Being shy can be a real problem, and it can affect all aspects of your life. Here are some great tips for how to overcome shyness.
Everyone gets a bit tongue-tied from time to time, or a bit nervous and unsure of what to say. It could be starting a new school, your first day at a new job, heading out to meet someone for a first date, or any number of other situations where you aren’t your usually confident self.
Then, of course, there are those of us who feel shy all the time – it doesn’t matter what the scenario is. And we would love to know how to overcome shyness!
Interacting with people you don’t know can feel like a huge deal – and crippling shyness is awful. It stops you from making friends or getting the job you want. It also stops you from asking for what you want and going on dates. In some cases, it can be so bad that you don’t feel like leaving the house at all. [Read: How to not be awkward – A guide for the quirky ones]
Why are some people shy?
People can be shy for a number of reasons, but the common theme is that almost all don’t know how to overcome shyness. But regardless of why, the end result is always the same – they feel socially awkward and frequently don’t know what to say to other people. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons people may be shy.
#1 A poor self-image. Shy people tend not to think very highly of themselves. They don’t believe they have anything of value to contribute, and therefore, feel uncomfortable voicing their opinions or offering their thoughts on a particular topic.
#2 Self-obsession. Shy people tend to harbor the mistaken belief that everything they do or say will be ridiculed by others. They become extremely self-aware and very sensitive to every word they speak, every movement they make. In other words, they become extremely self-conscious.
This pre-occupation with the self makes it very difficult for others to interact with them. Shy people think everything they say is wrong, and that they can’t do anything right.
#3 They have labelled themselves. As soon as you begin to believe that you are shy, you are more inclined to act in a shy manner. You start to become known as ‘the quiet one’ and people don’t demand as much form you as they would do of someone who they don’t believe is shy.
Because of this, it is easy to get neglected and left on the outskirts in social situations. This only exacerbates the problem.
How to overcome shyness
If you feel self-conscious and awkward around new people – and feel like when you try to start a conversation you just instantly don’t know what to say – then maybe we can help.
#1 Knowledge is power. If you are able to understand why you are shy, you are halfway there in terms of overcoming it. What is the root cause of the feeling? What are your triggers?
Understanding what it is that makes you feel shy, and really exploring your emotions surrounding it, will help you to find out the underlying cause of your shyness and address any concerns you have.
#2 Become more aware. Being self-conscious is something that we have all experienced in our lives. However, if your self-consciousness is getting the better of you, then tackle it head on. This is one of the most crucial steps for how to overcome shyness.
Taking your head out of the sand and realizing that the world does not revolve around you can often be a ‘eureka!’ moment for self-conscious people. Most people are also far too preoccupied with their own self-image to be worrying about yours! [Read: How to make small talk without feeling awkward]
#3 Be strong. You may have low self-esteem, but try to sit yourself down and work out what your strengths are. Everyone has some! Find a way to use your strengths to your advantage, embrace them, and be proud of them. Then, slowly but surely your self-image will improve.
#4 Like who you are. Often shy people spend a lot of time neglecting themselves because they are afraid of what they will see. It is important to learn to love yourself. Embrace who you are and find a way to appreciate yourself.
It is very difficult for other people to relate to those who put themselves down all the time. If you keep pointing out your flaws to others, that may be all they end up seeing. Do the reverse *in a non-boastful way* and they will see what an awesome person you are too.
#5 Be yourself. Sometimes shy people have a problem because they feel they will have to change everything about themselves just to fit in with a particular crowd. But if you want to know how to overcome shyness, you need to get over this.
#6 Take a deep breath. Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath to get you back on track. Learn some great, calming, breathing exercises to help relax you before you step into a stressful social situation.
#7 Start small. Another step in how to overcome shyness is to set little goals for yourself each day to try and resolve your shyness bit by bit. You don’t have to go to a large social gathering of strangers and expect to be the life of the party.
But why not start by trying to have a conversation with someone you normally wouldn’t *just for a few minutes* and see where it takes you? Work on this bit by bit to get your confidence slowly, gradually building.
#8 Visualize it. This is pretty much the equivalent of “fake it until you make it.” Keep telling yourself that you are confident, that you are brave, and that you are happy. Imagine scenes where you can be just that, where you laugh and joke and chat comfortably with people. [Read: Motivational tips and tricks for shy people and introverts]
Really seeing it in your mind’s eye will help convince your brain that you can get there. You can also try repeating a positive mantra to yourself in the mirror every day. Do it out loud – this can really help convince your mind of what you are saying.
#9 Challenge yourself. You might not want to do this, but if you want to know how to overcome shyness, it’s necessary. There has to be a point where you bite the bullet and put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
#10 Prepare for rejection. Often shy people are that way because they are terrified of being rejected. But you know what? Rejection happens to all of us. The difference is that some people just dust themselves off and get right back in there.
Not everyone will like you, not all people you want to date will want to date you back, not everyone will think your work is visionary. You know what? That’s OK. Besides, you have to believe in yourself before you can expect others to. [Read: Why introverts are much more than just shy and awkward]
#11 Be imperfect. No one is perfect, and it is important to remember that. People who are shy often think they are not good enough. Why? Because they often compare themselves to the kinds of people whose success is unattainable.
Perfect bodies, perfect jobs, perfect relationships – they aren’t really real. Stop trying to be perfect. Try to be happy instead.
#12 Peel off that label. Labels are for jars, not for people. You can be whoever you want to be.
#13 Take baby steps, keep practicing, and celebrate your progress. Overcoming shyness takes a whole mental overhaul, and so it will take time. Just try to work on it little by little and you will get there.
Celebrate your progress and don’t beat yourself up if you slip back into it from time to time. Just understand that you can be comfortable within yourself, and you deserve to be too.