Um… how to explain this, uh… I am, er, Keihancarl and I’m…
There are times when I can hardly express myself to a group of people, and I tend to stutter when I talk. Also, I find it difficult and awkward for me to maintain an eye contact with the person I was talking to. And I develop a fear of humiliation so I had a hard time asking someone for help or starting a conversation. I’m not good at such things.
Yes, I have to admit that I’m a shy person and I’m stuck with it since childhood. I don’t usually socialize with people, I don’t talk too much, I don’t mingle with anybody. I can’t make a move without feeling awkward. I can’t talk without stuttering. I don’t have the courage to approach someone I know, ask for directions, or inquire about the details.
Back when I was in elementary, I remember hiding in a hall near the bedroom when one of my classmates came over. Until now, I couldn’t come up with a good reason for hiding from him. In sixth grade, I experienced a great deal of rejection and as a result, I had a hard time making friends out of fear of getting rejected. In high school, I started developing a fear of embarrassment, and that’s how I often hesitated to do some errands like submitting papers to a teacher who is teaching another class. In college, I can hardly crack anyone up when I try to say something funny. That’s when I decided that I’m only good at serious stuff and I never crack another joke again so I won’t get ridiculed.
There are some things that I managed to do anyway. Like for example, I did apply as an intern for a TV station as part of my OJT and I never let my shyness hold me back, in the name of compliance.
Still, I tend to wait for someone to come out just to be let in, something that I usually do nowadays whenever I got invited. Oh well, when will I overcome this?
Shyness, which is also called diffidence, is the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness especially when a person is around other people.^ People who are shy may have low self-esteem, which later evolves into social anxiety or social phobia if they can’t overcome their shyness.
Shy people tend to feel uncomfortable in certain social situations, such as a party or a social gathering. They have thoughts of what people might say about their behavior so they’re scared of doing and saying anything in order to save themselves from negative reactions, rejection, criticism and humiliation. Also, social skills is not much of a priority in schools, and teachers tend to ask in a direct and intimidating manner so students may not have a chance to develop their social skills.^^
There are some reasons why you are held back by your shyness. It’s probably due to the fact that you are harshly humiliated and rejected by your peers, you are severely attacked and criticized by some people, you are being ridiculed for your actions and your bad experiences in life, or you are afraid of speaking up. And then you suddenly developed a fear of rejection and humiliation, and these can affect your self-esteem. You’re no longer comfortable about seeing familiar people or walking up to the HR department and applying for a job on your own. Sometimes, you wished that you can overcome your shyness, but how?
Fortunately, there are some ways to overcome your shyness.
- Try to act confidently. If you’re used to wearing black socks, then try wearing red ones… or maybe mismatched socks. Or if you’re used to wearing simple outfits, why not try on something unusual, such as a knitted vest over your collar t-shirt or a black fleece coat over your red shirt. At first, you may feel conspicuous, but in the end you’ll no longer worry about how people may think.^ It just shows that people don’t pay attention to your outfit, but more importantly you learn something from this experience… and that is you get to express yourself without your shyness getting in the way.
- Try to engage in small talk. If you can handle practicing your speech in front of a mirror, then you can handle a simple conversation with someone. Just a light topic will do.
- Practice your movements. Say, if you tend to walk or act awkwardly during a social event, then you’re just showing these people how shy you are. It’s time to change that, make sure to act properly and act proud, as if you’re the star of the night. Soon, you’ll forget about your shyness, and at the same time you get to enjoy yourself.
- Don’t forget to smile. This can help you relax and feel comfortable about yourself. It can also put the people around you at ease. This can also help you manage your anxiety, which is one of the root cause of your shyness.
- Try to put yourself in a lot of social situations.^ Then imagine how fun it is to be a part of the event. This should wear out your shyness and put out your fears about certain situations that can affect your confidence.
- Never let rejections and humiliations scare you, it’s part of life. Reassure yourself that everything will be fine. Just learn to accept and move on.
- Seek help. If you keep your shyness to yourself, then who will help you overcome such an obstacle in your life?
Shyness is a state of mind. It is created by your way of thinking^, and it is what’s holding you back and getting in the way of achieving your goals in life. It’s an obstacle that’s difficult to get past if you’re not keen on working around this problem.