Being shy can be a pain sometimes. If you have a shy personality, you must know that it can be a constant struggle between your heart and your mind, a perpetual battle between your desires and your doubts. Social gatherings are not meant for us and making friends is a task. Opening up is a challenge and new experiences tend to be overwhelming. If you’re one of them, there’s a vast chance that at some point in your life, you have wondered about how to overcome shyness and stop being awkward in uncomfortable situations.
I can assure you that there are several ways to do so but it takes dedication and strong will to trample over your instincts and take control of yourself.
Before I share my tips on how to overcome shyness, let’s look at the factors that are responsible for making a person socially awkward and shy.
What Causes a Person to be Shy?
Following factors may be responsible for causing an individual to be shy.
Research suggests that shyness may run through generations of families which leads to the theory that genetics may be among the leading causes that incline a person to be shy.
It is, however, imperative to understand that shyness transmitted through ‘genes’ is not the same as hair color or eye color transmitted through genes as they are permanent while shy and awkward personalities can be changed through practice.
Research suggests that children who are kept under strict bounds may grow up to be shy. Excessive rules and regulation along with overprotectiveness by parents are all factors that may cause a person to be reserved when they grow up.
3. Life Experiences
Experiences like bullying at colleges and school, a strained workplace environment, being jokingly mocked by friends or being embarrassed in public may also cause an individual to become shy.
4. Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem leads to a lack of confidence in oneself as one begins to constantly look for approval for his choices and decisions. This may lead to an extreme case of shyness. Shyness as a result of low self-esteem may affect people who have led lonely and neglected lives.
As someone who has dealt with being shy, I know how hard it is. In the past, I often questioned my friends and family, ‘how do I stop being shy and awkward?’
Eventually, I overcame it by practicing control over my behavior among large groups of people. Following are some tested tips on how to overcome shyness with guaranteed results.
How to Stop Being Shy and Awkward
Breaking a habit that you have had since childhood is a challenge but it is not impossible. Practice and dedication are the key factors for positive results when you venture outside of your comfort zone. Here are 7 tips on how to stop being shy and awkward:
1. Slow and Steady
Be firm but cautious as you plan how you’re going to settle into this new lifestyle. The world of shy people and outgoing people differs greatly. It doesn’t mean both aren’t beautiful. Look for the beauty in the other world and keep your pace slow as you step in.
You can’t attain your goals in a day. Everything demands patience and strength so taking baby steps is extremely important because rushing in will leave you confused.
2. Just keep swimming!
When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming. Crazy how a children’s movie can teach us some important life lessons.
It’s going to be hard trying to shift from being a shy person to an easy-going person. You’re going to feel like giving up as you push yourself to experience things you used to think you could never do, but you need to keep swimming. You need to keep pushing yourself. Determination is the key.
Act like how you wish to be; confident and assertive. Act like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t. Practice the act until it doesn’t seem like an act anymore.
Take a moment to muster up the courage and confidence that you need to deal with social gatherings. Pack up your shy identity, don on your confident persona and fake it till you make it.
Prepare yourself to engage with people of all kinds as you learn how to overcome shyness.
Being forced to do something and doing something out of free will have varying results. The former might result in you becoming even timider while the latter will help you gain confidence.
Make small talk and mingle with small social groups, eventually trying bigger groups. State your opinions, a debate about something or chat about something random and don’t give much thought to your stutters and mistakes. Most people don’t even notice!
5. Identify Why You’re Shy
Out of all the things that cause a person to be shy, identify the ones that are responsible for your reserved personality so you know what to work on. Unless you identify, you won’t know what to improve.
For example, if it’s because you devalue yourself and have low self-esteem, that’s what you need to focus on improving.
6. Learn to Take Criticism
Once you have made up your mind to try and stop being shy and awkward, you need to stop letting criticism get to you. Instead of getting defensive, learn to use people’s criticism for your benefit by improving on things you think might really need improvement.
7. Maintain a Genial Attitude in Social Gatherings
People who have a shy personality often come across as standoffish and rigid, as a result of which, people avoid them in social gatherings. Perhaps it’s the rigid posture and tense aura that they exude that makes them seem unapproachable.
Practice good posture and attitude in gatherings. Maintain a friendly tone as you engage in small talk, attracting people to engage with you. This will help calm your nerves and you won’t feel left out!