My SELF in a social world – spotlight and the illusion of transparency

As we navigate life, in the center of our worlds, before anything else, is ourselves and our sense of ourselves. Our sense of self, permanently engages the world in different ways. 

But we are not aware that we perceive life in so many different ways; in one day we might be in a good mood, we can wake up with enthusiasm and a big energy to pursue our dreams, while other days might find us lacking motivation, with grey surroundings and sad faces. Is like experiencing different lives everyday, from the moment we see the sunlight till the moment we go to sleep. The only thing that we sometimes forget is that we CREATE those days, those short lives, by the way we sense ourSELVES, which may vary. The way we sense the self in the world around us, is shaped by the we perceive ourselves.

The perception is nothing else than THOUGHT

“Now, in a dream, our mind continuously does this….We create and perceive our world simultaneously…” – Inception – 2010


The idea is that 100% of our experiences or the world outside of us is actually taking place “inside” us. Our experience of reality is created from “the stuff that dreams are made of”. The bigger the distortion between data and thought is, the bigger becomes the distortion in self-image.

If we perceive something from the world outside in a certain way,  we respond in a certain way, creating specific results which will affect our sense of self and utterly self-belief.

Let’s think about this: In one morning, you wake up and notice your hair staying up weirdly in different angles. It is too late to fix it, because you overslept so you use a bit of hair mousse and run at work thinking and being self-conscious about your very bad hair day. You expect your colleagues to say something, but nothing happens. You ask yourself “are they secretly laughing to themselves or are they just too preoccupied to notice your spiky hair?”

spotlightThis is the phenomenon of SPOTLIGHT EFFECT – overestimating others’ noticing our behaviour and appearance. Is basically the false belief that others are paying more attention to our appearance and behaviour than they really are. The spotlight effect means seeing ourselves on the stage, overestimating the extent to which others are looking at us. 

NOTE: In all the experiments made so far, only 10% of what we think, is remembered by others.

This is about appearance, our physical presence.

What is true about our clothes, hair or a bad skin day is also true for our emotions: our anxiety, irritation, disgust, anger. We often suffer an ILLUSION OF TRANSPARENCY. This means that our concealed emotions leak out and that they can be easily read by others. We forget that, we presume. Keenly aware of our feelings, we presume that other people will know it immediately, either positive or negative emotions. 

Have you ever felt self-conscious when approaching someone you felt attracted to, concerned that your nervousness was obvious? 

Of, if you are a public speaker maybe you experienced this: you felt anxious about the presentation but also about the fact that other people will notice your anxiety.

THE TRUTH: We are more opaque than we think.

Next time when you notice yourself concerned about the outside world, ask yourself this:

– How realistic is this perception? 

– Do I have a valid feedback for my concern?

– What type of thoughts can support my movement to a safe and empowered place?

The traffic between ourselves and others runs both ways: Our ideas and feelings about ourselves affect how we respond to others. And others help shape our sense of self. But these opinions matter, only if we validate them to ourselves, because we are ultimately the creators of the stories we tell to ourselves, we have the magic wands even though the magic is everywhere around us.

Reflection point: Take a few moments to look around you. Tune in to whatever sounds your hear, become aware of any sensations you can feel. What happens when you consider the fact that 100% of the experience of your senses is being generated by THOUGHT, every moment? 

Keep exploring ~ Connect with others ~ Share your discoveries 




One thought on “My SELF in a social world – spotlight and the illusion of transparency

  1. I am now not positive where you are getting your info, however great topic.

    I must spend a while learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for great information I was looking for this info for my mission.

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