I've been reading an article about egocentrism, a bias of the mind that only allows us to see the world from our unique point of view.
All young children are egocentric. As people mature, most grow out of this totally self-centered stage of development. However, some adults continue to see the world ONLY through their own perspective and fall into the category of narcissism. A narcissistic person discounts other's opinions and doesn't care about anyone else's feelings.
Those of us who aren't completely self-absorbed are still prone to egocentrism in varying degrees. Have you ever decided not to try something new because you think everybody will be watching and judging you? Egocentrism is probably making you feel as though you're the center of attention. Actually, most people aren't watching, they're equally worried about creating embarrassment for themselves. Sometimes, we decide we know what other people are thinking or feeling because of our own egocentric bias about how we would think or feel in similar situations.
Isn't the mind fascinating? This article makes me want to be more aware of my own behavior. I'm trying to recognize egocentric thinking in myself. I realize that my own biases may affect the way I navigate in the world.
Ann Lander's summed it up well:
"At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don't care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all."
Photos of same tree taken from different perspectives.
Denver Botanic Garden, April 7, 2012.