When I tell people I used to be shy, they look at me with total disbelief. But I remember just wanting to disappear into the background in so many situations rather than be seen. For me shyness will still occasionally rear its ugly head in situations that are outside of my comfort zone. But there is GREAT news: shyness can be overcome! The best thing is shyness is an EMOTION, not a PERSONALITY trait.
Shyness is often based on fear; but did you know that fear and excitement are both based on adrenaline. If you focus on the positive you CAN flip your fears into excitement and that will end up making you enjoy being outgoing.
As a dating coach I am often approached for tips to overcome shyness especially in relation to dating and I am firsthand proof that it is possible.
There is generally a root cause for shyness and I would suggest the first thing you do is find out what your root cause is. It usually comes down to:
- No self-confidence.
- Too aware of what others think and how you look to others.
- You can’t accept compliments because you don’t believe anything good about yourself.
- You have been labelled as shy from an early age and you believe it.
- If it is self-confidence – look at what you say to yourself. Identify your thoughts and change them to positive thoughts. Instead of saying you are a loser and no-one wants to talk to you; look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are awesome. Do it daily. It will make a difference. Don’t tell yourself things you wouldn’t say to your friends – be your own best friend. You ARE in control of your thoughts – it is your voice and you can tell it what to say!
- Keep a journal – this will allow you to keep track of your thought process and challenge it. You will also be able to track your success overcoming shyness and your success will motivate you to keep going.
- Focus on others rather than yourself. When you put your attention on how others are feeling you stop thinking of how you feel. You stop being so self-conscious. Work on being compassionate. When you stop being concerned about yourself and put your thoughts on understanding others – shyness disappears.
- Don’t compare yourself with others, it will only make you feel BAD! There is only one you – you are special and unique! Celebrate your uniqueness. Think about what is awesome about you; think of all the things you have accomplished. With dating, confidence really is the key, not looks. So looking at what is uniquely you and what you are great at will help you grow in confidence.
- Picture yourself being confident. Visualise a situation where you are meeting for a date and imagine you are acting confidently. Do this every day no matter how silly you feel! Athletes use this technique to overcome performance issues/anxiety. The brain sees visualisation and doing in exactly the same way. It is a technique that is proven to work.
- Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t mumble or talk softly as it gives a poor first impression. A good tip to help you know how you sound and improve how you come across is to record yourself talking. It may sound silly but it works.
- Be positive. Stand up straight; this is another proven method to give a good first impression. By doing this, you will come across as self-confident and don’t forget to make eye contact. Good posture will make you feel authoritative and confident – it will actually fool your brain to be just that. If you have bad posture – practice, practice, practice.
- Don’t let people label you as always being shy. Remember shyness is an emotion and not a personality trait and with consistent effort it can be overcome.
- Practice, practice, practice! Even confident people can be shy in a situation that is outside of their comfort zone. As a dating coach I frequently get men who are extremely confident and capable in their jobs but shy/awkward when it comes to talking to women they don’t know. It is the unknown that makes people feel uncomfortable. The more you do something, the easier it will be. So practice putting yourself in uncomfortable situations – take small steps.
- Finally fake it to you make it. Pretend to be and you will eventually end up being. It can be a slow path but congratulate yourself for your successes and you will get there. Trust me you will!