In psychology there is a term know as the "spotlight effect". This is the phenomenon where people tent to overestimate how much other notice aspects of one's appearance or behaviour. Which can then cause social anxiety and even more. The term was coined by Thomas Gilovich, Victoria Husted Medvec, and Kenneth Savitsky.
"These natural biases are a normal part of being human, but we do them more when we are not feeling good. Something that helps is to build awareness of the bias and recognise when it is happening. This takes the power out of it because it reminds us that the thought is not a fact. The power of any thought is in how much we buy into it" (Dr Julie, 2020).
How To Overcome The Spotlight Effect
1. Just remember in reality everyone's spotlight is usually on themselves, so we can often assume that others are judging us negatively or disapproving when they may not be thinking about us at all.
2. Instead of focusing on your flaws, start observing the world around you. try and focus your attention outwards and notice other people's TRUE reactions to you. This will help you to stop focusing inward on your anxiety and you will notice how little other people are actually paying attention to you.
3. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Ask yourself- Would you have noticed your embarrassing situation if you were someone else? The answer is normally no. And even if you did notice, would it really matter to you? Many of us have been caught in awkward situations ourselves. We know how bad it feels. So naturally, we would sympathize with someone who’s going through an embarrassing moment. If we assess our situation from someone else’s perspective, we’d see that it’s actually not that bad ( Tiffany Chan, 2021).
4. If you are living in fear that others are constantly judging you, a healthy response is to ask for authentic feedback from people you trust. Instead of assuming people are having certain thoughts about you or your work, you can directly ask. This way there is no guessing what they are thinking.
Just be yourself, as that's what people love, and if they don't... Well, that doesn't matter because you know that you're amazing and unique. Stay strong and be kind to yourself.
With Love, Sammi & Paris