Spotlight Syndrome ~ Tulika Agarwal

“Oh wow! I love that dress”, “I really like the shoes you’ve worn” or “You look pretty”. Such lines are heard more often than not, and gradually climb up to our subconscious mind in the form of expectations, potential compliments or even personal disillusions. Someone is always looking at each one of us, and this makes us (let’s say me) think about “what lipstick shade am I wearing? How apt is my outfit? How do I walk and talk? How is the new hair color? Do I converse in fluent English with my peers? How is my physical outlook?” Who does not like being complimented for their appeal, but the idea is to not dwell into self-consumption or the spotlight bubble. This is the dominant thought in the majority of the minds, which are a part of the millennial generation, or Gen-Y/Z as we term it nowadays. This phenomenon or ‘a’ so called existential basis is called ‘Spotlight Syndrome’, where just like a stage performance of an artist, the spotlight hovers around the head wherever one travels. Unlike the Entertainment or Theatre world, where there are real spotlights on the performers, the outside ‘normal’ society has also developed this imaginary light in their mind, and the adolescents and the youth per say constantly battle the notions set in their surroundings. The reality is quite the opposite, and as a result of this the people like you and me get stuck in the dichotomy of the situation in hand. 

‘Life is not meant to be taken so seriously’, is conveyed frequently via speeches and panel talks conducted by psychologists, counselors or even parents for that matter; but at the same time it is also expected to handle any challenge that crops up unknowingly due to anybody’s actions or reactions. This mental pressure has large scale implications on the young minds. We need not pressurize ourselves at all times, but also get equipped with a solid skill set foundation that sets one apart from the bunch and does not exhibit the hair, clothes, style and nail paint brands alone. The skills, extra learning, additional qualities in a heterogeneous environment attract the eyeballs of the top notch, and these help one to earn the label of ‘crème de la crème’. For the longest time, I always wondered how do I impress others at workplace, how do I get the brownie points from the bosses by doing something apart from my work, but with time it made me introspect that the bottom line of any ladder for fame & glory is the base that chunks up your core strength and abilities which are unique to every single individual and these cannot be judged or taken away by. Is one able to converse in numerous languages? Is one both flexible and firm? Is one able to manage people and handle moments of crises with ease? These realistic questions drive out the ample energy to focus on the extrinsic appeal and channel it towards what primarily is required to carve a niche out in a world full of competition running in the rat race with no finish line.

The confidence and courage one musters by self-belief develops through failures and setbacks. For he who has always met only success is quite weak at heart, and approaches life being a coward. Every person is unique and has a special asset that only she possesses, which she must utilize to his advantage not by dilly-dallying around people, instead accelerating the knowledge & experience to prove that she in fact is a ‘limited edition’. For the women in their teens and 20s, it is particularly important to strike a balance between their personal and emerging professional life since it is presumed to be their duty. 

Battling a constant spotlight on your actions or the personality is tiring, but also makes us girls (makes me look younger) resilient to come into our own and make a conscious choice of what, (rather who) to eliminate. So, it’s completely normal if you want to let your hair down, roam around foundation-free with your spots and zits, in cozy pyjamas without having to worry about what the other person is going to comment and their judgment on us. It takes a certain amount of guts to reach that Zen like state, and even though each of us desire to flaunt our best look at all times; the added pressure one takes can be wiped off if you decide to. 

I’d like to motivate every reader and all the wonderful ladies out there, including me with a beautiful quote by Bernard Clive, “Step out today not seeking to be in the spotlight but seeking for a spot to light – be a blessing to someone”.