Overcome Your Shyness


You find yourself in social situations – a friend’s party, a work function – it’s part of life, after all. But you hate going, having to interact with people you don’t know. Inevitably, there is a group there that just stands out – that clearly knows one another and enjoys the mingling – the laughing and smiles make that clear enough. How is it possible that these people can actually enjoy the discomfort of it all, the awkwardness, when it nearly kills you just to have to smile at someone passing by?

It’s easy – it’s confidence. And yes, it’s in stark contrast to your own shyness, but that can be overcome.

The truth is, we all find ourselves shy and uncomfortable sometimes. Whether it’s when attending a large even solo when you don’t know anyone there or a different social scenario that simply requires you to put yourself out there – these situations are a part of life.

In your personal life, you will undoubtedly meet new people. You might be dating, attending a function with a friend, or simply attending a party. Professionally, confident socialization is a huge skill that you must master to build a network and your career. To succeed, you must overcome your shyness.

Exploring Your Shyness

One nice thing about shyness is that it is something that everyone experiences at some point in their life and that everyone can identify with – the difference is in how people deal with it. For the majority, they can acknowledge their shyness and push past it to do what needs to be done, whether that means giving a handshake, greeting a room full of visitors, or participating in a group roundtable and contributing to the conversation. However, for others, their shyness is consuming, preventing their personal and professional growth and success; this is problematic, to say the least.

Shyness has a variety of roots and, though technically not a diagnosable disorder, is certainly harmful and a characteristic that will hold you back if left un-faced and unconquered. Most people are born with a certain degree of shyness – but most move past it.

Perhaps you learned early on that if you expressed your opinions, people would laugh, not value your thoughts, or not take you seriously. Or, perhaps you were smart as a child, but learned through classmates’ comments that being smart was not “cool,” so you put your guard up and learned to quiet your thoughts, embarrassed if someone acknowledged you. Roots might be as simple as not fitting into a social scene and learning that trying to blend in was better than not fitting in at all.

Like we said, the roots are endless and varied – but they have one thing in common; needing to push past them to overcome shyness in order to succeed.

Identifying Shyness

As is often the case, the first step to conquering something is to recognize it. Consider yourself in social settings and learn to identify the difference between shyness and nervousness. With shyness, you will often want to shrink against a wall, avoiding so much as eye contact with others. With nervousness, you might find it difficult to make it through the door at all, but once you do, you will start to feel yourself relax.

Once you have identified your shyness, you next need to investigate it. Is there a certain thing or experience that is bringing it forth? What is it that makes you feel that way?

This identification and exploration are your first steps to working past shyness to open new doors and new possibilities in all facets of your life.

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