The Spotlight Effect

Have you ever heard of The Spotlight Effect? If you haven’t heard the term I guarantee you have been a victim of its effect. Think about the last time you were embarrassed about something you did. Were you embarrassed about the action or were you terrified of people’s reactions to what they saw?  If the answer is the latter, then you are in luck. As it turns out nobody is concerned about what you are doing. They are too busy worrying about what other people are thinking about them.

In an article on Psychology Today, (link here if you’d like to read the full article,) Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D  suggests  that “We are acutely aware of our own appearance and actions, and we have trouble realizing other people might not be as focused on us. This is an example of a phenomenon called “anchoring and adjustment.” We are anchored by our own experiences and we have trouble adjusting far enough away from them to accurately estimate how much attention other people are paying us.” In other words we project how we would react onto the people around us.

Why am I highlighting the Spotlight Effect? Well, simply put, to tell you to stop worrying about what other people are thinking. There is a good chance that the scenario you have been replaying all day in your head has already been forgotten by everybody else. Move on and let it go.

2 thoughts on “The Spotlight Effect

  1. Sally Hill says:

    High school got a lot easier when I started to realize that no one was as worried as I was about my mistakes or bad hair days. Almost twenty years later I sometimes have to remind myself of the same things.


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