Sometimes I spend so much time lost in my thoughts that I forget to take a step back for a broader perspective. You can relate, I know it.
I most often notice this happening when I feel an uncomfortable (to me) feeling: melancholy, loneliness, anxiety, fear, anger… something that usually seems like it will never end.
While my future, Wise Self knows that the discomfort will eventually pass, my current Self sometimes wallows, and my mind gets stuck in The Vortex of Lies & Doom. All of my brain’s capacity is hijacked by the ideas that “I’m a failure” “I’ll never be loved” “I’m not worthy of the dopest life I want for myself “ “Every relationship I touch turns to dust” “How dare I want something different/better/bigger” … etc.
If you have ever experienced a heart-wrenching break-up, or depression, or anxiety, or anything emotionally traumatic (because human), you most likely have your own versions of these “I suck, therefore I am” inner monologues.
The Vortex of Lies & Doom can be debilitating, and will squelch the life force and motivation right out of you.
I’ll bet you know the feeling.
One day over the summer, while feeling stuck in one of these unbearably painful thought-vacuums (where vibrance and splendor goes to die), I discovered a strategy to re-focus my thoughts.
A total sucker for visual data a la colorful charts and graphs, I found this technique to be self-validating, tangibly satisfying, and was very accessible (even while spinning out in The Vortex) because it required very little time and effort.
The technique I describe is known as My Resilience Pie.
The idea is that you think about your whole life (which magically shifts your focus right away out of The Vortex!) up until this point and recall all of the things you’ve overcome, and have shaped you into the wonderful human you are right now.
Since the fun/easy/happy experiences are rarely challenging enough to make us grow (the personal development kind of grow), recalling the challenges and struggles that you have survived is especially powerful. And then putting them down on paper in a way to visually represent just HOW MUCH of those experiences contributed to your current, vast YOU-ness is just… Mmm. ZAP! BOOM! POW!
Yep. I want that for you.
Here’s what to do:
1. Make a list of the things you’ve experienced that have contributed to YOUR resilience.
a. This list can be as specific or as vague as you’d like.
2. Draw a circle. Unless you’re a perfectionist ahem Alexandra, use a compass, or trace the circumference of an overturned (dry, empty) pint glass.
3. Section out your pie according to how impactful each of the listed experiences were.
4. Add color to your pie, and label each of the sections (if you want).
You now have a visual representation of how badass you are, in the (very nerdy) form of visual data!
I put mine on my wall adjacent to my workspace so that I can remember everything hard I’ve been through that has shaped me into the hella brave, powerful woman I am now.
I plan on making one every three months as a way to keep track of anything new that I’ve lived through, to notice if the weight (/impact) I’ve assigned each experience has shifted, and to see if any experience stops making the list.
I took it a step further and shared my pie on my Instagram, and the positive responses were almost overwhelming. People learned things new about me, stuff that just doesn’t usually come up in everyday conversation. It felt like I revealed a new layer of complexity about my personality and strength. Kinda like scar stories, but for the heart.
If you decide to make a Resilience Pie, I highly recommend sharing yours on your social media as a further tool to let your network know that you are so fucking brave and endlessly deserving of kindness.
I love you.