How many of you have gotten a bad haircut, had a blemish, fell down the stairs, or ended up spilling something on your shirt and felt like the whole world was watching?
I want to tell you that they probably aren’t! Any of the above situations is enough to cause anxiety on its own, but when you have a feeling that everyone is looking, watching, and noticing your every move, mistake, or flaw, it can be very overwhelming.
The Spotlight Effect
There is a term in Psychology known as The Spotlight Effect. This term is a description of how individuals feel that they are constantly on center stage and that everyone is noticing everything going on with them.
We start to feel anxiety, worry, and sometimes paranoia because we feel like we are in the spotlight and all eyes are on us.
In reality, most people are not watching. Most people will not notice the haircut that you do not like, most people will not notice the stain on your shirt. Most people are so involved with what is going on with them and their surroundings that things like this are not as obvious as they seem to us.
We know everything about ourselves, we know our flaws and all. Maybe someone is self-conscious about a scar that they have. They see it every day, they know it like the back of their hand, so they feel that because they are aware of it, so is everyone else. This is not the case!
Think About a Time
Think about a time when you felt self-conscious about something, you probably felt like all eyes were on you. It probably made you feel anxious to some degree. You may have even mentioned it to a friend or colleague.
If you did mention it, what response did you get? Most likely the other person said, “I didn’t notice!” Then we wish that we never said anything because we drew attention to something that no one even realized.
The Saying Goes
We have been told over and over not to worry about what other people think. It is hard to live by this, because I feel like many people, myself included, do constantly worry about what people think of them. We all have a dire need to feel love, acceptance, and respect.
Life really is so much easier when you go about it with a smile on your face and not worrying about what others think. As you can see with The Spotlight Effect, not everyone is truly watching like we think they are!