I am a 20 year old girl attending college and I am quite shy. When I was given this topic to write, the first thought that came to my mind was that finally I got something that I could relate to. If you are anything like me then you must also feel very conscious when you are suddenly made the center of attention especially during some seminar where you have to address people or you feel very alone when you have to go for a field trip where you rarely know anybody. Most of the times when I am in such a situation, I will find for me a nice little corner where nobody would see me. It’s not like shy people are averse to all kinds of social interaction but they find themselves uncomfortable in talking to new people or dealing with a different situation that they haven’t ever experienced before. Sometimes people do not understand them and assume that they are uninterested in talking to them or they are full of attitude. I myself have suffered from all these biases and how it feels be in this position being judged by people who don’t know what you are going through.
Since all people are different, their shyness level also varies from mild to extreme. I consider myself to be on the number 5 on a scale of 10. But there are people who are in a worse condition. It is like they are not living but just surviving in a world where there is a cut throat competition to get ahead and people who are shy are at a disadvantage. Shy people find it hard to make friends and thus find it tough to cope up when they are in new surroundings e.g. when they move in to a new building or go to a new school or college. People who are extrovert and super confident, find their lives easier and fulfilling than those who are introvert. But you don’t have to worry, you can also have the life that you want where you can overcome these binding feelings of shyness and get that confidence to feel in control of yourself. Here are some tips that will definitely help you in overcoming your shyness.
10. Understand your shyness
As with all the other problems we face in our life, we can tackle our shyness problem also by first trying to understand the reasons behind it and what triggers it. Then we must try to understand how being shy is affecting our personal and professional life. It is not a very difficult task, you just have to think about the situations that make you uncomfortable or times when you feel you are a “nobody”. Though it is not exactly a part of how to overcome your shyness but it will give you an insight as to which are the points on which you have to work on.
9. Think of what you are good at
Like everybody in this planet is blessed with some or the other personality trait, you are no different too. You are also a unique creation whom God has made in His own image so there is nothing wrong about you, even if you feel so. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. I agree it is hard to digest this thought. How can one not feel bad when people close to you tell you that you are a loser? I can understand how difficult it can be to not feel the same way when your own life gives you the proof. But you must understand that everybody has a different view towards life and different capabilities. Even those, who you feel are better than you in may be looks or have a better job than you, have some kind of insecurities in them. It is natural to have some inhibitions but it is not necessary that these have to be a problem for you. Knowing that you are good at something is definitely a means to boost your self confidence.
8. Start talking to people
Don’t worry I am not telling you to immediately put yourself in an uncomfortable situation but if you want to break out of this cocoon of self consciousness, you will have to take a small step. How long you will take to get to this first step depends on how extreme your shyness is. If you start perspiring even thinking of having to talk to people then you should try and start simple. Just smile at people whom you see during your commute to your workplace. Or start by saying Hello or Good Morning to people you see regularly. This will help you get yourself familiarized with people before getting on the next step of actually conversing with them. Once you feel you are ready then take the initiative to talk to someone.
The thing to understand is that because of your demeanor, people might have some misconceptions about you, so only you must be the one to change it and the only way to do that is by talking to them. I experienced such a situation when someone in my class told me that initially they thought of me as an arrogant person because I didn’t use to talk with her much due to my shyness. It was only later when I started to talk to her that she understood why I was behaving that way. Just as you are nervous to approach people so are they to approach you in fear of you getting offended or uncomfortable.
7. Get familiar with different situations
How many of you are afraid of public speaking? I bet if I asked this question to a group of people consisting of both introverted and extroverted people, 90 percent will raise their hands up. Public speaking terrifies a lot of people and almost everyone suffers from at least a tad of nervousness before that big interview of their life or before taking a seminar in front of a bunch of people whom they may or may not know. So it is completely natural that you too feel the same way. So what to do to overcome this nervousness? Research about it and increase your knowledge. I am not just saying about public speaking but everything else that make you feel shy doing. Any new thing that scares you, try to get to know everything you can about it. When you believe that you have knowledge about everything that you might get subjected to, then that will be enough to make you confident to get the ball rolling and reduce your nervousness.
Visualization can help you a lot in getting over your fear of uncomfortable situations. What you need to do is meditate and visualize a situation that makes you anxious and nervous like may be singing in front of a crowd or answering questions during a personal interview in front of a panel. Think of those people whose sole attention is on you and you are expected to impress them. Imagine how best you can react to situations like these. Get that confidence in your mind that you have what it takes to be best. Repeat this exercise regularly and try to do better every time. Do the same thing that you visualized when you are actually faced with the same situation.
5. Reward yourself
“Positive Reinforcement” that is the technical term psychologists use in conditioning a new habit. When you set a goal for yourself like talking with a guy in your class or saying hi to a stranger on the bus and you accomplish the task then reward yourself. These rewards can be anything like allowing yourself to get your favorite chocolate even when you are on a diet or buying yourself a new dress. This will motivate you for further achievement of goals.
4. Continuing Conversations
This is a tough situation isn’t it for people who are shy? Obviously you must be wondering what to say after that simple Hi. How best to continue a conversation what I feel is by complimenting others. I am not saying to compliment just for the sake of it but genuine praise can really help break the ice. People love talking about themselves so if you don’t know what to say then talk less and ask more about them, their lives, dreams, aspirations etc.
3. Loosen up a bit
How often you must feel caged because of the walls that you have made around you on your own? My advice is to loosen up a bit. Do things that you have never dreamt that you would ever do. How about joining a dance class? It is the perfect way to lower your inhibitions. Anything that makes you feel lively like going for an adventure safari, sky diving, etc. Push your limits and give that ‘inner you’ a chance to come out of that shell and live your life on your own terms. Don’t be uptight all the time trying to conform to social norms, sometimes just forget the boundaries.
2. Accept Rejection
Rejection is a part of life. Not every person out there is that understanding of your situations. You are going to get cast off some or the other time may be because of the stereotypes and biases. But you must be strong enough to accept it with dignity. The world is full of people who will make you feel down but it is only up to you to not allow them to get you. Don’t fall for self pity, it is the worst that you can do for yourself. Learn your lesson and move on.
1. Start to like yourself
I personally feel that the biggest problem of people who are shy is that they don’t think they are good enough. They do not believe that they have something in them that anyone would want to admire. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Don’t start comparing yourself with others and think that why they have such good hair and not you. You can do better than that. Believe that you are the world’s most gorgeous thing. Walk like you are wearing an invisible crown. Love yourself. Don’t let anybody make you feel differently. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself failing in some aspects but pull yourself up and focus on the smaller goals and then move on to the bigger ones.