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Under the Spotlight

If you’ve ever had to walk past a line of people to take care of any type of business, while you’ve been acutely aware that your hem is falling down on your trousers, you’ve struggled with the Spotlight Effect. You know when they all turn around to look at you at once, and you’re embarrassed and trying to hide? That’s it. You’re under the spotlight. In fact, all the lights around you have been switched off, and there’s this single beam, trained down on you. Come out, come out with your hands up.

That is the spotlight effect, and guess what. Everyone struggles with it from time to time, and no one really notices us anyway (because we are all too busy on our phones, or constructing our own issues to stress over).

We are the centre of our universe

Here’s why it’s such a big thing for us. We are at the centre of our own universe. I don’t mean that in any kind of a bad way, it’s just the truth. Everything we know, learn, observe, absorb, etc is from our own perspective. It can be difficult to understand sometimes that other people think differently to the way we do, so that trailing hem? Well, that would definitely be noticed by you, but really not by anyone else (except our own mums, mums always notice these things).

When that line of people turns to look at you, they’re not seeing you. They’ve been made aware of a change in the status quo, and it’s a basic response to it. No one is bothered in any way by your trailing hem, no one will point it out, and they instead may be busy checking their own to worry about yours.

Let’s imagine that you are someone, who, like me, tends to dress in a fairly conspicuous manner. How many people do you think will actually care? We’re not back in the 1970s, when blue-rinsed grannies would fall over themselves laughing at the sight of a punk with green hair (hello, can you say hypocrisy?). Most people really couldn’t give a monkeys, and if they do notice you, there’s a fair chance it’s for some reason you haven’t thought of, and it’s generally a positive thing.

We are egocentric, so who cares

Our basic egocentrism causes us to have these misperceptions of how people will respond to us. Our self, our ego, is our centre. It makes sense, in that case, to have the feeling at a basic level that others notice and care the same way we do; but of course that’s not the case, because we all have our own egos to take care of. Bear in mind, our own bias has a blind spot; we tend to think that people place equal weighting and importance on the same things we do. No one cares that I have purple hair, no one but me, and that’s how it should be.

Don’t let the Spotlight Effect ruin your day. Dance like no one is watching, because we are ALL, until logic kicks in, too busy worrying about how we look to other people.

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