“You must not let your negative emotions distract you from achieving your goals” (Clay Clark).
We are way more concerned about how others see ourselves than we should be and that is distracting us from reaching our full potential.
What’s known as the Spotlight Effect is when we overestimate how much people notice how we look and act.
We all know what other’s think doesn’t matter, but it’s engraved in our minds to always wonder and always be curious yet fearful of what other people have thought or said about us.
We All Perceive The Wrong Judgement
For being judged, we can’t help but think of things other people might say or judge us on.
We acknowledge judgement because it’s a natural part of society to try and fit in, blend in well, and only stand out if the purpose of standing out is appropriate for the attention we are trying to grab.
We walk passed someone and maybe silently judge them once and quite possibly take back what we thought when we approach closer or walk passed.
We may even forget what we thought not even ten seconds later because that person entered our life, and left as quickly as that.
None of these judgments take into account how we would interact with that person if necessary.
Our silent judges on appearance or anything out of the ordinary in our standards are quickly forgotten and we move on.
So why do we have a fear of that happening to us and cannot turn off that spotlight feeling?
Because we perceive others a certain way, we are terrified of how they may have perceived us.
We could have been on the edge of a really good idea for something in the future, but the anxieties of being in public sometimes take over and make us think thoughts that only distract and waste our time.
Does Any Of This Matter?
Yes, but to the extent that it is distracting.
What we think of others may come to mind just because we are bored or we just like observing the outside world.
The truth is, people walking by or people you feel might not look at you the right way are probably not thinking about you.
Maybe you thought of them, but that doesn’t always go both ways. And in the case of it going both ways, so what. Your judgement is gone as quickly as theirs and you both know from an ethical standpoint, you don’t know that person, they don’t know you, and you could both get along very well if interaction were to take place.
Silent judging protects us from what we think others might think of us.
The problem with this is the fear of being judged or the judging itself distracts us from our own thoughts as we ground ourselves back to reality when approaching someone.
We feel ourselves putting on a mask again and only wish taking the mask off didn’t make it so hard to put back on.
There is a way to stop over analyzing what others think and how to come to a realization that ignoring judgments to or from the other person helps both of you.
Listen To Your Judgments
I don’t mean listen as in yes, keep judging, but pay attention to how many people you walk passed and think about how many of them actually enter your mind and take a part in your life.
If you want to rid yourself of the anxiety caused by other people, think it through logically.
See how many people you take into account and how harsh your judgments may be toward that person.
You may find yourself some days never making a negative judgment to someone else.
You’ll notice all the background characters in your life that are mostly scenery. They are like other cars on the road and they judge you based on your actions taken and only consider you when something out of the ordinary happens.
With all of this in mind, add on to this what they might think of you.
There are too many people to be judged by all of them and too little time for everyone to make a positive or negative judgment about you in their head.
The spotlight isn’t on you with one judge, both you and the other stranger might be thinking the opposite of “what do they think of me”.
In that sense, you are both distracted, but taking time away from your life, not by each other but by yourselves together.
The spotlight effect is strong because we have to consider we are in public and must act a certain way or look a certain way. Yet that simply isn’t true.
The world is filled with everyone thinking about themselves and not of you because that would take too much time out of their day.
And I guarantee, it will take too much time away from your day to make a judgment back.