Can you remember the last time you stepped into a room full of strangers and felt that self-conscious and awkward feeling rush over you? Or wanting to approach someone for business, but feeling too hesitant to actually do it? That anxiety in the pit of your stomach in social situations? Does it always feel like something is holding you back?
Regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted, we can all relate to that feeling of shyness at some point in our lives. Socially, we tend to have the misconception that only introverts experience shyness, but that is not true. Shyness has more to do with being uncomfortable with one’s self, especially around other people.
The Three Components of Shyness
According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, shyness has three components:
•Excessive self-consciousness: You are overly aware of yourself, particularly in social situations.
•Excessive negative self-evaluation: You tend to see yourself negatively.
•Excessive negative self-preoccupation: You tend to pay too much attention to all the things you are doing wrong when you are around other people.
How to Overcome Shyness
We’ve all experienced different variations of shyness, and through practice and increased awareness, we can learn to overcome it. The following are tips that have helped in overcoming this uncomfortable feeling:
1. Understand Your shyness. Seek to understand your unique brand of shyness and how that manifests in your life. Understand what situation triggers this feeling and what are you concerned with at that point.
2. Turning self-consciousness into self-awareness. Recognize that the world is not looking at you. Besides, most people are too busy looking at themselves. Instead of watching yourself as if you are other people, bring your awareness inward. Armed with your understanding of what makes you shy, seek within yourself and become the observing presence of your thoughts. Self-awareness is the first step toward any change or life improvement.
3. Find your strengths. We all have unique qualities and different ways of expressing ourselves.