How can I stop being shy? Read on to understand what you can do if you’re painfully shy. Using these tips and methods can help you to change your shyness around and make you feel more confident.
Some Reasons for Shyness
It seems that shyness can stem from a very early age or be brought on by a specific period in your life, normally during our younger years. As we grow older and our paths cross with a larger number of people it can help us to throw off our shyness as we come to realise that everyone has insecurities, not just us.
Some of the symptoms around shyness are:
- Feeling that you will be ridiculed if you speak out.
- Having the sensation that you’re being put in the spotlight and consequently freezing, like a rabbit in headlights.
- Not liking to be the centre of attention with everybody turning to look at you.
- Feeling that you’re less than others: less interesting, less intelligent, less educated, less witty . . .
- Believing that other people have an advantage over you (for example they’re somehow invincible, perfect, without insecurities etc.).
- Feeling as though everyone is judging you.
- Worrying about approval and acceptance from other people.
There are loads more but you can see from the above there are many variations and you may relate to some and not to others. These symptoms aren’t actually the underlying trigger, but rather the results of the initial trigger which then lead to full blown shyness.
Examples of some specific triggers may be:
- Being naturally shy.
- Having experienced being ridiculed.
- Having a sibling that appears (to you) to ‘outshine’ you.
- Being bullied.
- Being pushed to be more sociable than you feel comfortable with.
My Story With Shyness
I used to be just about the shyest person you could ever wish to meet. Throughout my young years I was so painfully shy that it inhibited me with all my social interactions.
If someone spoke to me I would go bright red and become tongue tied. I never knew what the right answer was was; my mind would go blank and nothing would come out of my mouth.
Despite this debilitating shyness, I never felt like I was weak. In social situations yes – but not in my heart. Did I feel inferior? Well, I never thought that I was inferior, but I think I felt inferior – yes.
Another thing shy people tend to think is that everyone is looking at them and judging them. When you realise that everyone is far too self absorbed to be thinking about you or noticing your behaviour you can let go of some of that feeling of being judged.
The question is; why do we develop this acute shyness? And how can we get over it? I have no answer to why I developed this behaviour but it was with me from very young.
I started to overcome my shyness when I was in my late teens by travelling on my own to Australia for a year. That experience started to open me up, but I would still have been considered a shy person. From there on it was a gradual process to get to where I am now. Now if you met me you most certainly wouldn’t think that I’m shy or even believe that I used to be shy.
Steps to Change Your Shyness
Step one: how can I stop being shy.
The first thing to do is to realise that shyness runs very deep within you, so it isn’t just a matter of deciding not to be shy anymore. The more you worry about it the worse it will be, so the best thing to do is learn to embrace and accept your shyness 100%. (Yes, we’re going to change this, but this is the first important step.)
Think about all the levels and facets of your shyness and how it appears and what happens when it does. When you think of a terribly embarrassing moment caused by your shyness, defend yourself by reaffirming that it isn’t important and that everybody makes similar mistakes; it means nothing and it doesn’t matter.
By removing importance and validating yourself, and not identifying yourself with the moment, you can get to the point where you accept your shyness exists – but that you are a confident person underneath who is travelling a path from shyness to confidence and that everything that happens in between is just necessary for that growth.
Know in your heart that the awkward situations aren’t going to continue forever and that their days are numbered. And therefore they are totally accepted and you know that you are strong.
Step two: how can I stop being shy.
Make a list of the particular situations that trigger your shyness more than others. In my case it was with group conversations more than one-to-one, though it happened everywhere.
It’s important to work on accepting your shyness completely before you try to change anything because only by really being ok with your shyness can you expect to change it.
Spend at least a week getting familiar with everything about it and jot down anything you can think of that’s remotely related to being shy.
The list serves to draw your conscious attention to your shyness and what effect it has in your life.
Step three: how can I stop being shy.
When you think you’re ready, I want you to take a moment to think about one situation you’d like to change. Imagine yourself being confident in that single situation: imagine it every morning, every afternoon and every evening until you can play the tape in your head automatically and see yourself shining with confidence.
Don’t pick a situation that depends on one particular other person as that will be too charged with importance. Instead choose a general situation, like speaking in front of people, or socialising.
Step four: how can I stop being shy.
Shyness is a feeling that comes upon you and makes your body react physically (going red, tongue-tied, blank mind . . . ). To help change that, you need to change your subconscious beliefs using the important points listed below. Please don’t just read them over; you have to really believe them before they’ll have an effect on your subconscious.
- Absolutely everybody is concerned about themselves. This means everybody else is also thinking about themselves and not necessarily about you. One big mistake a shy person makes is to think that other people are watching them, studying them, judging what they’re wearing, how they’re speaking, what they’re saying . . .
Re-program your mind to think that the other person/people you’re speaking to are more worried about their own image to be concerned with you, and that you’re helping them by giving them attention and making them feel good.
- There are billions of people in the world and some of those people will resonate with you and the others won’t. Some will like you and some won’t. Some will find you interesting . . . and some won’t. So put the onus on the person you’re talking to and take it off yourself.
You are who you are, and if they don’t think you’re interesting, that’s their problem, not yours. And it isn’t important because there are many more people out there who will.
- Business shows us that of the millions of clients whom you meet, you’ll only click with a very few, if any. That’s natural so accept it in advance, and apply the same logic in your shy-causing situations. Put it in your mind that everyone is like a client – a possible friendship could spark but if it doesn’t, absolutely no problem. You don’t need to impress your listener.
- Do some research into how many different types of groups there are on the internet and you’ll find that there’s a group for everything. This goes to show how diverse the world really is, so no matter what it is that you are like, there are people out there who will share your passion and appreciate you for who you are.
- When you’re shy, you’re coming from an angle that the other people have got it ‘right’ and that you’re not-as-right-as-they-are. Scrap this belief. We’re each one of us completely unique and that’s what makes everyone so special.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to consciously accept your shyness because you are then standing up and saying, ‘I accept who I am and I love myself as I am.’
Only by reaching the stage where your shyness doesn’t matter to you at all will it disappear so train your mind to accept shyness as a part of you that makes you special.
What about if you like someone of the opposite sex and are too shy to talk to them?
This can be a really annoying side of shyness because it seems that the more you like someone the less you’ll be able to speak to them coherently! The reason for this is because of the importance you’ve attached to the outcome of that interaction. When you really like someone but can only get tongue tied or blush bright red when you meet them it’s time to get to work.
The more you plan what you’ll say to them, the worse it will get. So instead, make a list of possible weaknesses that person could have. Complete these sentences . . .
Maybe . . .
He/She isn’t . . . (e.g. patient)
He/She isn’t . . .
He/She can’t . . .
He/She is scared of . . .
He/She hasn’t ever . . .
When you’ve completed the sentences, think about what that could mean for the person. Now, realise that the person who you are putting on a pedestal also has his or her insecurities – they’re not a better person than you at all! Next time you find yourself in a situation where you can have a conversation, bear in mind all these possible insecurities and approach the conversation from a different angle. You have something to offer the person!
Asking questions is a great tactic for anybody and especially anyone who’s shy because people love to talk about themselves and all you have to do is to listen and to be interested in what they’re saying. Be a good listener and you’ll build your confidence up for starting conversations that you would have found tricky before.
Shyness will leave you slowly but surely, as long as you start to build up your mental image of you as being a unique and wonderful person. Some of the situations that make you feel uncomfortable may continue to make you feel that way, but so what? You can stand up and say, actually I don’t really like xyz and I’m quite happy that way.
Conclusion: What can I do to stop being shy?
Don’t fight to change. Instead first accept your shyness and your unique take on the world. Next, start changing your core beliefs about you and your value. The shyness is a symptom of deep beliefs so it will improve spontaneously when your subconscious believes a different set of rules.
Don’t expect the change to be sudden. This is a gradual process that will take place over time. You need to grow your confidence and you’ll slowly notice that your shyness is interfering less and less with your life.
Finally I want you to get used to saying ‘So What?’ and I want you to know that when you can really say: ‘It doesn’t matter, I don’t care if I blush; so what if I’m shy . . .’ When it really isn’t important anymore, then it will go away.
You may also like to read about what makes a person successful in life.
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