I consider myself a professional yet shy person so I think I am qualified to provide you some tips for dealing with shyness. Do not be turned away. I am pretty confident that I can help you. I know a couple of simple tricks or techniques that could help you in dealing with shyness. You should keep in mind that these are just techniques (or mindset shifts), ways of dealing with some common issues. They are never really going to change your shyness or your anxious personality. Therefore, you need some extra training in resilience and probably, some therapy.
That’s quite hard, isn’t it? How can you even work on self-confidence? Was this not the entire problem to start with? Now, I can say to you that self-confidence is not something you build in a couple of days. It is something that you will have to work on for many years. Self-confidence is formed by your everyday actions and thoughts. You can associate it with your integrity and positive mental attitude. The more honest and authentic you are towards yourself, the more your confindence will grow.
Some practical examples:
Here are some activities you could do to help grow your confidence; participate in team sports, work together with someone on a project, make something for somebody, or start a Youtube channel and share your struggles. Otherwise, do stuff that are out of your comfort zone, preferably with and for other people. If you commit to do more of these activities, you will see you confidence grow as ivy.
I love talking about exposure. Exposure is one of the other tips I wanted to share on dealing with shyness. Exposure is the hard and raw kind of therapy. Self-improvement should be really hard. Do not believe anything what they say in self-help books! Everything in life, finding hapiness or contentment is oftentimes hard. So, what is this exposure all about? In therapy, they expose people to their fears in order to overcome them. Your brain will get used to these anxiety provoking stimuli and the consequent anxious reaction will diminish.
Some practical examples:
Attend meetings, go to events where you most probably will have something to say, participate in a discussion, or join a local theatre show. I want to share a short story about my experience on exposure. When I was in elementary school, I was the judge in a talent show. Nobody really expected something valuable from me because I am the shy kid. In the end everybody whas amazed by how many interesting things I had to contribute. That was what will happen if you decide to confront your fears by yourself. You will amaze people by your wise and valuable contribution! By the way, your contribution is always valuable, whatever they say.
You only will reach a certain level of mastery when you start accepting your vulnerabilities. You probably will have to accept that you will never be the most popular or loudest individual from a group of people. That is completely fine. Not everybody needs to be loud in order to be heard. I am sure you have a lot of intelligent stuff to add to their conversations. Be courageous and dare to speak when nobody else is saying something worthwhile. Use your voice when it is needed the most. By being most of the time quiet and only speaking at strategic times, you are already doing a better job than most of people. It is not about when you speak but it is about what you say. So dare to speak when you want to. You do not need to change your own special personality!
Ask the questions yourself
Take on the lead in a conversation by asking this question yourself, “How can you practically do that?” First, prepare yourself by studying some of the core concepts that will be discussed in the discussion. Then, try to only ask questions you can answer yourself. That way you can give an considerate answer when the rest feels stuck. At the same time, that would make you show initiative and involvement in the conversation. Next time, they will spontaneously ask you to be the leader of the discussion.
Be always prepared to be more confident! If you ask yourself how you can prepare, here is an idea.
You can replicate that same stressful situation but with people you trust and feel comfortable with. Fir
st of all, you have to study all the material that is necessary. Then, you try to replay the given situation. Look at the answers other people are giving. Observe their body language when they are answering. Listen to the content of their answer. Next, you try to pay attention to your own body language. Are you using a closed or open posture? Try also to listen to the content of your anwers and analyse the intonation you use when you speak aloud. If you want even more meta data, you can film yourself.
This exercise might seem useless to you but it can definitely help you to transfer the same situation from a hostile environment to a more friendly and recieving environment. This way, maybe you can associate your calm energy with the act of speaking aloud. That is what they call ‘conditioning’ in psychological terminology.
This is by far the most important piece of advice! Do not care about the judgments of other people. They do not know who you are. You are not defined by what other people see about you. They only see a limited and finite part of who you are. The only one who knows what is really happening inside you, is YOU!
You have just read my tips on how you should be dealing with shyness. Now is time to get practical. How do you plan to tackle your social anxieties? What challenges should you do in order to overcome your shyness and be an inspiration to anybody who is juggling with the same feelings?