In this final post of How to Overcome Shyness, I have added a few more tip to help you and your child.
- If strangers are your greatest fear, practice. Conquer your fear by starting conversations with total strangers. Say something to the bus driver or the supermarket cashier. You will conquer your feelings by feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Take the risk. It gets easier after.
- If your need to control things causes you to be shy, try letting go of your attachment to the outcome. Give it a go and wait to see what will happen. Accept things as they are. “Whatever will, be will be”.
- If your shyness comes from a fear of being hurt by someone you trust, try opening up slowly. Share something small with someone. Take small risks of self exposure. Most people will share a similar sized ‘something’. If you are a parent helping a child, expose yourself first to encourage your child to do the same.
- Smile a lot. People who smile seem approachable and it is easier for others to be around them. If you find smiling difficult, practice. Stand in front of the mirror and try smiling. It will make you feel good. If you do it for 10 minutes a day, on 21 consecutive days, it will become a habit.
- If you are afraid of being judged, remember that the same behavior can be perceived differently by two different people. Someone who is trusting can also be perceived as naive, someone who is honest can also be perceived as insensitive, someone who is caring can also be perceived as pushy. You cannot live by the standards of others. Be yourself.
- If you feel the urge to impress others, let them show off instead. Trying to impress is a sign of a lack of confidence. You do not need to impress to be perceived as confident. You just need to know you are good, even if you do not share it with others.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. This triggers a fear of judgment and failure, and unleashes the critic within. Whenever you are tempted to compare yourself to others, remind yourself that we would all have to be 100% clones for that kind of comparison to be valid.
- In social situations, talk less and listen more. This is when your shyness works to your advantage. You have more time to think while the other person is speaking. If you do not know what to say, ask the other person a question that will keep them talking.
- Labeling is the act of the critic. It makes it seem like something we cannot change or fix. As if it is a fact. This can be very disempowering. Avoid labeling yourself and others.
- If you find yourself being critical in a conversation, let go of the need for perfection. It is very limiting and can cause you a lot of frustration. If you look for flaws in your conversation partners, you will find them. The need for perfection may make you feel like no one in the world is functioning as well as they should be. It is very frustrating. Look for the strengths in the conversation instead.
- If you are a bit critical in social situations, give compliment. Focus on the nice things you can say to others. You will be surprised to see how many new friends you will make when you start noticing the good in people rather than the mistakes and problems. You might even start seeing the good within yourself.
- Relaxation techniques can help greatly with anxiety. Meditate, take deep breaths, spend time in nature, do garden work, do artistic things and cook, take a bath and dedicate as much time as you can to calming your mind and body. It will help you deal with your anxiety before you enter any social situation.
- Remember, fear and anxiety are at the heart of shyness. We are all afraid of being stupid, ridiculous, judged, criticized and hurt. While we most likely cannot achieve zero shyness, we can work towards making sure that it passes quickly, effortlessly and painlessly.
It is OK to allow shyness to rent a space in your mind, but never give it permanent residence.
This post is part of the series How to Overcome Shyness: