I have come to the conclusion that, as successful and as fulfilled as I am in my life and work, I still struggle with shyness.
Here’s the thing: it is common for us, myself included, to stick to doing what is easy and comfortable. So, if we are naturally shy we will tend to isolate and avoid social situations.
This only works against us because it reinforces our shyness and makes the people skills we may have atrophy. If we are to overcome shyness we need to start doing the opposite: we need to get out of the house and get involved in social situations more. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but it gets less awkward the more we do it.
You will also find, as I am, that your people skills steadily improve and you begin to gain greater confidence in your abilities.
We-the shy people-often have a hugely distorted image of ourselves and how we come across to others. We usually think we are weird and look as out of place as we feel.
Getting some accurate feedback about how you come across to other people can be very effective in overcoming shyness. If you ask trusted friends for their feedback, they can reassure you that you really are over thinking things.
We shy people often exaggerate our interpretations of what other people are thinking about us. It is a lot like trying to mind read. Needless to say, the findings can be very inaccurate.
In closing, overcoming shyness takes some goal setting:
Set personal goals for yourself (i.e. I will meet one new person each day)
Work on them daily and reward yourself;
Persist and get back on track if you quit;
Combine the cognitive change with the behavioral change (don’t just think it, act it)
As you do, you will see gradual changes. You will experience greater social freedom, and self confidence. Here’s to Overcoming Shyness!
Pamelah Stevens, LMHC