Living Venn Diagram

This is a creation of my own that started from the DBT (dialectic behavioral therapy) idea of wise mind. Wise mind is when you find a middle space between the extreme thoughts of rationality or emotion. It is the basis for the dialectic in DBT. I have a hard time discerning if my thoughts come from a place of emotion or rational mind, so instead I created a different sort of matrix that allows for a more abstract mindset.

There are three overlapping circles that stand alone, creating four points of cross-over. Tolerance, Purpose, Recharge, Challenge, Effectiveness, Bliss, all overlap to create a Life Worth Living. Outside of the equation you have a box for where you can create personal boundaries for what you are willing to tolerate. Below is a rough outline.


Time to define what these terms mean/ how to use the chart.

Tolerance: The original idea of this diagram was attempting to figure out things I would be willing to tolerate while I was in a depressed state. Honestly, everything I thought of sounded terribly boring or difficult- as such things are with depression. So I began to think. “What are things that I like doing that others might not?” That is a great place to start with tolerance. It isn’t that you get joy out of doing the activities listed in this circle, it is that it doesn’t have a toll on you personally that makes all other actions more difficult. So- not things you enjoy, but things that don’t drain you either.

Recharge: These are the activities and actions that you actually feel more energized and fulfilled after completing. Again, this can be incredibly difficult to brainstorm in a state of depression. I let some of my depression work for me though. For example, knowing I have some co-dependent traits, I allowed potential time with my significant other to be on the list. The goal here is not to just how much the activity re-energizes you or to judge the effectiveness of it, just simply to realize the things that help you maintain your drive.

Purpose: These are statements of what you value and believe are important. Maybe you don’t know what actions those look like yet, but still you have a strong sense of community diversity, for example. Think of times in your life where something felt important to you and how that emotional state felt. Think about things that get your hopes up and that you are afraid of losing. Really consider your personal values, not what other people tell you should be important. Look over these three and see if you are inspired my any new crossovers or memories. Examine any themes you might see and move onto the overlapping sections.

Effectiveness is the cross between Tolerance and Recharge.  That means it is time to examine the things you are willing to work at and the things that give you energy. Effectiveness is comprised of different skill-sets that you can use to make the things you can tolerate better and the things that recharge you have greater influence over your actions.  This overall makes day to day activities feel more bearable.

Challenge combines Tolerance and Purpose. These are things that are hard to do, but hold intrinsic personal value for you.  This idea is essential to maintaining momentum and seeing success in the activities you work on. Challenge does not have a goal marker, but rather is ongoing and developing so that you have the strength to face your fears. Life is full of experiences that we might not enjoy, but this makes opposite action feel meaningful and hope less helpless.

Bliss is very similar to the idea of flow, and is found in-between Purpose and Recharge.  If you are not familiar with the state of flow- it is the concept that when you are doing something that has value to you personally, that you can lose track of time and any other personal needs fulfilling it.  It is an ideal work environment, one that is both fulfilling and rewarding. Here is where you can brainstorm the things that make you happiest, and ways to do them. Following these concepts can make your actions seem more meaningful to you and get you on a path to personal success.

Living with purpose is at the intersection of all three main circles. These are meant to be ideas where you can track patterns you see emerging between the sections and come up with a personal effectiveness plan. It is the heart of opposite action when you are facing a challenge you don’t really want to deal with. By combining the three categories, you are able to see why you might not want to do it and what will make the action more acceptable.

Intolerable: This side category is useful for setting boundaries for things that go against your personal set of values. Having boundaries gives you an honest sense of yourself and what is important to you. Don’t let yourself be bullied by another person or even a singular category if you feel you would be compromising something important to you. These are also the draining activities that take away energy from you but also that you don’t really value.

Find your middle ground and opposite action to live your best life. Make choices, take action, and be as honest with yourself as you can. Hope it works well for you and I hope to hear your thoughts on it as well!


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