Almost Everyone Experiences Shyness
You would be surprised at how many people exhibit shy tendencies. With some shy folks it can be a little shyness and for other people it can be an almost crippling sensation of shyness and low confidence that can have detrimental affects on the quality of their lives. Avoidance, seclusion, and the inability to effectively operate in society due to being shy can feel as if you are in a downward spiral to the depths of loneliness and forever doomed to have low self esteem.
Regardless of how severe or how minor your shyness and self esteem are right now, know that it is possible to train yourself in new abilities and to achieve better self esteem and greater confidence. Shyness is just a state of mind and states of mind can be changed. It is possible to overcome your shyness and to begin to reach out with confidence and make new friends.
Granted, there are strange and even dangerous people out in the world, but the majority of people are nice and they are more than happy to chat with people like you. Increasing your self esteem will attract people to you. It really is okay to be noticed and be appreciated for the person that is you!
Analyze Why You are Shy
Are you shy because of your appearance or because of your intelligence or is it because other people seem unapproachable or even scary to you? Look within yourself and become familiar with the reasons that make you shy. Even if you cannot think of it right now, try to become familiar with why you become withdrawn. Close your eyes and meditate on a situation that you had where you were the most shy you’ve ever been. Describe to yourself, even write down notes as to why you think you were shy in those situations. Was it due to someone you were romantically interested in, or at least with whom you were infatuated? Does it have anything to do with someone in a position of power over you and that makes you want to submit and become withdrawn? If you cannot figure out why you are shy, ask someone you trust to list reasons they think people are shy. Maybe you can identify with other people’s shyness or figure out your own reasons. It may take talking to a professional, such as a school counselor to get to the root cause of your shyness.
Get In the Zone by Stepping Out of Your Shy Zone
Learn to stretch beyond your comfort zones. You know what you are used to and comfortable with doing, so now go beyond your familiar comfort zone and then take in that experience and review it all. If you keep stepping out of your comfort zone and practice, practice, practice, soon the new territories will be familiar, and then stretch again to a new zone. Conquer new territory and assimilate what you’ve learned. Learn to step out of your shy zone and practice. Force yourself to explore beyond your comfort zones by simply doing the things that make you shy and practice.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
If you are severely shy or even moderately shy, try some dress-rehearsals in front of a mirror. Imagine that the image you see is someone else. Make eye contact with yourself. If you look away, reestablish eye contact with your image in the mirror and hold it as long as you can. Move in close and really look yourself in the eyes and become comfortable with doing that.
Now step out of view of the mirror and then back in and wave to yourself while keeping eye contact. The more you do these simple steps, the easier it will be to change yourself from shy to sociable to even personable and outgoing! Your self esteem will get a tremendous boost! Pretend that you are rehearsing for your starring role! When you’ve rehearsed several times, stretch to a new zone just past your comfort zone by stepping into view of the mirror and with eye contact, say hello. After rehearsing those steps several times, step toward the mirror and extend your hand to shake hands all the while keeping eye contact with your mirror image. It’s important to keep eye contact and continually stretch beyond your tendency-zone to look away.
The Next Big Step Out of your Shyness
If you live with other people and you trust them to help you in a supportive way, then the next thing to do is to practice with people you know and trust. Pretend they are strangers. Start with one other person and eventually try approaching two or more people. Approach them from a distance, make eye contact (with each person) and say “hello”. Rehearse that several times.
Next, approach them while making eye contact, extend your hand to shake and introduce yourself. Rehearsing greetings several times will lock that familiarity into your mindset and practicing verbal greetings will enable you to speak smoothly and confidently from memory. Remember practice, practice, and more practice makes perfect! Memorize phrases so that you can effortlessly say them in any situation. Being prepared for different situations will increase your self esteem and your confidence will show in your body language and how you talk to others.
The Next Huge Step to the New You
Remember, step beyond your comfort zone by trying new things, such as actually getting out in public to practice and increase your experiences and confidence. Now that you have practiced enough, your rehearsing has already made this aspect of your mental development easier. Compare an outing in public to ones in the past and see if you are already more comfortable about being around strangers. If so, then your self esteem has increased!
Learn to recognize your comfort zones and that imaginary boundary beyond which lies new territory. Getting in the habit of stepping beyond your comfort zones will allow you to do that whenever you want, without the severe hesitations you’ve experienced previously in your shy life. If you are still dreadfully shy about being out in public, continue rehearsing in private and with family and friends. Notice how your comfort zones are expanding.
Practice by going to the mall or into a busy store and try to make eye contact with people. After that feels familiar then try saying hello even if you feel nervous. Keep pushing yourself beyond your comfort zones and assimilate the new experiences. Anyone that starts a new job remembers how strange everything felt and the stress of learning new things, but you know, after a week or two, things became familiar, you were more confident, and after a month or so it was much easier. If you’ve been working at the same place for a long time, notice how things are almost second-nature to you now compared to then. You stretched, assimilated, and became comfortable without even realizing it! Build on our successes and continually increase your confidence in stepping out of your shell and experiencing the world!
It’s Not About You
Since most people are shy or worried about their own performances and interactions out in public, the chances are that people are not thinking badly about you at all and just experiencing their own shyness. Assume that no matter how people react to you, or reject any interactions with you, it is because of them and it is not about you at all. Remember, many people are shy, so don’t take ignoring you or giving you short answers as anything bad about you. These people could be even more shy than you!
Also, it’s good to learn that what other people think of you is none of your business. I know it hurts to imagine that people are thinking badly about you, but you wouldn’t want them to control what you think about them, right? Your thoughts are your thoughts and they are your business. Therefore, other people are free to think whatever they want about you or anybody else or anything else. Be confident in your own thoughts about yourself and don’t worry what other people think of you. It may not be as bad or even bad at all about what you think.
If you are always courteous no matter what reaction you get from someone, then the next time you are around that person, he or she might act differently to you. All it takes is a smile and eye contact and most people will hopefully realize that you are someone that can be approached and possibly befriended, even if you still experience some shyness. Remember practice increases ability which increases self esteem which will give you the confidence to step out of your comfort zones more often.
Once you are farther out of your comfort zone and you’ve practiced and actually become more confident, you’ll be able to read people easier. This is because your focus is not on how you are doing or about being shy anymore, but you will evolve to point where you can begin to make better decisions about how to communicate to other people and truly be confident in every area of your life!
Written by Maxwell Jennings
Image courtesy freerangestock.com