Many targets of bullying experience the spotlight effect after bullies have bullied them for so long. Why? Because bullying will conditions targets to think that everyone is watching closely. For example, the target will attend a social gathering and feel like a germ under a microscope. He will think that everyone is watching him.
When the target sees the people around him talking to each other, he’ll only assume that they’re discussing him. Therefore, he’ll think that they are judging him.
However, the people around him won’t be watching him because they’re worried more about themselves than they are him. Yet the target will still feel spotlighted- this is the spotlight effect at play.
Therefore, I want you to realize that this spotlight effect is born out of fear of judgment. You must be careful that you don’t spiral down this toxic hole.
Be Careful You Don’t Get Trapped by the Spotlight Effect!
Also, you can sometimes become victims of the spotlight effect while trying to make friends and allies.
Deliberately modifying your body language takes practice because it’s mostly a subconscious thing. Therefore, you will sometimes come off as awkward if you don’t practice in private. The spotlight effect happens when you deliberately modify your body language to make friends (or to ward off bullies).
Moreover, because you’re doing it on purpose to influence others’ behavior, you think that others can see through you. This will cause you to force the nonverbal signals and your suspicions will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Why? Because it will make it difficult to make it appear natural and effortless.
Consequently, you won’t be able to display this body language convincingly. In other words, your nonverbals will look contrived, or worse, inappropriate. And you’ll do it even if others are unaware that you’re putting on. Therefore, you will look fake at best, inappropriate at worst.
The spotlight effect is the killer of many opportunities. However, there’s a bright side here.
Once you know that the spotlight effect is real, you will be able to avoid it’s entrapment.
With knowledge comes empowerment!