Are you painfully shy? Do you often feel awkward, turn white, stammer in anxiety, mumble and/or look away when someone approaches you to talk? Many people never outgrow the feelings off shyness that they experienced as children, and as an adult, being shy can pose tremendous social challenges that impede on success. Luckily, there are ways that you can overcome shyness at any time.
As a child, I was extremely shy. My voice was hardly audible. I wished that I could disappear into the ground when people I didn’t know well, approached me with a question. Until I entered college, I frequently hoped that no one would notice me. In college, I became somewhat split in my desires; torn between wanting to be noticed by the boys and not wanting to be noticed by the teachers during class.
I cannot say that I am no longer shy. I still am at times. In unfamiliar surroundings, I often choose not to share about myself, work or interests unless asked. Still, I believe I can now respond with greater confidence when spoken to. I no longer give monosyllable answers, hope to blend with the wall or shrink in excessive anxiety in a social setting.
Causes of Shyness
I believe that shyness is a symptom. With shyness, the deeper fears are related to rejection and insecurity. We long for acceptance. We feel extremely conscious about our self-image. Our egos would have us believe that we need to be smarter, better looking or more perfect. We fear psychological death if we get rejected. As a result, we say no to life often. We become slow to smile. We give weak handshakes, not because we are insincere about making new friends but because we are not confident about ourselves.
“Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” – Andre Dubus
Shy people often perceives a veil of threat in a new setting – be it an environment or in front of a stranger. We curl up like a hedgehog because the thought “the world is not a safe place” hangs in the background of our subconscious. Suddenly, we would like to believe – although not likely to be true – that the ground or the wall is more interesting than the person before us. Looking away serves as the perfect deterrent to anyone who dares think about approaching us. With no eye contact, we indicate our unwillingness to engage.
Being shy can make us feel miserable. It affects our ability to make or develop friendships, getting a successful sale, making smooth presentations and so on. It is an energy that puts us in restriction. It limits us from the fullness of who we truly are and can be. It affects our capacity to be expansive and hence, manifest abundance for ourselves.
How to Overcome Shyness
If you are shy, don’t feel bad. Many people suffer from some form of social anxiety. It is true that being an introvert can lead to shyness. However, refrain from allowing shyness to hold you back from speaking up when there is a need to.
Here are 10 ways to overcome your shyness and be more confident:
1. Work on deeper fears. Take shyness as a symptom for the need to address your deeper fears. Is your shyness a case of poor self esteem, related to childhood conditioning, excessive worrying and so on? Release your emotions with Emotional Freedom Technique. If you would like one-to-one face consultations, please contact me at abundancetapestry [at] gmail.com.
2. Appreciate your individuality. In case you haven’t noticed, everyone is unique and different. Instead of feeling self-conscious, embrace who you are – unconditionally. When you learn to embrace your uniqueness, you will have more confidence.
“The significant business of your life is alive and well, awaiting discovery, within your very soul. You and I were born to come into ourselves as complete and distinctive persons. Accepting this, we build a valuable life.” – Marsha Sinetar
3. Take Deep breaths. When you are in situations where you feel shyness trying to takeover, it can be helpful to take deep breaths. This will help you to clear your mind, give you some time to gain composure and avoid an anxiety attack.
4. Go on new adventures. When most people think about stepping out of their comfort zones, they usually run the other way. Being bold is an important step in overcoming feelings of shyness. The next time you are presented with a social opportunity that is not your usual scene, go out on a limb and give it a try. Need more tips on getting out of your comfort zone? Read article on How to Be Bold in Life.
5. Stop saying you are shy. Have ever noticed that the more you say you’re shy, the more your shyness increases? Instead of constantly talking about how shy you are, try reframing your mind with positive affirmations. Affirm statements such as “I am confident”, “I speak clearly and with ease” and “I can articulate beautifully, eloquently and freely”.
6. Release the past. Have you ever been rejected by someone that you admire or love? And so you have found it difficult to bounce back from the hurt. Don’t allow past hurts to rule your future. Everyone can’t be friends with everyone, so instead of allowing hurt to hold you back, find new friends who will appreciate you for who you are.
7. Learn to speak up. Do you talk so quietly that people are always asking you to talk louder? It is okay to speak and be heard, so try to get into the habit of talking louder. Feeling afraid? Practice in front of the mirror. Visualize your voice as a dial that you can turn for managing the level of your volume. Get someone you feel comfortable with to provide you with feedback about your audibility.
8. Meet new people regularly. A great way to overcome shyness is to make it a point to meet someone new every week. When you are constantly focused on making new friends, you will forget all about your shyness. I remember overcoming shyness by volunteering to organize social outings for singles every week when I started working. Of course, I had an ulterior motive back then..ha!
9. Creative visualization. Imagine yourself striking conversations with strangers, giving public presentations, doing a sales talk and so on. Run the mental movie in your mind. See yourself as someone who is every bit confident. Act as-if and soon, you will play the part for real! Need more tips? Read articles on what-if ideas for creative visioning, pink bubble technique and making creative visualizations – Fun!
10. Get role models. It helps to get role models who are not shy in the least. Study the behavior, habits and likes of these people. If it is a friend you know, ask for help. Most people would be glad to assist.
“I’ve gotten better at not making people feel uncomfortable with my shyness.” – Clea Duvall
Smile and Be Happy
Do you smile when you’re around people or does your face have a permanent frown? Just because you are not completely comfortable with everyone you meet, that does not give you a reason to not smile.
Even if you are shy, you can still smile. There was once my daughter was afraid to smile as she had lost her tooth. Nonetheless, I encouraged her to. See the picture above – like her brilliant smile?
Be happy, and you will attract other happy people into your life. When you surround yourself with confident people, your shyness levels will reduce. Overcome your shyness and come alive!
Your Comments please
Are you a shy person? Have you outgrown your shyness? Share your experiences with shyness and what has worked for you.