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Are You Shy? Use It to Your Advantage

Are You Shy? Use It to Your Advantage

Shyness can affect how you feel, think and act in front of others. Research on shyness reports that almost half of adults are affected with normal shyness, and up to 15% with extreme shyness. Although you might think of yourself as being the only shy person amongst your friends, chances are that many more feel the same way inside.

Do you find yourself avoiding eye contact, laughing nervously or generally feeling out of place when around others? Thoughts like what or what not to say, whom to speak to, and what to do when things feel awkward can run at a thousand miles per hour inside your head. Remember, these are just some of the things that experiencing shyness typically results in. Knowing this will help you start to harness the true power that shyness can bring to your personal growth and relationships.

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Silence is powerful

Giving other people full attention as you listen to what they have to say can have a tremendous impact on the conversation. Shy people often don’t say things just for the sake of talking. This makes them incredible listeners. By making others feel heard, they will feel able to confide in you and share more on a personal level. This encourages meaningful conversation and the chance to genuinely connect with others.

Being in this position also adds to your wealth of knowledge and understanding of this world. Take advantage of the chance to listen to others. This will only increase the thoughtfulness of your replies when you have something to add, making your impact all the more influential.

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Harness your non-verbal language

Talking isn’t the only way to get a message across, or even to make friends. If the thought of conversation makes you feel nervous, use your non-verbal body language to show your concern instead. Think about being in a crowded room full of strangers talking. You would be much more likely to approach someone who smiles at you warmly, even if you didn’t feel like joining in.

Non-verbal language is the key to making others feel more welcome and relaxed. Sending a smile that conveys “hello” can make people warm to you as much as being the wittiest line of self-introduction. Remember that body language is contagious, and you can help others feel comfortable around you even without saying a word.

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Help other shy people

We have all felt shy at some point in our lives. Not everyone will remember to use their experience for good. Shy people can often acutely remember the nervousness they feel in new social situations. If that is the case for you, look at your life and see if you can spot anyone else who may have just joined your workplace, school or social group. Think back to a time when you may have felt anxious about entering the new and unknown, and how any help to integrate would have been appreciated. Shyness is a great gift for bonding with other shy people, and a blessing to help those who may experience what you went through.

Document your journey

Introspection is second nature to those who experience shyness. It can be a double-edged sword, especially if you choose to focus on the negative self-talk that comes with being shy. However, using it to learn more about yourself and where you can take it from there in the future is an extremely effective tool for personal growth.

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By using your shyness as a springboard to look ahead, rather than as a scapegoat for regrets in life, you maximize the opportunities to learn from what your inner voice is telling you. Feeling shy is simply the beginning, not the end. Telling yourself “I feel shy, now what?” can help to acknowledge the discomfort that arises from certain situations, and refocus your mind on what actually needs to be done. When you learn to grow from past experiences, shyness can be very empowering and help both yourself and others.

Featured photo credit: Woman’s Hand Reaching With Hope To Catch A Balloon Against Blue Sky by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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