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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 May 27, 2019

How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts

How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts

In a world that is full of external factors that we cannot control, it is becoming more and more important to at least control ourselves.

Thinking positively can have a tremendous effect on our lives. By eliminating negative thoughts, we’re able to at least influence the part of our lives that we can control: our own mindset.

In this article, you will learn how to think positive and ditch the negative thoughts. Before we dive into the step-by-step guide on how to do so, I’d like to share with you how I learned to thinking positive the hard way…

How I Learned to Think Positive

At the start of 2019, I was quite stressed at work with multiple tight deadlines. I was constantly worried and the stress was affecting my ability to sleep. Numerous nights in a row, I would experience insomnia, where I had a staring contest with the ceiling because my mind would simply not stop thinking about all the stressful things I had to deal with.

I eventually got up and wrote everything down. Every single thought that rushed through my head, I wrote it down in detail. This allowed me to do a couple of things:

  • It made everything relatable
  • It showed me that every obstacle that was on my mind was not that big on its own. I was only stressed because these obstacles were big in numbers, while independently, these obstacles were just minor things that I could overcome.
  • It allowed me to think positively about these little obstacles and how I was going to conquer them one at a time.
  • Writing down my negative emotions allowed me to wipe them clean from my mind. Think of it as a laptop: after having browsed for a long time, I was able to clear my RAM and start fresh. My mind was finally clear from negative thoughts.

After doing this, I was finally able to sleep, and the next day, I slowly started to tackle these small obstacles.

This is just one example of how I manage to think positively and eliminate negative thoughts from dominating my mind.

Here are other actionable steps you can follow in order to achieve the same thing.

Step 1: Turn Every Obstacle into Smaller “Challenges”

In the intro, you read that I was stressed because I was worrying about a big number of small obstacles as opposed to one big devastating obstacle. Writing down my worries allowed me to zoom out and look at the bigger picture.

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As a result, I observed my problems as single challenges that I could overcome.

When you’re currently surrounded with negativity – whether that’s because of a stressful project or problems in a relationship – you should try to dissect that challenge into different sub-challenges.

For example, if you have to deliver a huge presentation at work on Friday, try to think of this big task as multiple smaller tasks:

  • Find sources to support your presentation
  • Think of interesting anecdotes, introductions or examples
  • Create a general outline of your presentation
  • Complete the first 5 slides
  • Add a small video or puzzle to your presentation
  • Finish the presentation
  • Think of a keyword for each slide to remember what you have to say
  • Practice the presentation in order to finish it within 30 minutes
  • Deliver a great presentation

While this example may not be relevant to you, the message is all the same. You can tackle pretty much any obstacle – no matter how big it may seem – as long as you take it one step at the time.

That’s how you can eliminate negative thoughts such as “I can never do that” or “I’ll never be good enough” or “I’ll never reach that goal” from controlling your actions.

Take it one step at the time and pretty much any goal becomes manageable.

Step 2: Realize That Positive Thoughts Can Be a Choice

Happiness is determined as follows:[1]

  • 50% is determined by genetics
  • 10% is determined by external factors
  • 40% is determined by your own outlook

This determination has been studied by numerous researchers, and while the details differ, the results all share the same observation:

Your happiness can be influenced by your own thoughts.

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Even though there are things in life that we cannot control, we can still often control how we react to these things.

In that sense, we might not get to control 100% of our happiness but we can still influence a big chunk of it.

I believe we can learn to influence the 40% of our happiness that is determined by our own personal outlook. Happiness is a choice, and you can learn to recognize these situations on your own.[2]

How does this help you to think positive and eliminate negative thoughts?

Well, because this shows you that it pays off to learn how to think positively in difficult situations.

By developing this skill, you can really increase happiness in your life. It is definitely not always easy, but you can change a bad day into a good one just by focusing on the positives instead of the negatives.

This is the reason why I love this quote of Winston Churchill:

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity whereas an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Step 3: Spend Time with the People That Have a Positive Influence on Your Life and Be Grateful for Them

Almost everybody has a small circle of people that they trust and love, whether that’s a partner, family or friends. These people have a positive influence on your life.

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I want you to focus on spending more time with these people. When you’re surrounded by negativity, you are more likely to postpone activities that require you to be outgoing. You’d rather be lazy and watch Netflix all day than to go outside and meet up with your friend.

You must try to break out of your comfort zone and spend more time with the people who actually have a positive influence on your happiness. These people can act as a support net for the moments when you’re feeling down. This might sound intimidating and scary, but it’s a step that should not be underestimated.

Even when you don’t feel comfortable sharing your challenges with these people, there’s another thing you can actively do to initiate positive thoughts; and that’s to be grateful that these people are in your life:

  • Be grateful that you have parents who support you, no matter what you do.
  • Be grateful for the friends with whom you can laugh your ass off.
  • Be grateful that you have a healthy and loving partner.
  • Be grateful that you have a kid that looks up to you and thinks you are the best.

Being grateful might sound like a rather pointless thing to do. Why would being grateful help you in thinking more positively and eliminating negative thoughts?

Well, the answer is simple.

Being grateful forces you to think of the good things that you already have in your life. This allows you to face your issues with optimism, instead of negativity. People that actively practice gratitude are much better able to deal with toxic emotions.

So what do you have to do?

Go out there and meet up with the people you love, and be grateful for having these people in your life.

To help inspire you to feel more grateful, here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life.

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Step 4: Don’t Give up After a Setback

So you had a bad day last week? Or maybe a terrible week in which you allowed negative thoughts to control your life? Who cares!

We are only human, so we’re bound to experience a day of negativity every once in a while. It’s important to realize that everybody occasionally experiences negative thoughts in their life. Eternal happiness does not exist. Even the happiest man alive has experienced negativity and sadness on some days.

What you need to when this inevitably happens to you:

  • Don’t let this set you back.
  • Don’t interpret it as a failure
  • Don’t let it stop you from trying to think positive

You see, even the most optimistic person experiences negativity on occasion. Sure, we can try to be as positive as possible every day, but we have to accept that negativity is something that we have to deal with from time to time.

So what if you’re engulfed in negative thoughts today? Screw it and know that tomorrow is a new day and that you can try to work on this again.

Take a look at this article and learn about Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them).

Final Thoughts

In the end, there’s no arguing that we cannot control 100% of our happiness. We can’t stand in front of a mirror, repeat the words “I am thinking happy thoughts only” ninety-nine times and accept to suddenly be happy.

It doesn’t work like that.

However, there are a number of things we can do to at least improve our mindset in the situations where we do get to choose how we react to external factors.

I hope that you have a better idea of what you can do in these situations. Sooner than later, you will influence your own mindset to think positively and to eliminate negative thoughts.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Marconnet via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] For a State of Happiness: Happiness: it’s not just your genes, stupid!
[2] Tracking Happiness: How Happiness Can Be A Choice

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