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Is Overwhelming Shyness Holding You Back?

Is Overwhelming Shyness Holding You Back?

Were you one of those shy kids clinging to your mom’s leg? Did you dodge attention, feel inferior and avoid being called out? Still doing that as an adult?

Shyness and overwhelming self-doubt are more common than you think, and they’re holding back millions of people just like you from living more exciting and fulfilling lives. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t destroy that terrifying fear that has been holding you back. You aren’t meant to be shy.  And there is no reason you can’t shine in your own way.

From social gatherings, to business meetings, to your one-on-one relationships, if you want to break free from shyness, create better relationships and be more comfortable in your skin when you are around people then read on. There are time-tested techniques that have served me well in my personal life, as well as helping my clients. In a world where relationships are everything, you must set yourself apart and still stay true to who you are. Here is how to break free from shyness:

It’s more of a mindset than what you do.

From someone who has overcome overwhelming shyness and helps people gain more self-confidence to create more connection with other people, I’m about to break it down for you. What you are about to learn is the mindset of people who stand out, go after what they want and have great relationships.

This is a state of mind that if adapted will help you in your love life, your career, your health and your spiritual life.

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What are some limiting beliefs about yourself that you currently hold that need to be changed? 

Set realistic expectations.

Everyone wants something different. One person may want to be on stage, whereas someone else may just want to be comfortable on a date or in a business meeting.

As you learn these techniques and insights, it is important to be very clear about what you want and what it looks like. The goal here is to get you to feel good about being who you are and connecting with people.

Everyone has a different expectation when it comes to what they want and how they want to feel when they connect to people.

What do you want? How do you want to feel when you are around people? What does that look like for you?

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Focus on sharing.

By far, the most effective technique in overcoming shyness is to switch your consciousness from you to them.

Remember the last time you were in a situation and you were nervous or shy? I’d be willing to bet you were focusing on yourself: how you looked, what you were going to say, or how different you were from everyone else.

People that shine are focusing on delivering, serving and benefiting others in some way. They focus outward, not inward. Sure, it’s important to be aware of how you are being perceived, but people always remember how you make them feel. In order to make them feel good you must focus on sharing with them.

Next time you are in an uncomfortable situation, shift your focus to someone else and ask yourself how you can help them or add value to their lives.

Be interested instead of trying to be interesting.

Make the focus of every conversation about someone else at first. This will take the pressure off of you and make them feel significant. Asking questions and genuinely caring about what the person says immediately gets you out of your own head and makes the person feel special.

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Be mindful not to interrogate, but simply show a curiosity about their world. Actually listen to their voice and less to that voice of doubt in your head.

Your outcome is to have the confidence to create more authentic relationships with people. In order to do that you must build a comfortable bond with them.  When you discover more about someone, connect your similar interests to create that bond.

How will you start to be more interested in people? Will you ask them about their job, their taste in music, or an experience they had? Next time you do, seek for common interests to build a bond. Connect to the actual person as opposed to what you think they are.  

Embrace vulnerability.

Trying to pretend that you are not nervous makes people nervous.

I was in a small workshop one time, shaking in my shoes. I just came right out and said, “You know what, you guys? This is my first time speaking in front of you and I’m terrified! Yikes!” Everyone opened up and started joking around. It broke the ice. I immediately felt more comfortable because I felt a part of them.

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Brené Brown, an expert in vulnerability (yes, there is actually an expert in vulnerability), says that courage actually comes from vulnerability. Ironically, people actually find vulnerability endearing. It makes them want to protect you, it makes you human, and it makes you relatable.

Trust me, I hung out with the cool kids and the oddballs, too. They are all the same. Everyone freaks out at some time or another. Be vulnerable. It’s OK!

You can be vulnerable by being honest when you are nervous, being honest about wanting to make new friends, or opening up to someone right off the bat. How can you open up to people?  

Start shining right now! Comment below and tell me your story. Like this article? Share it! Here are some more tips on self-confidence!

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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