Spotlight effect

At times, you may have experienced the feeling that everyone around you was focusing on you and was interested in everything happening in your life.

In reality, this is often not true, as most people are too busy with their own lives to truly bother much about what is happening in your life. Psychologists call this type of harmful thinking, where one’s mind wrongly makes one think that everyone is focusing on him or her; the “spotlight effect”. The spotlight effect can make one unnecessarily feel self-conscious and anxious.

Below is a short example of how it can cause harm.

Rachel works in a large office with many co-workers. She recently underwent a divorce and was really worried that everyone in the office was talking about her and judging her actions. Rachel was so worried about facing her colleagues that she even decided to take some days off work.

However, when Rachel eventually returned back to work, the reality was much different to what she had imagined. It was true that as soon as the divorce had happened, her co-workers had talked a little about it. However, within only a few hours, they had other things on their minds and had not bothered talking about her divorce further. After a few days, absolutely no one was interested. In fact, soon after Rachel returned to work, most of her colleagues were sympathetic to her. The spotlight effect had made her worry needlessly. Her divorce was difficult enough, and this harmful thinking done by her mind had unnecessarily made things even worse.

As you have seen in the above example, the spotlight effect can make one unnecessarily distressed. So whenever you feel that the whole world is looking at you, try and remember that in reality, people are too busy to worry too much about the ups and downs in your life. The world does not revolve around you!