10 Tips to Overcome Shyness

There are ways to overcome shyness even if you are in a social setting.

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, it is possible to overcome shyness at any time.

Shy Smile
My daughter is encouraged to smile more despite being shy.

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. In fact, I would prefer that I am not in the spotlight.

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 shyness and be more confident:

Overcome Shyness Tip #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? If you need help and assistance with overcoming shyness once and for all, consider doing some emotional release work. Find out more info here. 

Overcome Shyness Tip #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

Overcome Shyness Tip #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.

Overcome Shyness Tip #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.

Overcome Shyness Tip #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”.

Overcome Shyness Tip #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.

Overcome Shyness Tip #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. Visualise 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.

Overcome Shyness Tip #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 organise social outings for singles every week when I started working. Of course, I had an ulterior motive back then..ha!

Overcome Shyness Tip #9: Creative visualisation.

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!

Overcome Shyness Tip #10: Get role models.

It helps to get role models who are not shy in the least. Study the behaviour, 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. I took the picture above after encouraging her to 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? Share your thoughts about how to overcome shyness.

Abundance always,

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Evelyn

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Tariq and Shaheera - March 29, 2011 Reply

Hi Evelyn!

Great post! We’re both actually quite shy people and especially quiet among those we’re not close to. However, we have managed to break free from shyness as of late. Although I have to admit that we become shy on purpose sometimes to avoid social time-wasters.

I participated in a lot of social clubs and became part of the organisation team behind them. Through all the events I helped organise I shed my shyness and became more open about meeting new people.

For Tariq, he just tried a lot of new things and just went for it. Sometimes thats all it takes. A moment where you decide ‘Yeah. Let’s just DO THIS.’

Thanks for sharing this article!

Shaheera

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Tariq and Shaheera,

It’s great that both of you have broken away from your shyness. Organizing events is certainly an excellent way to compelling oneself to step up. I like the sound of Tariq’s approach. For many years and until today, my favorite sports brand is Nike, “Just Do It!”

Thank you for sharing your comments,
Evelyn

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nouf - March 30, 2011 Reply

i hope i get over my shyness in scl cause i got a presentation to prepare infront of my class

thanks,

p.s i’m in 10th grade ;p

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello nouf,

I hope that you make a great presentation in class. You can do it! Do practice in front of the mirror or with your parents at home. It’s how I’ve helped my children with their presentations.

Good luck 🙂

With love,
Evelyn

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Jim - March 30, 2011 Reply

Everyone has a degree of shyness, it is in the gene as much as your height or color of your eyes. It is neither bad or good, just one of the personal traits. But shyness does sometime limit one’s achievement, especially in the work place where squeaky wheels get noticed. Your tips are excellent as my son recently changed school yr 10 in a new city and shyness caused some difficulty.

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Evelyn Reply:

Jim,

Most people do outgrow some level of shyness as they become an adult. But most certainly, those who continue to be plagued with high levels of shyness can feel pretty miserable as these would pose limits to their ability to achieve.

Take the opportunity to help your son overcome his difficulties during this period. Confidence building is required as well as a look into deeper issues (if any).

All the best,
Evelyn

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker - March 30, 2011 Reply

Fantastic list Evelyn.

I have suffered from shyness my entire life. As a adult, others often mistake my shyness for arrogance when arrogance is the last thing I’m feeling!

Thank you for writing such a heartfelt and useful list.

Alex

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Alex,

You’ve brought up an excellent point about arrogance. Come to think of it, some people have found me pretty aloof in the past. Actually, the looking away is a cover-up for shyness.

Thank you for reminding me about this point!

Abundance always,
Evelyn

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The Vizier - March 30, 2011 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

I too have dealt with shyness when I was younger and agree that it is a symptom of insecurities. As I read through your 10 ways on dealing with shyness, I found that they tackled the root cause of the problem perfectly. I feel that shyness is something we can overcome with practice. If we are uncomfortable in group settings, by going to more social events and so on, we will get more used to it. But at the same time, we should also take steps to improve our own confidence. Whether it is by having a legacy or a passion that we can be proud of or working on our self-development, these are just some of the ways we can be more confident. I believe that if we can create our purpose here on Earth, our confidence will come naturally and our shyness will be less acute. Other than that, it is just practice practice practice to overcome shyness.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier

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Evelyn Reply:

Your comments made me recall of this saying by Claudia Lady Bird Johnson, “The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” Also, I remember the advice given at the Landmark Forum which I attended in Melbourne ten years ago: find a cause bigger than who you are right now. So thumbs up to the tip on connecting with a higher purpose to overcome shyness. Come to think of it…this has been what is challenging me to take bolder and bolder steps every day.

To your awesomeness,
Evelyn

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Stuart - March 30, 2011 Reply

Evelyn, this is my first time over at Abundance Tapestry, and I love it. I’m loving this site already, you’ve got a great place for calm and well-being.

I can relate about shyness, I was very shy in my school-days. Couldn’t talk to anyone new, and I only had a few friends at all. It’s hard to completely move past this ancient fear, but I’m doing it one day at a time. I’m getting there.

Thanks for sharing Evelyn, take care 🙂

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Stuart,

Thank you for your lovely feedback about my site.

It’s nice to hear other personal development bloggers admitting to being shy. We all have our challenges but we don’t allow our limiting beliefs to hold us back – never again!

All the best,
Evelyn

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rob white - March 30, 2011 Reply

These are empowering tips Evelyn. I love that quote you shared from Andre Dubus… Not only is shyness coyly narcissistic, it does the world a great disservice when we are not participating fully in life. Shyness is holding back our naturally exuberant Authentic-Self. We are all shy to some degree in the different domains of life (it can be mingling at a party or sharing an Art form with the world)… moving beyond our shyness is all about expressing and experiencing our unrealized potential.

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Rob,

I love how you have eloquently described shyness as keeping us away from our authentic selves. Yes, it is true that we can be shy in a variety of situations. We can choose to stay in our shell or step out – entirely up to us. But when we do step out, we are choosing to fully participate in the moment.

With love,
Evelyn

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Debbie @ Happy Maker - March 30, 2011 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

Great tips for overcoming shyness. I agree with Alex that people can think shyness is arrogance. What I have found and you have it in your tips is to get out of your comfort zone. If we step out into the unknown we grow everyday in many ways. Thanks for sharing and I do believe shyness does have a lot to do with self-esteem, but it can be fixed.
Debbie

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Evelyn Reply:

Hi Debbie,

Yes, shyness can be addressed. I wish there was someone to help guide me with my shyness issues when I was younger. Then again, if I didn’t have my personal experiences and challenges previously, I wouldn’t be a more effective life coach and writer now.

With love,
Evelyn

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gc - March 31, 2011 Reply

In our society, being shy and ugly is a recipe for non-existence. Those who don’t suffer from such “weaknesses” have no time or appreciation for those who do. It will always be that way. The neo-con, new world order agenda will be to cull us “lesser” enslaved individuals as quickly as possible. So sad, too bad, next….

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Evelyn Reply:

And so I call on all shy people to find ways to overcome their issues. Don’t allow our limiting beliefs about ourselves to hold us back. There is a place for everyone in this world. It is possible to carve out authentic ways of self expression and still, living life fully.

Abundance always,
Evelyn

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Michele - March 31, 2011 Reply

Evelyn, first off thanks for posting this!!! I have been a shy person since childhood, always shrinking in the back, just fading into the wall, not calling attention to myself. But in the last year or so, I’ve been challenging myself to break out of my shell, 1 step at a time. I used to be so concerned with how I appeared to people, with how I looked and things I said and lately I’ve realized that people are always going to have comments, so why stifle mine?!?!

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Michele,

Good for you! Glad to know that you’ve been breaking out of your shell. It takes courage. So give yourself a pat on the back!

Those who are unaware usually speak or have opinions from their ego selves. There is no point taking what they say or think to heart. Where the tip or advice is useful, we can take what they say to make important changes for ourselves. Other than that, I refrain from engaging.

All the best in your journey,
Evelyn

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John Sherry - March 31, 2011 Reply

Evelyn I was shy too but mainly beacuse I felt I had nothing to offer – in conversation, in skills, or to the world. In time I learnt that I had many unique talents to share with life, ones that were mine and mine alone. Thus I went from shy to shine. Everyone has something amazing locked away inside and when we have the belief and confidence to let that out then we don’t shrivel up we explode out..naturally. Your awesome post helps uplift others to begin doing that. Be well and loved.

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello John,

It’s amazing how many personal development coaches and writers admit to having the same problem themselves. I like it when you said you moved from shy to shine! You are an inspiring example and a great role model for us!

Thank you for sharing and your loving comments about my post,
Evelyn

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Nacho Jordi - March 31, 2011 Reply

Really great tips. Thank you. There is not much quality information about shyness out there (I am very aware of that as a shy person myself… oops, I was supposed not to say I’m so 😉 )
I can also relate to a lot of the comments, like the problem of shyness being mistaken with arrogance (maybe shyness is harder for men due to social stereotypes?), and the fact, let’s face it, that shyness has also some social advantages, hahaha (but it doesn’t pay off, not in my case at least).
Great blog, keep up the good posts…

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Nacho,

I am surprised to know that there is not much quality information out there about shyness. So it’s nice that you’ve enjoyed the read here. Can shyness be based on gender? I doubt so. I think both sexes can be just as affected by an issue on shyness.

In the long run, it is important to work on building a sense of quiet confidence. Even if you are an introvert, nothing should stop you from speaking up when necessary.

With love,
Evelyn

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Stacy - April 3, 2011 Reply

Hi Evelyn,
I have always been extremely shy, in fact when I was in college I was headed in the direction of agoraphobia. I was having anxiety and panic attacks at the thought of social interactions, even over the phone. To say that it was interfrering with my life is a huge understatement.

Today though I still deal with some shyness it is no longer debilitating. I don’t deal with panic or anxiety attacks. I’m working on an ebook on how to deal with anxiety based on my experiences and study on the topic because I’ve learned so much.

One thing that really helps is affirmations because it trains my brain to think differently which in turn changes my emotional reactions to social situations.

Thanks for sharing these great tips!
Stacy

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Bryan Thompson - April 5, 2011 Reply

Hey Evelyn, great article! I agree with you 100%! Shyness is a symptom and not the problem itself. I love how your tips handled that and further related your point to solutions rather than just “why” we are shy. Yes, I can be socially awkward sometimes, too, but I find it’s generally because of past trust issues. Thanks for your brutal honesty, Evelyn! It’s always a pleasure to read your blog!

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Chris Edgar - April 5, 2011 Reply

Hi Evelyn — I really appreciated what you said at the beginning about your own experience with shyness, and I get the sense that being able to make an admission like that to another person can really create a lot of growth in this area. I’ve done exercises where I’ve sat across from someone and said things like “I’m worried that I look scary to you right now,” and so on, and just being able to admit the anxiety that’s going on in the background often has me totally loosening up and laughing.

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Lynne Quintana - June 6, 2011 Reply

Hey, great article. it is really appreciated. i have been a shy person from childhood. presently, im 19 and i think this will harm my future. basically, i interact with people very well. meeting new people is not a problem to me. the problem i have is that of dancing. at home, i do dance, but in a social setting, i feel too shy and can’t do it. 🙂

Lynne

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Deepsha - September 6, 2011 Reply

Hey Evelyn!
You are the holistic solution of all my problems…:D ..I am going to practice the points you have made here. I am sure I will get over with my awaful shyness. Your posts are able to breath and pulsate. My god they are living beings…!!!I wish you lots of joy and spirit. Thanks to you for my newer view point towards life. I am full of hope and happiness now.

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JOMARI - March 21, 2013 Reply

i’m shy because of our activity which is grad. ball when I wanna do dance but I can’t because i’m shy what will i do

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Jomari Solis Niangar - March 21, 2013 Reply

i’m shy because of our activity which is grad. ball when I wanna do dance but I can’t because i’m shy .What will I do if I will give a speech in front of a lot of people?

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setyo nugroho - March 23, 2013 Reply

how its so great article!, i love it and helps me to solve my shyness, you know, i ve missed a lot of big chances coz it!!! thanx a huge!!

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Shivangi Jain - May 12, 2013 Reply

Hi Evelyn

Thanks for your..

I will try to use your tips.. and will surely try to overcome my shyness

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