HOW TO OVERCOME SHYNESS - Anthony's Library and Resources

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Monday, 3 October 2016


When we think of someone being shy, we may think of a child who is hiding behind the leg of her mother because she fears strangers.  Shyness was once considered to be an asset for little girls as well as women because it was associated with modesty. I can remember my daughter hiding behind my leg when she was a little girl and thinking that it was so cute. I never saw shyness as an impediment and, like many other adults, found this type of behavior very “cute.” 

Shyness is not cute.  To the contrary, it can cause you all sorts of problems in life. People who are shy are usually unable to express their feelings and have a much more difficult time when it comes to building relationships. My daughter, for example, found it difficult to make friends as she got older and to talk to strangers at parties. While people found her to be cute as a child as she hid behind my leg, they found her to be aloof and unfriendly as she blossomed into adulthood. 

Before we can overcome shyness, we have to figure out why we are shy. There is no easy answer to this question. Some people appear to be born shy and have a hard time coming out of their shell to others. Other people seem to be more outgoing. I have done a bit of research into what makes someone shy and found that two things often figure into shyness - birth order as well as a lower self-esteem. It is also important to realize that shyness is not always so apparent. Some people, in an effort to not seem so shy will go off in the opposite direction and appear to be very outgoing when they are struggling, on the inside, to overcome this affliction. I can relate to this as I am one of those types of individuals. Others often find me to be outgoing, but in reality, I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I have to meet new people or exert myself in social situations. 

Being shy does not mean that someone has a low self-esteem, but it can be an indication that their self-esteem is a bit more fragile than someone who is not shy and is not, as a result, self-conscious. Through my research, I have found that those who are shy tend to be very sensitive individuals who often make the mistake of thinking that everyone’s attention is focused on them.  They are afraid to make a mistake, say something silly or do something that will cause others to notice them. They would rather fade into the background than call attention to themselves. 

Birth order also seems to play a role in shyness.  It is very often that the person who is shy has older siblings that are very outgoing. I have often felt that this was the reason why my daughter is so shy and the polar opposite of her older brother, who seems to be comfortable wherever he happens to be and has no problem at all with shyness. Many people who are shy are this way because they live in the shadow of an older sibling who is anything but shy. 

There is also the female factor. Although I tried to raise my boy and girl the same way with the same set of values, I found that they are as different as chalk and cheese. I knew that despite what others may think about the “cute little shy girl” that shyness would not be an asset for my daughter. However, not everyone thinks this way.  Some people still think that it is cute for little girls to be shy - that it somehow makes them more ladylike. This is not a plus when that little girl, as a woman, has to compete with other women as well as men for jobs and types of recognition in life.

There are still people who are under the impression that shyness is a desirable quality in little girls. Because of this, they may be more inclined not to concern themselves with shyness in their daughters as much as they do with their sons. 

Low self-esteem is usually at the root of all shyness. A shy individual is usually afraid to say something or do something that will bring attention to them because they fear embarrassment. Many people are under the impression that a low self-esteem is the result of bullying, a poor childhood or some sort of deficit that a child has to endure. This is not always the case.  A child who is coddled by his or her parents can also develop a low self-esteem. Those who are overprotected may not feel as though they are capable of taking care of themselves in the world and develop somewhat of a low sense of self-worth.   There are many reasons why people develop a low sense of self-esteem and varying degrees of self-esteem issues as well.  Self-confidence is something that can be built up in a variety of ways to increase self-worth and also allow someone to be less self-conscious and shy. 

Many people are aware of the fact that they are shy and avoid being in the limelight as much as possible. Some people who are shy may over compensate for the fact that they feel shy and go overboard in trying to draw attention to themselves. For the most part, shyness is based upon a fear of rejection, most often due to a low self-esteem. It manifests itself differently with every individual.  Some people need only have their idea rejected once before they develop a low sense of self-worth and an inferiority complex. Others can take a lot of rejection before it starts to affect them negatively. 

Shyness should be seen as a deficit and something that should be addressed and overcome. Once you recognize the fact that you or someone who you care about is shy, you can take a look at the issue and see what you can do to correct the problem. While you may not be able to get to the point where you are ready to lead a parade, you can overcome some of your basic instincts that prevent you from opening up to people and forming relationships.

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