Saturday, June 15, 2013

Perception Is Not Reality


What if you held the belief that all drivers in L.A. are rude?  You’d drive a stretch of freeway and encounter drivers who cut you off, flip you off, or are too busy texting to notice they’ve veered into your lane.  In other words, you’d be right about L.A. drivers.  The worst!

But what if you believed L.A. drivers are nice?  You’d drive the same stretch of freeway and encounter drivers who slow to let you into their lane, give a friendly wave, and drive safely.  In other words, you’d be right about L.A. drivers.  The best!

So which is the truth?  The answer is:  both.

Generally people find the evidence they look for, filtering out what contradicts their viewpoints and focusing on that which confirms their beliefs.   This is also true of the ideas people have about themselves, their likeability or lovability.

What negative beliefs do you hold about yourself?  
ie, “That guy I met at a party last week didn’t call me.  I must not be thin (or pretty /smart/funny.) enough.”

What actual evidence do you have to support these ideas?
“When I was thinner, I had a boyfriend. “ (this is not evidence; it’s selective interpretation /correlation)

What about alternate evidence?
“I weighed the most in college, and I had the nicest boyfriend then.  I guess it isn’t all about my weight.”

Where did these beliefs come from?
“My sister was gorgeous and she always had boyfriends.  I guess I grew up thinking that you had to look a certain way to be lovable.”

What’s an alternate notion you can hold about yourself?
“I’m caring, loyal and fun.  I don’t have to look perfect to be lovable.”

When you feel better about yourself, when you value yourself and are interested in your thoughts, emotions, needs, and wants, you may feel calmer and better about yourself, and be less inclined to turn to or against food as a way to deal with those internal conflicts.

And that's how you make peace with food!

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