Fat and The “Be Nice Rule”

The “Be nice rule” is an oppressive rule that we learn early in life. If we are sensitive, easily hurt and have experienced significant emotional pain in our lives, we are a good candidate to adopt this rule as a way of life. We know what it feels like to hurt. God forbid that we would inflict such pain on others. We want people to like us. We have found a way to avoid rejection from the people in our lives. The secret is to “ALWAYS BE NICE”. No matter what! Smile, look pleasing, nod your head when people talk, act as if you are agreeing even if you aren’t. Tell them that they look great even if they don’t. Tell them that they did a good job even if they didn’t. Conceal your personal truth for their sake. Abandon your opinion for the “good of the cause”. Avoid conflict at all costs. The outcome: People will love you! They will say that you are so NICE. They will want to be around you. They will seek you out because you are such a good listener and make them feel comfortable. It’s ALL GOOD! So, what is the problem? You ask.

The problem is we have become liars. Good ones at that!

match your INSIDE SELF?


We are also COWARDS. We are so afraid of rejection that we will tell anyone anything that they want to hear. We lack integrity. Our outside self does not match our inside self. We are, as Brennan Manning says, “Posers, fakes, and wannabees.” Sounds, harsh, doesn’t it. It is sobering when we realize how much God emphasizes being committed to the truth. One of the Ten Commandments is “thou shalt not lie”. (Exodus 20:16). Satan is described as “ a liar, the Father of lies and the truth is not in him” (John 8:48). Scripture commands us to “Speak our truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and tells us that “we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” (John 8:32).

The price we pay
for pleasing others
is that we are miserable!


How does this tie into weight control? I believe that we create problems for ourselves when our goal is to please others. We move far away from who we really are. We betray ourselves and our personal truth. The ANXIETY from this can cause us to medicate with food. If we risk speaking our truth and someone gets hurts in the process, then we feel GUILTY as if we have done something terribly wrong. We will eat to soothe our guilt. Therefore, the price we pay for pleasing others is that we are miserable. We are fat and unhappy. Our self-esteem suffers because we know on a deep level that we are not “truth-tellers”. We put other people first, not because of a godly, altruistic motive, but because we are FEARFUL. We will never get a handle on our food issues until we face and embrace our fear.

Begin to ask yourself in every situation:
“What is my truth?”
“What is my fear if I speak my truth?”
“Am I willing, with God’s help,
to risk rejection to become a truth-teller?”


Muster up all the courage inside, and speak your truth. Experiment with it, knowing that you will “bump up against the sides” in the beginning. You do not need to be perfect; you just need to make progress. Even if it does not go well in the beginning, pat yourself on the back for being brave, and see how your eating patterns begin to change with this increased level of honesty in your life!


This article is by Jennifer Cecil, M.Ed., LPC