- Mental Health
Shyness - how to overcome shyness
Shyness - what is shyness?
Are you shy? Do you want to overcome shyness? Well you are on your way.. The very fact that you are acting on it shows that you have been taking measures to overcome shyness. Shyness or diffidence is not a disease or a major drawback as people would like to make it out to be. Shyness just means that you have lacked experience in the area of social interactions and need a little help to remedy what you lack. The fact that you have lacked sufficient exposure to social interactions or you have been wrongly encouraged to think that you need to be less sociable now causes you to be anxious in your interactions with others. You shy away from social activities that put you in the limelight. You are comfortable doing what you do behind the scenes. The only thing wrong with this is that you do not get your fair share of appreciation and attention. It could at times mean that you could be bypassed for some loud mouthed extrovert.
What causes shyness?
Some recent studies suggest that shyness has genetic causes, but with very little research in this area it may be difficult to prove a point yet. Nurture may be the biggest factor yet known to man that causes shyness. Various childhood experiences, both physical and emotional could be the cause of shyness.
Parenting plays an huge part in the formative years of a child, how your parents helped you develop your self-image and self-worth as a child has a huge influence on the way you think.
The environment at school, peers, the bullying and the impact it has on you could have modified or influenced the way you saw yourself and the self- image you have carried around for years.
Social exposure in your formative years, and experiences that you have had, could have moulded your attitudes and outlook in such a way that you have felt the need to shy away from people.
Various disabilities such as speech impediments, stammering and stuttering, physical shortcomings or even certain illnesses could impact the way you interact with others thus forming a pattern or a model for future behaviour.
Social conditions like extreme poverty or living in a community where you are not considered an equal, for example living in a country that does not accept colored people so easily, could all influence your social interactions to a large extent. There are other social conditions like having to interact with kids who have had more exposure, knowledge and resources than you.
There is no simple or specific reason to say this is what has made you a shy person, some or all of these could have had their impact on you. The good news is you do not have to remain shy all your life. Shyness can be overcome by improving your social skills.
What does being shy mean?
Shy people do not talk much, but that does not mean that they do not know much. Shy people make up for their lack of communication skills by observation skills. They observe from a high vantage point because no one is noticing them. They are great observers of human qualities, traits and are great judges of people and their intents. They are keen listeners and listen to more than what words say, they listen with all their senses and perceive and understand much more than the social butterfly who flits from flower to flower just to enjoy the sweetness.
Their sense of observation gives them a great eye for detail, they could make great planners and organizers if they could make use of their latent potential.
Shy people focus their attention inward and concentrate a lot. The little things of life are important to them. They tend to do well in school and excel in most things they do as their ability to be focused is high. They do not get into trouble with parents or teachers or in conflict with the law as they do not want attention drawn towards them. They are also less aggressive than most children and tend to tolerate a lot more than they really should.
The down side of being shy is, these individuals are non-assertive and could be taken for granted by others.
They can be passed up for opportunities and miss out on much fun.
They could be missing out on attention and love from parents and elders.
They may be more stressed out than the others as they tend to internalize the problems.
How to overcome your shyness?
To say that it is easy to overcome shyness would be stretching it a bit too far. It is hard work but it is not impossible.
Every problem starts with your mind, so program your mind with the right thoughts to help you overcome your problems.
Developing a positive attitude towards yourself and being positive and charitable in your thoughts towards you could really help, since it is your negative thoughts that has made you shy or timorous in the first place.
Use the power of of positive affirmations to reinforce your self-esteem and build your self confidence. Take time to write down what you are good at and tell yourself that you are.
You would do well to focus on your good qualities and magnify them, do not berate yourself about the things you are not good at. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Since the problem is one of social interaction, you could start with interacting in small social groups that you are familiar with, you could act with being heard more often, maybe even open a conversation with someone and just wait for them to respond. Urges to isolate yourself should be dealt with and all efforts to socialize in small ways should be made.
Since anxiety precedes any social interaction, you as a shy person could do well to learn techniques of relaxation. There are many on the Internet which are easy to use. Breathing techniques are easy to use anywhere anytime.
Equip yourself with information, knowledge or skills that could help you in your social interactions with others. My friend has learned how to use one-liners and and jokes that would stun people and then make people laugh out loud. She has long since come out of her shy shell.
Shy people often feel self-conscious, and believe that others are reading them and evaluating them. Allow me to let you into a secret - the gregarious ones are always vying for attention and are often caught up with themselves, trying to figure out if they have made the mark.
Develop genuine interest in people and you would find your focus shifting from you to others.
Perfectionism is another reason why people find it hard to break out of their shyness, let go of your perfectionism, it only hinders your productivity.
Compassion towards others helps you to focus on people and their problems instead of you and yours. Seek those who could really do with some attention, and you will find that lending a helping hand could benefit you as well.
Step out of your comfort zone and do tasks that are progressively more difficult, taking one step at a time so that you are not totally overwhelmed.
Do not let what others say influence you, form your own realistic opinions of yourself. You know yourself better than any one else who claims to.
Surround yourself with people who love you and support you, but ensure that they are the positive kinds and not the anxious ones who could make you more nervous.
The last but the most important piece of advice that I could give you is be kind to yourself, learn to like yourself, even love yourself, without becoming over-confident. You need to be comfortable in your own skin before others will start liking you.
Wishing you a happy journey towards overcoming shyness.