We will all probably know both some introverts and extroverts in life yet we can gain a wrong impression about both types of people. For example some introverts can be extremely confident and able people whilst some extroverts aren’t as confident as they’d like to appear to be and often try to mask their true identities behind a false façade.
Shyness can affect both introverts and extroverts and anybody else too. It can be very debilitating and, if severe, can have a huge negative impact upon our ability to form meaningful relationships and it can also affect our careers or jobs.
Tackling The Problem
If you recognise the fact that you are shy and see that as a barrier to enjoying your life then you’ve at least taken the first step in overcoming it by accepting that it’s causing a problem for you.
The important thing is to have the courage to confront it head on. Imagine a crowded room full of hundreds of people you’ve never met. No doubt that will strike a chord of fear within you. Well, in order to overcome shyness it’s not necessary to throw yourself lock, stock and barrel into the same scenario but you can and should face this type of fear (a fear which you’ve generated within yourself remember) by perhaps attending an event where you might be faced with 10 strangers. Like with any kind of fear, once you’ve repeated this exercise several times, you’ll find it’s something which has no reason to cause you fear and that it’s perhaps this irrational fear that’s causing you to feel shy.
A lot of people feel shy because they have low self esteem and feel unworthy when comparing themselves to others and so find it difficult to communicate with others whom they don’t know. Once again this is an irrational thought process. However, if you do feel as though you have nothing to say one of the best ways of overcoming your shyness is to focus your attention on the other person instead. In other words, be interested and fascinated by what others have to say. Good socialisers tend to make people feel comfortable by showing a genuine interest in what the other person has to say and listening attentively to their responses. Therefore, the shy person has switched the focus onto someone else and, as we all know, that will be met by a great sense of appreciation by the other party as we are all only too aware that most people don’t need to be given too much of an excuse to talk about themselves.
By engaging in these kinds of conversations, you are challenging yourself and overcoming what you perceived to be a problem and with that comes an increased sense of your own self-esteem. This outcome will be repeated each time you do it until you’ll feel confident enough to hold your own in most, if not all, social situations you find yourself in as conversations will usually naturally evolve out of listening to what the other person has to say first.
Like any negative thought, a determination to beat shyness and not to let it defeat you and adopting an attitude to support that is the key to overcoming it. In learning new ways of tackling the problem, you’ll simultaneously be unlearning the old ways of behaving which have held you back so far.
When you’re not out and about testing out your new powers of self confidence, practice some relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to enable you to remain calm and in control of your feelings.
It’s not the case that we all have traits and quirks that are with us for life. Yes, people try to stereotype others and to pigeon hole people into certain groups such as “he’s a loudmouth”, “she’s really shy” etc., but you should refuse to give any thought as to how others perceive you and, instead, focus on how you want to perceive yourself. Bad habits, fears and other feelings which have held you back in life can be changed if you have the determination and focus to make those changes. Overcoming shyness is just another of life’s many obstacles which, if met with head on, can be overcome enabling you to lead a much richer and more fulfilled life.