Self-Perception

My deepest fear is that I am fundamentally flawed.

Somewhere in the darkest recesses of my psyche lies the belief that my personality, or the core essence of who I am, is broken, wrong, and defective.

I remember feeling this way when I was very young.

I think this core belief was formulated over time as I watched myself interact with others.

Grown-ups had to talk loudly and sternly to get me to listen.

I still seemed to exasperate them.

Mostly, though, the issue was with kids my own age.

I watched myself get bullied, teased, and pushed out of their circles.

I strived to make friendships, only to wind up rejected.

There was that amazing private school, south of San Francisco on the Peninsula, that had a three-day-long immersion interview process. After watching me in the classroom and on the playground for three days they decided not to let me into their school.

They said I was plenty smart enough.

That wasn’t the issue.

I was crushed. I wanted to go there so badly. It felt like utopia to me.

We appealed, and I spent another three days there, just so they could be sure.

At the end of the last day, they reaffirmed their no.

I never learned what I did wrong, but it felt so familiar to me.

Fast forward five years.

I didn’t get into any of the private high schools I applied to.

I had perfect grades and perfect test scores.

So what was the basis for their rejection?

The interview. My “me-ness” must have come out.

Or the letters of recommendation.

Sealed, of course. Whispering words of my true nature.

We all have our core fear.

Our deepest suspicion.

This is mine.

So later in life, when I found myself chronically heavy, chronically depressed, and unable to lose weight and keep it off no matter what I did, it was easy to believe that the issue was that I needed to learn to love and accept myself.

Self-love.

That would fix it.

I spent two decades in therapy, sorting all this out, and working on loving myself.

Over a span of twenty years I’ve worked the 12 Steps probably eleven times, in five different 12-step programs.

It all helped.

Seriously, it did.

But at the end of the day, I was still fat and depressed.

And I still felt flawed.

Then I found Bright Line Eating, and it told me something different.

Stop eating sugar and flour.

Put your food on the scale.

Trust.

So I did.

The weight came off.

And over time, with each healthy bite I took, I watched myself treat myself with love.

Each night, I wrote down what I was going to eat the next day, and each day, I ate only and exactly that.

I had never followed through on my promises to myself with food before.

I had always made promises, and then decided to rewrite the rules later on.

I’ll only have one small bowl of ice cream.

Well, maybe one more.

I’ll join this gym and work out regularly until I’m really fit.

Ugh, I’m too tired to get to the gym today. I’ll go tomorrow.

Over and over I betrayed myself.

Even while I felt like I was trying my best.

Bright Line Eating was a game-changer for me.

It boiled my whole life down to one day.

For this ONE DAY, can you eat what you’ve committed to eating?

You have it written down right there.

Breakfast.

Lunch.

Dinner.

That’s your food for today. Can you eat only and precisely that?

Why, yes.

Yes, I can.

Just for today.

So I did.

And I do.

And over time, years upon years, this daily act of faithfulness, of loyalty to myself, has changed me.

Healed me.

I watched myself treat myself with love, respect, and care, and as a result, I started to believe that I loved, respected, and cared about myself.

Twelve years later, after observing my treatment of myself day upon day, my entire self-concept has changed.

Today, in my deep, inner core, I feel whole and true.

In fact, I feel glorious.

There is a scar there, for sure. The scar of my old wound.

It’s not gone, but it’s healed over.

It doesn’t gape with redness anymore.

I know and remember that I have believed myself to be flawed and broken.

I love and nurture that wounded-bird version of myself, and am gentle with myself when I still sometimes feel insecure.

I come by it honestly.

But the fear part—the fear that it’s really true—that’s the part that’s healed.

In 1967, Daryl Bem, now Professor Emeritus of Cornell University, proposed something called Self-Perception Theory.

His radical idea was that we learn about ourselves—our attitudes and beliefs—through watching our behavior.

Just like we learn about other people by watching their behavior.

This is counterintuitive.

Usually we assume that our attitudes and beliefs cause our behavior.

Self-Perception Theory says no.

It’s the other way around.

In other words, It’s not “what’s eating me,” it’s what I’m eating.

How I treat myself with food is, for me, a keystone habit.

When I change this one thing, everything changes.

In the past, when I betrayed myself with food on a regular basis, it was hard to conclude that I really loved myself.

I treated myself worse than I would ever treat anyone, even someone I totally disliked. When it came to food, I abused myself, deliberately deceived myself, and flagrantly broke the promises I made to myself.

The only conclusion to draw was that I didn’t value myself, didn’t like myself, and didn’t believe I was worthy of being happy.

I got all this from watching how I treated myself.

Today, because of Bright Line Eating, this is all different.

I love myself.

I know I do, because I show it through my actions.

I know I feel worthy of happiness, because I watch myself take steps to protect my happiness.

I don’t eat sugar or flour.

At meal time, I stop what I’m doing, and prioritize eating a healthy meal.

I’m worth it.

I go the extra mile to write my food down in my little food journal the night before.

Even if I’m getting home late, like last night.

Last night I arrived home past midnight, fresh from delivering a live webinar in my office across town.

I arrived home late, but I didn’t just collapse into bed with my husband, who had kept the light on and was waiting for me.

Nope.

I took the time to plan out my breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next day, and commit them in the Bright Line Eating online support community. (It only took five minutes). Then I filled out my Nightly Checklist Sheet and wrote in my Five Year Journal. I prayed. I brushed and flossed. I hung my clothes up on hangars.

THEN I crawled into bed.

One of the best things about spreading the message of Bright Line Eating is getting to watch the effect it has on others, in a very short period of time, who experience the power of Self-Perception Theory for themselves.

Just from making a commitment to what they’re going to eat for the day and sticking with it, their whole world changes.

I interact with them day upon day, and watch them bloom.

Yes, they lose weight and start to look and feel great.

But the real beauty is what happens on the inside.

Everything feels different, they tell me.

I like myself.

I trust myself.

I feel in control now.

My whole world has changed.

And I say, I get it.

I really do.

With love,

Susan

 

P.S. – For just a few more days, my free 3-video series on the Psychology and Brain Science of Sustainable Weight Loss is available for unlimited viewing. It’s like a college course on how to lose weight and really keep it off. In fact, I teach this stuff in my college course on the Psychology of Eating. But the series will be taken down soon, so don’t delay. Happy viewing!

Video 1: Don’t make the ONE HUGE MISTAKE that will keep you from losing weight.

Video 2: Learn how to CONQUER INSATIABLE HUNGER and OVERPOWERING CRAVINGS.

Video 3: Discover the BRIGHT LINE EATING SYSTEM for getting HAPPY, THIN, and FREE.

(Note: Video 3 will be released on Thursday, May 28th.)

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Linda S

    Wow this brought tears to my eyes….the words about treating yourself worse than someone you didn’t like! I really never thought of it like that but it’s so true!

    Thank you Susan! Looking forward to June 5th

    Reply ·
    1. Linda S

      Just to add even though I’m looking forward to it I’m also afraid of failing….

      Reply ·
      1. Pam

        Linda, wish there was a double Like/Like button for your posts.

        Reply ·
  2. Joan Irwin

    I anxiously await video #3. Thanks for all you do!

    Reply ·
  3. Fran Yates

    Susan,
    What size portions of meat and vegetables are allowed per meal ? Are starches like potatoes and pasta allowed?
    Everything u teach makes sense, i just want to d0 it right, portion wize.

    thanks

    Reply ·
  4. Susan Deogracias

    Dear Susan,
    I believe in your Bright Line philosophy, but I think your recent post is a bit too self centered. If I spent the amount of time concentrating on myself that it appears you do, I would be thinner and divorced. That is not an option. I would rather be fat. Rent the movie “Big” with Gwynneth Paltrow. God, and people worth knowing, see you for who you are, by the way you act, not by the way you look. I think you would find peace if you truly accepted that you are loved by the Divine.
    I would most definitely love to be a smaller version of myself, but I will not compromise my relationships by putting myself first. My talent is to be a servant, not to be served. I am trying to follow Bright Lines in a manner compatible with my beliefs and I do thank you for your information and videos.

    Reply ·
    1. Claudia

      Dear Susan Deogracias,
      I so disagree with your post and very sad to read your words. This bright, intelligent, honest, and beautiful human-being, opened up her heart and let us into a bit of “her” history and what she learned on “her” journey. I believe the title says it all, “Self-Perception”. I’m not sure how one would write a post on Self-Perception if they were speaking of someone else. As for being self-centered, this is her forum/blog post… With Peace and Love

      Reply ·
  5. Eric Schantz

    Susan, you are such an inspiration to me. I can relate to every single word you typed here. To see the amazing trail you have blazed for yourself, me, and so many others, gives me constant hope and encouragement every day!

    Reply ·
  6. Linden Morris Delrio

    Truer words have never been spoken. My life is forever changed Susan. Now at goal weight I get to live my dream, every single minute of every single day, thanks to you and BLE . There is an amazing “trickle down effect” as a result of keeping ones word to oneself, day in and day out. Treating oneself with dignity, respect and compassion! A real game changer for me! I love you Susan. I love BLE and how it has effected every area of my life in such amazing ways! I love BLE for the ways it will continue to affect my life, in ways that I can barely imagine right now! BLE is the most potent mind drug I have ever done!

    Reply ·
  7. Mary Lou G.

    Having just turned 78 (and being overweight-now-obese) for most of those years, maybe I’m too old for
    this program??? …….many programs (which worked for a while) have been tried but the lost weight always came back. Although weight has been a big problem, I believe God has given me a better self-perception than you seem to have gone through in your blog. I’m glad that is better for you now.

    I have seen a part of 2 of your videos but didn’t have time to complete them and then they are lost as there
    is NO pause button to allow for finishing later so it is difficult to really watch them.
    I have a prior commitment on Thursday so would miss the webinar. Is it still permissible to join the
    boot camp? Nothing is said about cost……..what is the $$ commitment for your program? How long does it
    last?
    Please answer — Thank you

    Reply ·
  8. Deborah Summers

    Thanks, Susan, for sharing your personal story. It revealed me to myself in a profound way. I don’t think I will ever be quite the same. This post is really what turned the key for me and made me decide to sign up for Bright Line Eating. So grateful.

    Reply ·
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