Illusion of Transparency


Have you ever felt as though you looked ‘ugly’ while talking?

‘Uh…yea bro, I have. How did you know?’

Because it is a common issue.


This is when we feel like the discomfort from the internal world is leaking out to the external world.

And it has you overthinking & feeling a strong dose of social anxiety.


The phenomena of assuming that your mental & emotional states are being read by others is known as the ‘illusion of transparency.’


Illusion of Transparency


And this illusion does not just stop in the social world.

It also extends into the public speaking world.


Most people who hate public speaking hate it because they FEEL like others can tell how embarrassed they are.

That’s why they quit even before they begin.


However, the term ILLUSION is in the phrase for a reason.

It’s all in your head.

But I’m sure that’s not enough to calm your nerves.

So let’s combat the illusion by overwhelming it with a strong level of understanding.


What is The Illusion of Transparency?


This is the psychological phenomena where you feel like your mental & psychological states are being read by others.

You feel exposed.

Which causes you to feel ‘ugly.’


The word transparent is defined as allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.


  • In this case, you feel as though your body is transparent.
  • And the light represents other people’s vision towards your emotional/mental state.


To take it a level further, the illusion of transparency can also happen when we ASSUME we know what others are thinking & feeling.


Have you ever looked at someone during a convo, saw a frown, and thought you said something stupid?

‘Yea.. I have.’

That was you making an assumption.


Having the ability to read body language is great, but not when you are making false conclusions due to your own self-worth.

The illusion of transparency leads to ticks in judgment.


Why Do We Feel the Illusion of Transparency?


Humans are feelings based creatures.


When push comes to shove, often, the feelings will win.

Our ancient ancestors relied on their feelings as much as they relied on water.

It was a huge factor in keeping them safe.


Which brings me to my next point: safe.

Even in modern days, humans like to stay safe.

They don’t like going past their comfort zone because it can hold danger.


The conscious mind wants to explore & fulfill big things in your life.

But the subconscious mind wants predictability.

Both minds are not always working together.

Which is why you feel a strong crippling state of fear when trying out something new.


A combination of humans being feelings based creatures mixed in with the desire of safety leads to the illusion of transparency.


We desperately want to fit in.

And when we feel discomfort internally, the feelings take control of our mind.


Then the mind assigns a negative perception to the flux of feelings.

Which makes you FEEL like something is wrong.

Like you are looking ‘ugly.’


Fantasy, Gloomy, Fear, Gespenstig, Weird, Creepy


When Do I feel the Illusion of Transparency?


You typically feel the illusion of transparency in 2 situations:

  1. When you talk to someone who you perceive to be a higher social value.
  2. When you talk to someone new.


These 2 scenarios cause you to feel the most self-conscious.

Let’s got through each one.


1 . When you talk to someone who you perceive as a higher social value.


Whether we are aware of it or not, we are always assigning social value to humans.

This allows us to adjust our behaviors accordingly.


I’m pretty sure you do not talk to the CEO of your company the same way you talk to your buddy.

And if you do, it took some time for you to warm up to the CEO.


Humans naturally assign a hierarchy for primal reasons.

It allows us to organize in groups & makes it easier to follow commands.

Look into the wildlife too.

There are hierarchies in the animal kingdom as well.


If you feel ugly in front of higher-ups, that’s because you want their approval.


2. When you talk to someone new.


It’s a cold world out there.

There are some creepy people.

And due to that, we typically have an invisible guard up when meeting someone new.


It’s the same concept with others.

They have an invisible guard up when talking to you.


Unfamiliarity releases a flux of energy into your internal world.

And sudden levels of flux causes the mind to assign a negative perception.

Typically, the brain chooses a negative perception for safety reasons.

Also, known as the ‘negativity bias.’


How Do I Overcome the Illusion of Transparency?


The best way to overcome this psychological block is by understanding it is an illusion.

Sort of like this picture:


Image result for illusion


I am sure the picture looks like it is moving.

At first, if you were to see the picture, you would be certain it’s moving.


But then I tell you that it’s an illusion.

And I ask you to look at a few circles at a time rather than the whole picture.

That’s when you’ll realize that you’re looking at an illusion.


The next time I show you this picture, you’ll realize that although the picture LOOKS like it is moving…

It actually isn’t.


A similar concept in the social world.

Although you THINK you look ugly, you don’t.

You look the way that you normally do.


And if you normally think you look ugly, then step up your fashion game, work out & build your humor.

But don’t go off assuming you look different than you normally do.


Another thing that helps is taking some time every day to SEE yourself.

Look yourself in the mirror & talk AND/OR videotape yourself talking.

After starting my YouTube channel (which you should subscribe to), I became much more mindful of my physical appearance.


The side effect reduced self-consciousness about my appearance.

Now that I was AWARE of how I actually looked, it was much easier to speak in comfort.


But the bottom line, make yourself aware.

And then take some time to see yourself in 3rd person.


Illusion No More


The illusion of transparency has you overthinking.

And overthinking has you underdoing.

This is one of the main reasons for embarrassment.


Embarrassment doesn’t need to stop you though.

I’m sure you’ve had a boatload of moments in your life when you felt embarrassed and dominated anyways.

Similar concept with overcoming this psychological block.


We are modern-day creatures operating with a lot of ancient hardware.

Don’t let it destroy you.

Use your mind to guide the feelings & learn to produce with it anyways.

Tame your energy, tame your life.


Overcoming the illusion of transparency is 100% doable.

It just requires you to take the first step & acknowledge that you do not look ugly.

You look the same as you always do.


Make this admission & invest time in looking at yourself.

All the mirrors & technology in this world…

Use it to look at the pretty face that you were born with.


For more practical psychology & social tips, subscribe to the ArmaniTalks Newsletter.

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