The First Baby Steps To Overcoming Shyness:
First of all I should say that I, myself am a shy person, but still looking for ways to beat it whenever and wherever I can. I guess, right there, is the first step you need to take. That is being aware you’re shy and making the intention and the promise to yourself to do what you can to overcome shyness. Once you have done this, (and if you’re serious about your goal from the start) your brain and thoughts should help you map the best route to your goal of overcoming shyness. Easier said than done? Well, perhaps. If how to overcome shyness is your journey, then all journeys start from somewhere right?
What is Shyness:
Shyness is a form of self exclusion. A choice of keeping quiet and not engaging people in conversation due to fear or rejection. Shyness is often associated with social anxiety and also social phobia because shyness tends to strike in social situations where you are in new situations, with new people. Essentially you’re in an unknown place or unknown situation where you are out of your usual safe comfort zone where you may feel more confident.
Shyness from my own perspective can be seen as (and caused by) many, but related things. For example, it can be a sense of reluctance. Reluctance to join in a conversation because you don’t want people to notice you or think badly of you if you say something. This fear of people thinking badly of you leads to a fear of possible rejection. This can potentially raise your stress and anxiety levels. This fear can mean you restrict yourself from saying what you want to say or doing what you want to do because you’re anticipating a negative response or rejection.
Naturally not every conversation or social situation is going to ever be perfect and there will be times when you say something or do something odd. It’s in that moment, dealing with that setback, dealing with rejection that might occur and moving on (or trying to) that is the best possible course of action instead of panicking and retracting back into your shell, especially into that moment of awkwardness.
For me, I’m my own worst enemy and am always self critical. I kick myself for silly things I’ve done in the past. Putting yourself down makes things much worse from a shyness perspective and being aware that you’re thinking like this and taking remedial steps will help.
The Origins of Shyness:
In The Shyness and Social Anxiety System, Sean explains what is shyness and what is social anxiety and the possible origins of this. He states that shyness and social anxiety originates from the Neanderthal times to where cavemen had to be seen to be strong and confident in their group and those that had little or no approval were pushed out and isolated and left to survive on their own.
There are articles that say that shyness is an inherited trait, passed on by parents. I don’t believe this to be true and believe that shyness is something that is learned unconsciously or unknowingly. Parents could be a factor in this if they judge, or restrict their children from growing. In these cases the child becomes fearful of doing something wrong in the eyes of their parents. The fact that confident people had confident parents could be purely conincidental.
Don’t Just Read – Take ACTION!
One of the early points that The Shyness and Social Anxiety System mentions is to keep pushing yourself and to talk to people more, even those you might meet on your travels, whom you may not know and feel awkward approaching.
One week in 2013 while at a train station, I aimed to test out and try that very same piece of advice as described in The Shyness and Social Anxiety System. While on a trip to Kent recently by train, there was a young lady at the station who was looking at a map quite regularly and looking lost. Normally, this would be where my shyness kicks in. Maybe some of you can relate to this but I was thinking, “Should I go up and ask if she’s ok or needs any help?” or Is she going to think I’m strange for coming up to her?” or “Is she going to be rude and cold?” With me, when those kind of questions pop into my head, I analyse them and think, “ok no I won’t do anything, best be safe and not embarrass myself or ‘make a scene'”.
The interesting think here was, on this one rare occasion, I bit the bullet and went up and said hello and asked if she was ok. To my surprise she was quite friendly and that initial push forward sparked a long conversation about many things, on the platform and on the train into Kings Cross, London. It was there that we parted company, where unfortunately, my good friend shyness and fear prevented me from asking for her number, something I regret doing after making an effort but that’s life! That was one small step towards answering the question of how to overcome shyness, namely by taking a chance and facing fears.
The point I’m making here is that if I didn’t kick my own ass into gear, bust out of my safe comfort zone, forget embarrassing myself and forget making a scene and talk to someone who I wouldn’t have had spoken to in any other normal situation I wouldn’t have had that great experience! So that step, right there, was a minor victory for me! Yay! That’s the positive outcome you need to acknowledge and build on every time you take a step forward in beating and overcoming your shyness.
Remember to give yourself a pat on the back and appreciate yourself for when you take your own leap of faith, and break out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s easy to remember your failures and forget (or take for granted) your successes. I know, as I can be like that sometimes as I can be my own worst enemy. Keep a note of your attempts good or bad!
I mentioned fear and regret before I think these two can sometimes go hand in hand when it comes to shyness. I think this forms a vicious circle which have these steps:
Fear comes after because you’re worried about how people will perceive you if you say something or do something while among new or strange people. Rather than potentially looking like a fool, or fearing that people will point their finger at you for something you say or do, you choose to take no action at all (avoidance) and stay quiet. In short it’s a fear of a lack of approval (or rejection) that is a big factor.
When you take no action or avoid taking action you regret doing so which can make you feel low or frustrated and can mean you don’t take any steps to change your situation which repeats the process
For me, in my case and example, I wouldn’t have met that young lady, (we were talking so much I didn’t have time to ask her name) had I not taken my leap of faith. So the initial advice in The Shyness and Social Anxiety System that Sean mentions of talking to people you wouldn’t normally have spoken to (because of your shyness) was extremely useful and empowering too!
Ok, this might be hard (and forgive me if this might be too easy for some) to start with but next time you recognise you’re going to avoid contact, and become aware of your shyness, see if you can challenge yourself to confront your shyness. Not confrontational in the aggressive sense of course. See if you can make a stand and make a point to yourself. For example, if you see a tourist that looks lost, go up and say hello and ask if they need help. In a restaurant, ask your server about something on the menu. If you’re buying clothes or a snazzy new pair of glasses ask the assistant for their opinion. See what happens and note your feelings before and after. Don’t be afraid and don’t give up!
On the next pages of The Shyness and Social Anxiety System Review, you can download a FREE sample copy / preview PDF of the ebook so you can see what it’s about before grabbing a full copy for yourself. Finally on the last page you can read my full review!
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