If you’re looking for some strategies on how to overcome shyness, then you’ll love this article.
As a child, I was painfully shy. I had a hard time making new friends because I didn’t feel like I was worthy of those friends. I didn’t want to open up and let people see me and love me for who I am. Even today, as an adult, these feelings sometimes creep up- and I get anxious and shy in social situations. This has led to people calling me a snob or saying that I’m cold- but I’m not, I’m just afraid that people will get to know me and not like what they see.
If shyness is something that you struggle with, you should know that you’re not alone. There are many people out there who have struggled, are struggling, or will struggle with it at some point in their lives.
This article contains 25 tips that you can use to understand and overcome your shyness. You don’t have to let your shyness define who you are. You can overcome it and become a confident, self-assured individual who can face any situation with the greatest of ease.
Why you are shy?
- Consider the Root of Your Shyness.
Just because you’re shy does not mean that you are stuck-up or that you’re introverted and don’t like yourself. It just means that you get embarrassed when the attention is on you for some reason. So, think about why this could be. Usually, shyness is a symptom of a much larger problem.
- Accept Your Shyness.
When you’re trying to overcome something, the first step is to accept it and learn how to be comfortable with it. The same goes with shyness. When you learn to accept it, you’re on your way to being able to overcome it. If, on the other hand, you’re constantly fighting it- whether consciously or unconsciously, it will become much harder to overcome. If you have difficulty with this, simply repeat to yourself, “Yes I’m shy. I accept that fact.”
- Learn Your Triggers.
Chances are, if you’re like me, not all situations cause you to feel anxious and shy. For example, you may get stage fright when you’re asked to give a presentation in front of a room full of strangers. What if you were asked to give that same presentation to your close friends and family- that likely would not trigger shyness, right? When you feel shyness coming on, try to focus on the thoughts that are going through your head.
- Write Down Situations that Cause Shyness.
Get a notebook and a pen and start writing down all of the situations that cause you to feel anxious and shy. Put them in order of least (those causing the least anxiety) to greatest (those causing the most anxiety). Make sure that you’re as specific as possible so that you can put together a plan for facing them head on and overcoming your shyness. For example, don’t just list “talking in front of people”-specify what kind of people.
- Conquer Your List.
Now that you’ve made your list, start facing each situation head-on and overcoming your shyness. Start with those that cause the least anxiety so that you can build up your confidence to face those that cause the most. Sometimes you may take two steps forward and one step back in this process- don’t worry! It’s not about hurrying to the finish line- remember, slow and steady wins the race! You must take this at your own pace and don’t get too upset with yourself if you do experience setbacks. However, don’t just sit back and wait for it to happen- you still have to put forth the effort.
What are the causes of being shy?
- You Have a Weak Self-Image.
When you evaluate yourself and the voice in your head is negative, this results in a weak self-image. It can be difficult to stop listening to it. However, remember that at the end of the day, that voice in your head is yours and you are in charge of what it says.
- You Don’t Believe Compliments.
You may have a hard time believing people when they pay you a compliment. However, even if you don’t think you look good, obviously they did. After all, they told you so- would you really call them a liar? When someone pays you a compliment, simply accept it and say “thank you.” Don’t try to explain it away.
- You’re Worried About What Others Think of You.
Don’t worry about what others think of you. You are who you are- and that is that. The truth is that not everyone is going to love you- and that’s okay.
- You’re Worried About How You Come Off.
When you put too much focus and emphasis on yourself, you become preoccupied with the way you come off. After all, since you’re spending all day examining what you’re doing and why, you’re sure that everyone else is too. If you do this, you must learn to get the focus off of yourself and start focusing on others.
- You’ve Been Called Shy By Others.
Many times, as children, we’re often shy. After all, we’re just learning to get out there and meet people. However, even if you grow out of it, people often still treat you as if you’re shy. Its quite possible that you’re simply trying to be who others say you are to please them. Guess what? You don’t have to do this! You really only have to be yourself.
How To Overcome Shyness:
1. Use Your Shyness as a Cue.
Whatever your triggers are it is because you think it is a trigger. Look back on your childhood and see how you were programmed as a child to react to specific stimuli. For example, as a child you’re taught to avoid strangers, heights, dangerous animals and more. Therefore, when you encounter these as an adult chances are they are triggers for shyness. However, you can change this by re-programming yourself.
2. Pay Attention to Others.
For many of us, we’re shy when we think about speaking up or standing out because we’re afraid of embarrassing ourselves. This is why in order to overcome our shyness, we must learn to get the focus off of ourselves and onto others. When you do that, you stop worrying about how you’re coming off.
3. Practice Speaking Clearly.
When you learn to speak clearly, you’re able to avoid having to deal with the embarrassment of having to repeat what you said. You must get used to the sound of your own voice and love it. To do this, record yourself having conversations. Sure, it may sound crazy, but it will help you to see patterns in your speech. In the beginning, you’ll feel like you’re an actor- and you may need to use some methods that actors use to get yourself in the moment- but eventually, it will become completely natural.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself.
When you compare yourself to others, you’ll start feeling like you’ll never measure up and you feel intimidated- which will trigger shyness. Don’t compare yourself to others- everyone is different. On the other hand, if you must compare yourself to others, understand that everyone else struggles with self-assurance just like you are. Ask your confident friends and family about their struggles with self-assurance- they’ll likely say “Yes, I struggled with that- here’s how I got through it.”
5. Identify Your Value and Strengths.
As you read above, everyone is different and has their own special gifts they bring to the world. Just because you’re not the loudest person in the room and you don’t know how to get a party going, does not mean that you’re not important in social situations. Keep in mind that when it comes to social circles, all roles must be filled- you need a leader, you need a listener, you need someone that is good at organization- and much more. No matter what you’re good at, you do have value to complete the group dynamic.
6. Don’t Focus on Labels.
Just because someone is popular does not mean that they’re happy. Just because someone is shy does not mean that they are an introvert, or unhappy or cold. Just because someone is an extrovert does mean that they are happy and popular. You don’t want people putting labels on you, so don’t put labels on them. Don’t worry about labels people place on you- just be who you are because all phases of your life will end- high school will end, college will end, your work life will end….you don’t want to try to be something you’re not to please others.
7. Gather All Necessary Information.
When you are invited to a party, gather some information of some recent topics that have been in the news or perhaps the latest television show. This way, if that topic happens to come up in conversation, you’ll be able to talk about it. The point is not to be a know-it-all, it is simply to show that you know enough to talk about it.
8. Learn to Start Conversations.
Think about your accomplishments- and use those to start conversations. Look for something you have in common with the other person and make a random comment. Try to avoid making short statements-if someone asks you were you live, don’t simply give them the street name, mention a landmark nearby. This way, the conversation will likely keep going.
9. Get Warmed Up.
When you attend a party, you can have the same conversation over and over again. Exchange pleasantries with as many people as possible to create the introductory part of a conversation- and make the conversations short, just a few minutes. After all, a two minute conversation is much easier to handle when you’re trying to overcome shyness than a twenty minute one, right? Later, you can go back and really have meaningful conversations with those that you really enjoyed meeting.
10. Be Approachable.
Make sure that your body language conveys an open, friendly attitude. Don’t cross your arms and keep your head up and your hands free. After all, if you’re sitting/standing around playing a game or texting on your cell phone, people won’t approach you because they don’t want to interrupt. Think of it this way- what type of person would you want to approach. Consider what your body language is currently saying- would you want to approach you?
11. Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations.
Though you should avoid situations that you truly can’t stand being in- that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in comfortable situations. You do need to put yourself out there and get in those uncomfortable situations to learn how to overcome your shyness. Start conversations with people that you come into contact with- the opportunities abound for this.
12. Meet Someone New Every Day.
In many cases, it is much easier to chat with strangers- at least for a few moments. After all, chances are you’ll never see them again so it doesn’t matter what they think about you- right? The more you do this, the more that you will see that people truly are receptive and friendly.
13. Put Yourself Out There.
Talk to someone who is different- someone that you normally wouldn’t talk to. Look around for people who share your interests. Sometimes, you can find groups in your community that share the same interests- join one or two of those so that you can get to know more people. The only way you’re going to grow is to get involved. Keep in mind that it will get easier over time.
14. Record Your Progress.
Remember where you wrote down your list of shyness triggers? Now take the time to write down your accomplishments. When you see the progress you’re making, it gives you the motivation that you need to carry on. You’ll see that you truly are getting control over your shyness- which will show you that you can truly overcome it!
15. Be Patient with Yourself.
There is no timeline for overcoming your shyness. You may be the one that goes from shy to outgoing in a week. Then again, it may take you six months or more. Just know that it will take however long it takes- don’t compare yourself to others and just keep trusting that you’ll get there and you will.
16. Say “Yes” More Often.
Allow yourself to say “yes” more often. Sure, it is likely to be difficult at first, but start out with small things. Say “hi” to someone new. Start doing things that you normally don’t do very often- you’ll find that there are lots of those available. Plus, you’ll gain confidence because you did it.
17. Don’t Think You Have to Qualify Yourself.
Have you ever met someone only to have them explain to you WHY they’re so great? For example, what a great job they have or the fact that they’re married to the person of their dreams, or how much they paid for their outfit- it doesn’t make for a good impression. When you’re in a situation that causes you to feel shy, chances are you feel like you must do this. If you’re asked about a particular facet of your life, give a simple explanation- don’t explain too much.
18. Ask, Don’t Talk Too Much.
I’m sure you already know that people typically love talking about themselves. So, one of the best ways to overcome your shyness is to get to know people by asking them questions that allow them to talk about their own lives. Remember, when you ask, you must genuinely pay attention to their answers and ask appropriate follow-up questions.
19. Stop Calling Yourself Shy.
The more you call yourself shy, the more your shyness increases. So, instead of focusing and talking about how shy you are, try to reframe your thoughts with some positive affirmations. Tell yourself that you are confident and you will be- it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
20. Find Good Role Models.
Everyone needs someone to look up to, right? Think about those people in your life that are not at all shy. Ask them to help you to overcome your shyness. Chances are, they would love to!
21. Take Deep Breaths.
When you’re in a situation and you find that your feelings of shyness are creeping up, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. If possible, step away from the crowd to a bathroom and look in the mirror. Then, give yourself a little pep talk. “I can do this. I am not shy. I am confident and self-assured.”
22. Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities.
As we have said, everyone has different talents and abilities. Think about your own personal abilities- what is it that you truly do well? No one can ever take that from you- keep that in mind. Believe that you’re good at these things and pretty soon you’ll see your confidence increase.
23. Reward Yourself.
When you start trying to overcome your shyness remember to track your progress- and reward that progress! Now, I mean truly reward yourself- whether you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, or you go buy yourself a treat. Don’t let even a seemingly small accomplishment go unnoticed.
24. “Role-Play” Your Shyness Away.
One great way to overcome your shyness is by pretending you’re someone who possesses a strong physical presence. When you’re in a situation that triggers your shyness, you can channel their physicality, which will correct any of the negatives that came up in the first exercise.
25. Know that Shyness is an Emotion- Not Your Personality.
Many times, we think that shyness is reflective of our personalities. However, you should know that shyness is an emotion and has nothing to do with our personalities. This is something that you can overcome with just a little bit of effort and patience.