We’ve all at one point found ourselves on the receiving end of a ‘yellow car slap’ (though I’m sure I know of a certain 26 year-old that still does this). If you aren’t familiar with such a phrase, then it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out what happens during this activity, as the name quite frankly speaks for itself. You see a yellow car and you slap the person next to you. Simple as that, yet seemingly annoying on a long motorway journey and a game certainly not to be played in New York.
What was once thought of a car colour that was in rare existence and was the standalone car we knew from the TV series Brum or Only Fools and Horses, it now seems to be the only car on the road. The emerging 4-D hand print from the endless slaps of the annoying travel partner speaks for itself, but why suddenly, at the commencing of the game, does everyone now seem to own a yellow car? No, the hallucinogens aren’t suddenly kicking in with a trail of drivers in yellow cars deciding to now follow you around. There have always been this many yellow cars on the road, just suddenly when your attention is drawn to it, do you realise actually how many there are. It’s actually a phenomenon referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or frequency illusion, which I’ve found this to be of some relevance to a lot of the eating and body issues I face every day and have faced in the past.
Social media has largely played its part in this illusion whereby Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter seem to spam endless photos of the traits I was so desperately aspiring for. Skinny, perfectly physiqued people displaying what appeared to be total happiness and the utmost confidence in the body they were flaunting. Everywhere I turned, there were these characteristics that forced me to presume I should somewhat be that way too, triggering obsession and upset that I couldn’t achieve it too.
Yet only because I was so focused on paying attention to this and only this, had I missed everything else that was going on around me, which now makes a lot more sense seeing as there’s actually a name for it! I’d somewhere along the lines decided that being skinny was all I ever wanted to be, so everywhere I looked, there were these effortlessly, thin people
If you gave it a bit of thought, I’m sure there are numerous examples in everyone’s life that you can suddenly understand. Realising you’d never once before tried an avocado, but now find yourself figuring out the best way to mash it into your daily meals, because everywhere you turned, people wouldn’t relent to posting their foodie pictures of their avocado brunches until you decided you might as well bloody try one too!
My point of this post is to reiterate that it’s a legitimate theory that whatever your targets may be, your mind will make you believe that everyone around you is meeting these targets because you are focusing on it, most. Everyone isn’t eating healthy, everyone isn’t successful, everyone isn’t losing weight, everyone isn’t in the gym every single day, everyone isn’t on holiday in the sun. You’re just paying attention to it more!
(I apologise for the number of yellow cars you will now start seeing, today)