You compare your plate to others'.
You strive to increase various portions of your plate by setting goals, like making New Year's resolutions. You try to get healthier, make more money, become more spiritual and get more organized. It seems life is about adding to the all-important "plate." For most people, what's on your plate determines who you are, how you see yourself, if you allow yourself to be happy. You judge yourself based on what's on your plate. It's what you think other people see and judge you on. It's what you present to the world.
When your life changes, something on your plate has also changed.
You may lose the "relationship" component of the plate. Maybe you've been dumped, so there's no more intimate relationship on the plate. You may not have children yet, so you feel you're missing the all-so-important "family" portion that the world tells you must be on your plate. Or maybe you've been downsized or suffered an illness. You may imagine that what's on your plate protects you, makes you feel big and special, loved and accepted. In reality, it is what makes you even more vulnerable.
Many parts of the plate may change at once.
You may get divorced, lose a parent and then have a health issue. Or you may get married, move and start a new job.
The question you really need to ask yourself