and around, I settled on something that had been bothering me for most of last week (and probably many weeks before then, too.) and just went deeper into what I was feeling. Hurt, worry, sadness, frustration, anxiety and anger. They were all there.

But what made me angrier than anything else was that when I could look at myself from a 3rd person point of view and put some distance between me and the issue, I could see how little it mattered. I knew that if it all worked out wonderfully, I’d be remotely happy (mostly relieved to be done with the issue) and if it didn’t work out, I’d be devastated.

Does something sound out of balance to you too?

Despite the fact that I could see it clearly, it still ate at me. In fact, knowing this disproportionate kind of caring only made me madder at myself. Then I sort of had a visual of a pie chart.

I thought what if my whole life was a pie chart and each slice was the things that mattered to me. And the size of each slice corresponded to how much these things mattered to me. The more important the item in my life, the bigger slice of the pie they get. Things like family and health and self-care. And then there would be other, medium sized items like service, friends, creating, reading, learning, work etc. And then a ton of small slices. Things that I am doing now, things that matter but not nearly as much as the others. And then some slivers.

The thing to remember is that I get one circle. If I made one item larger, I am taking that space away from something else. And things are proportional. How much more is family important to me than work or creating, etc.

What I love about having this circle is that it allows me to keep things in perspective. This means if I am worried about something that’s a small slice of my pie, stressing about it as if it’s a huge slice is disproportional. It might upset me a lot. If I were coloring my chart with levels of happiness for each, that one slice might be black even. But it doesn’t spill over to the other slices. If my family is a happy yellow, then the black from this small slice should not seep. It should not get to determine the color of the overall pie. It’s just a slice. And a tiny one at that.

For some reason, this visual helps me a lot.

It’s easy to say the words “keep it in perspective” but, to me, those words are rarely effective. However, once I see it with my own eyes, when I can see the space that slice occupies in the pie that is my life, it just works for me. I can step back. I can disassociate/compartmentalize more easily. I can stop it from consuming me.

All of which helps me stop the “reacting.” The anxiety, fear, anger and even sadness are all reactions. They are my way of making meaning from actions. If I can remember to keep the pieces of the pie in perspective, it allows me to respond and not react. It also allows me to remember what matters most.

And as Tara often quotes: the most important thing is to remember the most important thing.

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