Shyness is a pattern of behavior characterized by communicative difficulties and social inhibition. However it is not a disease, and can be overcome if you develop the right skills.
Learning how to overcome shyness is important if you are interfering with quality of life, well-being, personal relationships or achievement of goals. In this article we will explain 10 practical steps to do so.
How to Overcome Shyness
After overcoming it and leaving it behind, you can have more opportunities, better personal relationships and even develop you more professionally. Losing shyness is a matter of perseverance, patience, and hard work.
What is shyness?
Shyness is a trend of stable behavior characterized by not being noticed, passing unnoticed and not expressing normally, which usually limits social development.
Timid people find it difficult to express their opinions, to establish conversations, to show their way of being in public and to function in a socially unconcerned manner.
It is very important to mention that shyness is not a disease or a psychological alteration, it is simply a personality trait and a specific behavior pattern that many people have that how to overcome .
However, being shy may reduce a person’s ability level, may force them to have more effort to perform simple social activities and in some cases may cause problems of self-esteem or personal satisfaction.
This is not to say that being shy is a negative and harmful personality trait and being extroverted is a positive and beneficial personality trait how to overcome shyness.
Extroversion can cause certain problems or discomforts in the same way as shyness can.
The ” quit” of the issue lies in how we manage shyness, how we adapt it in our way of being and behaving, and what effects we cause in our day to day.
Poor management of shyness can lead to certain problems and dissatisfactions, and can lead to the appearance of a social phobia .
Social phobia is a radical, extreme and disadapted fear of social situations, in which high levels of anxiety are experienced when they can not be avoided.
In shyness this does not happen, so the person can function properly despite the anxiety or nervousness that he may have in certain social situations.
However, it is very important that shy people who are not satisfied with their social functioning, learn to manage their shyness to lower their levels of anxiety and acquire an optimum relational style.
There are quite a few discrepancies when it comes to determining what is usually the source of shyness.
There are authors who argue that they are innate personality traits that are possessed throughout life and there are authors who defend that they are styles of behaviors acquired during childhood and adolescence.
In my opinion, as in most psychological aspects, when making a pattern of shyness in a person’s personality, genetic, environmental and learning factors are involved .
However, although shyness is an attribute of personality, that is, shyness is part of the way of being shy people , this does not mean that it can not be reversed.
And is that to overcome your shyness you do not have to change the way you are. You do not have to start being an extrovert and totally opposed to who you are right now.
To overcome your shyness, what you have to do is to know yourself well and your way of acting, so that you are able to adequately manage your withdrawal and ensure that it does not alter your social functioning.
10 steps to overcome shyness
1.Analyze your shyness
As we have said, the first step to overcome shyness is to know yourself well and to know your shyness even better.
Stop thinking and analyze how your shyness works. How and when does shyness appear? What actions do you prevent? What feelings do you have in those moments? What general idea do you have about your shyness? How do you feel about that?
Grab paper and pencil and make a column with each of these questions. Then try to answer them and write as much information as possible about each one.
This information will serve to face and delimit the problem, to know the operation of your shyness and to have a greater control over her during the following steps.
2.Accept the way you are
Woman smiling looking down
The second step you must do is to build a positive attitude to overcome your shyness.
This attitude should be based on accepting your way of being and therefore your shyness.
As we have said, being shy is not a negative attribute, it is not a pathology or a dysfunctional aspect of your personality.
It is true that extreme shyness can lead you to suffer bigger problems like a social phobia.
However, owning a way of being opposite, being overly extroverted, you may also lead to suffering a histrionic or narcissistic p ersonality.
This shows that the problem is not to be shy or not to be shy, but to perform a bad management of your shyness.
This must be very present since the attitude that you must follow throughout the process should not be based on the desire to exterminate your shyness completely or to acquire an opposing way.
Shyness should not be the part of your personality that you want to eradicate but the part of the way you want to learn to manage.
3.Details the situations in which you would like to be less shy
Woman with hand on face
Subsequently, you must specify what are the situations in which your shyness manifests and notes that because of it does not work as you would like.
Make a list of all the activities in which you notice that you are extremely shy, you can not communicate properly, you are very difficult to express yourself or you do not relate as you would.
These situations will be basically social and if you analyze well you can think of many:
When you’re with friends drinking, at work meetings, when you have to expose or explain something in public , when you meet your neighbor in the elevator, when you have to ask for the bill in a restaurant.
Try to make a list with all the situations in which you notice that your shyness influences in excess in the way you behave. Then order them from greater to lesser relevance according to your criteria.
4.Detect your automatic thoughts
Interesting thinking woman
Once you have defined all the situations, memorize them well and take them into account. And this is the next step is to detect the automatic thoughts that you have in those situations.
The automatic thoughts are those things that come to mind automatically at a certain time, and which are rarely aware.
We are not aware because when appearing automatically we do not stop to think about them, therefore comes to our head, we ignore them and we continue with our lives. These thoughts may be such as:
“If I call the waiter he may not hear me, the people at the table next to him will and will think I’m ridiculous.” This thought that appears in your mind makes it very difficult to ask the account in a restaurant.
“If I say something to my neighbor in the elevator, she’ll think the issue I’ve got is absurd.” This thought may make you choose to remain silent.
“If I intervene in the conversation of my friends they will think that my comment is uninteresting and they will not listen to me.” This thinking can lead you to not participate in the conversations.
So, what you will have to do is be very attentive in those situations in which your shyness is manifested, to be able to realize these thoughts and then write them down.
5.Work to change them
Person with happy face
Once we have the automatic thoughts registered, the goal is to be able to change them.
The first step for you to do this is to realize that the thoughts that come to your head have no certainty of being true.
That is, you have no evidence that if you say something in the elevator your neighbor thinks that you are ridiculous, or that your friends do, or the people at the table next to when you ask for the bill.
So, these automatic thoughts all they do is increase your shyness and prevent you from properly interacting. If everyone had these kinds of thoughts no one would relate properly.
Once you see that these thoughts do not have to be true, change them to more appropriate ones. For example:
“If I ask for the bill and the waiter does not hear me and the people at the next table do, they will think that the waiter has a lot of work and is not serving his customers well.”
Record an alternative thought for each of the automatic thoughts you recorded in point 4.
6.Use Alternative Thoughts
Once you have an alternative thought for each automatic thought read them several times to clearly remember the association between the two.
Thus, from now on, whenever you are in any of the situations described in point 3 and you detect one of the automatic thoughts that you recorded in point 4, you must immediately think of your alternative thinking described In point 5.
So, whenever you are in a situation where your first reaction is shyness, your automatic thinking with which your shyness manifests itself will no longer be irrefutable and you will have to deal with an alternative thought.
This fact will in each situation have a greater capacity to properly assess what could happen if you express yourself and therefore increase the chances that you do.
7.Point out the simplest situations
Two friends talk
To practice your training in thoughts it is convenient that you first expose yourself to those situations that give you less cut.
Thus, if you perform the exercise of modifying automatic thinking in simple situations, you most likely dare to express yourself and manage to overcome shyness.
8.Change your beliefs
Once you are able to modify your automatic thoughts, you will have to focus on modifying your more general beliefs .
You must detect all your beliefs like the following: “I am shy and that is why I do not relate”, “if I express myself too much they will think that I am ridiculous”, “if I show in excess how I am, people will not like”, etc.
Once you have detected them all verify your certainty.
Why do they have to be true if I have already managed to relate properly in various situations? Why these beliefs will be appropriate if no one has ever told me that I am ridiculous?
Look for the reason you hold these beliefs and you will see that you have already begun to leave behind your shyness.
Although the exercises we have done so far will help you lose your shyness in many situations, you will probably continue to experience anxiety and nervousness in many of them.
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So, if you notice that sometimes you get too nervous, you should learn to relax .
You can do the following exercise for about 10 minutes when the anxiety takes over you.
Breathe deeply with the diaphragm, noticing how the air enters and leaves your belly.
In each deep inspiration he repeats a word or phrase that conveys calm like “everything is going well” or “I am calm”, and imagine a calm landscape
If the situation allows you, you can play back some relaxation song with the low volume.
10.Point out gradually
Finally, through all the strategies discussed in the previous points, gradually expose yourself to different situations.
Obviously if you start with the situation that causes you more anxiety it will cost you much more than if you start with the easiest ones and, as you work well on them, you continue with the more difficult ones
For this you can use the list you made in point 3 and expose yourself intentionally to all situations progressively.
And how have you done to overcome your shyness? Share it to help readers. Thank you very much.