There are a myriad of reasons why a person may have developed a level of shyness. It could result from low self-esteem, depression, or some experience from deep in your past. When a shy person is placed in certain social situations they actually experience several physiological conditions. Your heart starts to race, you start to perspire, your stomach turns, and you may even begin to panic.
Most people at some point in their lives may be faced with these feelings but that does not mean that they have a problem with shyness. Shyness is an internal fear of not being able to fit into new social situations well. It usually occurs when a person is faced with new and unfamiliar circumstances. The shyness comes up when they have to tread in unfamiliar territory and are not sure how they will measure up.
If you are a person that is experiencing a level of shyness you need not despair. While the issues that may have caused your shyness could be deep rooted you might still be able to try a few things to help you overcome it.
Some Ideas To Try
1. Take new things in small bites. Since the feelings of shyness generally present themselves when you are faced with new and unfamiliar situations you can introduce new experiences in smaller packages. Rather than trying to jump into large, crowded events try smaller groups, gradually getting larger and larger as you gain your confidence.
2. Focus on your strong suits. We all have talents and strengths. Find out what those things are and use them to introduce yourself to new environments. Join groups and clubs that will appreciate your talents and help to boost your level of confidence.
3. Determine the root cause. Once you know the source of your shyness, you can take active steps to overcome it. By dealing with the problem where it starts you can chip away at your defenses and over time break them down. As you build on your knowledge of yourself then your confidence will improve and your level of shyness will begin to decrease.
4. Recognize the true problem. One of the things that may cause people to be shy is the fear of judgment. They believe that people are watching their actions, their style of dress, and the results of their efforts. Most of the time you are trying to match your experiences with that of other people. Keep in mind that each person has a right to be different. You don't want to be a clone of someone else. Being different is perfectly normal. Once you've come to grips with this concept you are well on your way to overcoming your shyness.
5. Let go. Understand that you cannot be a micromanager of your personal life. Many people develop their shyness because they cannot control their situation. Life is meant to be lived, not controlled. An attempt to control every situation that comes up will leave you frustrated and disappointed. Just as you want to let go of other people's control over you, remember that you cannot control what others do either. Once you accept the fact that life is about living in the moment you will not develop the irrational fear of what may or may not be unacceptable.
6. Stop making comparisons. Each person is different. They all have different backgrounds and abilities. Many people tend to compare themselves to others without realizing that everyone comes to the table with different skill sets. You are not aware of what it took for them to reach their level. Try to focus only on your own personal progress and not that of the other person and you will notice that the fear behind your shyness will slowly begin to ebb away.
My Own Personal Experience
I was very shy as a child. I played sports. I had many friends. I even talked quite a bit. However, I was still shy. It was not a debilitating shyness that some people have but it did interrupt a lot of the personal milestones that I had set for myself. It was not until I went to college that I learned about how to overcome this obstacle in my life. It opened so many doors for me. It was one of the best things I ever did to achieve success.
I was taking a psychology class at Southeast Missouri State University. I was one of those students that felt like I needed extra credit just in case. One of the ways for extra credit was to go to counseling sessions with the students who were in the Counseling Master’s Program. I cannot remember the name of the guy who I was assigned to, but he made a big impact on my life.
I was one of the resistant clients, who I have to sometimes work with today. I did go in and talk about things, but it was more about trying out for the baseball team, how hard classes were, and what I could do to succeed in school. I was resistant in that I was only talking about surface issues and not the real issues.
One day I was rambling on about something not of importance, and he interrupted me. I was this short white guy and he was this big African-American guy. I do not throw our races out there for any reason except to contrast how different we were. Frankly, he scared the crap out of me, because his voice was very deep, loud and he was standing over me before I even knew it. He was not angry, but he bellowed, “Boy, when are you going to stop talking about this Bull and start talking about issues that are going to make a difference in life.” I can almost hear his voice as I write that statement.
I looked up at him, scared, and said in my soft, anxious voice “ baseball is important to me.” I thought I was going to die. He sat back down, looked at me and told me that baseball was important to me but unless I was going to be the next, great Cardinal pitcher, I needed to stop wasting his time and mine and do some work.
That was a changing point in my life. I went on to talk about my relationships with others and how shyness affected me. He gave me some good advice and we sat out to work on overcoming this shyness. The plan and activities he gave me will be the topic for another article in the near future.
That time and those techniques made a lot the difference in my life. I now make my living talking to others. I still get nervous at times. I still have butterflies when I do public speaking, but I have taught those butterflies to fly in formation and help me deliver the presentation.
There is no one trick to help anyone to overcome shyness. Just as there are many causes for shyness there are also many techniques to help you to overcome it. One thing you need to be aware of is that everyone who has difficulty mixing with other people is not experiencing shyness. Everyone is not meant to be an extrovert. Some people just prefer to be alone or in small groups. This could also be a personality trait that is perfectly normal.
Before you force yourself into any situation find out the real reason for your feelings so that you don't find yourself fighting against what is normal. Doing that could open up an all new set of problems.