Being shy is not an easy feeling.
And you won’t know how difficult it is until you have been or are shy.
Constantly being asked ‘why are you so quiet?‘ can get super annoying.
If it’s done enough times, it can have a strong impact on your identity.
The tough part of being shy is that others can’t quite empathize with your feeling because YOU can’t even put it into words.
All you know is that you feel self-conscious to speak.
As social creatures, humans have a strong desire to want to be heard.
They don’t have to talk a lot.
But they want to be able to speak with confidence if need be.
I spent most of my life being shy.
Moved to the US from Bangladesh at an early age.
Could barely speak English which caused me to get mocked for my accent.
My hesitancy to speak due to my accent caused me to close up & avoid the spotlight.
Spent years like this until I had finally enough.
So I can empathize with shy people.
In this article, I am going to discuss the difference between quiet & shy, whether shyness is a problem & 2 practical tips for overcoming shyness.
It’s never too late to change.
Just a matter of deciding when you had enough.
Now let us enter the world of social dynamics.
The Difference Between Quiet & Shy
Quiet & shy are often confused with one another.
But the 2 are VERY different.
Even though the 2 look the same from the outside, the 2 are different from the inside.
In a nutshell:
Quiet people can speak more if they want to, but they choose to use fewer words.
Shy people use fewer words because they feel like they have no other choice.
All in all, quiet people are not self-conscious.
They are just precise with words or often like listening more than talking in a conversation.
Shy people are self-conscious.
They feel uneasy getting their words out because they feel as though they are being judged.
The fear of being judged sparks a self-fulfilling prophecy in the future.
Pretty sure they were told multiple times in their life that they were ‘too quiet.’
This causes them to adopt a shy role for future interactions.
Shy people now enter new interactions THINKING that others assume that they are shy.
This alters the shy person’s behavior to be more reserved.
Which makes them more prone to getting called out for not saying much.
Toxic loop in the social world…
Why Are People Shy in the First Place?
People are shy for many reasons.
It depends on their life upbringing.
But here are a few reasons that people are shy.
-They were mocked for idea/s growing up
If you are constantly being put down for your ideas, then you will be less likely to express them.
Especially, if you are an impressionable little kid.
This causes them to TRIPLE check before expressing thoughts in the future.
Overthinking causes people to stay quite.
-They lost self-confidence after a traumatic event
You’ll be surprised how many people became shy after they were once confident.
Something very bad happened to them & the memory stuck.
Imagine if you said something very ‘stupid’ in an interaction & everyone laughed at you.
Most people will let the laughs roll off.
But some people hold onto the memories.
The level of importance that they assign to the mockery may be enough to speak to their subconscious mind & cause significant character changes.
I became shy because I kept getting clowned for my accent.
Left & right, people would make fun of me.
This was annoying because I was known as the talkative kid in my home country.
But in the US, I became quiet because I thought my accent was a huge detriment to my social success.
In reality, it wasn’t.
Only a few out of billions of people on the planet thought it was.
And I was the one who assigned a lot of importance to those few.
Some people were raised in a very reserved household.
Their guardians weren’t avid talkers in social settings.
More so observers.
This caused them to adopt a similar behavior pattern as well.
They feel out of place speaking up too much in social interactions themselves nowadays.
All in all, these are just a few reasons.
You want to do your best to trace back the memories which caused YOU to be shy as well.
Finding the root cause helps significantly in overcoming shyness.
Is Shyness a Problem?
‘Depends on what?’
Depends on the type of person that you are trying to become.
There are PLENTY of people I know who are happy & shy as well.
And truth be told, they often say that their shyness is what allows them to be happy in the first place.
This group hates the spotlight being on them.
Shyness is only a problem if it makes you feel uneasy.
Allow your feelings to be your compass.
I hated being shy.
I always wanted to be an amazing communicator, public speaker & an individual who freely expressed my ideas.
In the context of my life, shyness was absolutely a problem.
Therefore, I decided to do something about it.
Before doing something about it, ask yourself how much of a problem shyness is in your life.
List 10 reasons if you can.
This step is important because overcoming shyness is not an easy task.
It requires patience, grit & adaptablity.
If you don’t have a strong desire to change, then you probably won’t.
Pain is a great motivating factor in the beginning.
Overcoming Shyness: The 2 Paths
So you have traced the root cause (or have a rough idea) on why you are shy.
You have assessed that it IS a problem in your life.
The next step is to commit.
You have to realize that humans are dynamic creatures.
We can change anytime that we want to.
Our brains have insane neuroplasticity.
This means that we can strengthen new neural pathways & weaken old ones.
Neural pathways are the cornerstone of our nervous system & play a large role in our minds.
Our mind influences our reality.
2 Ways to Overcome Shyness are:
-Incremental Social Skills
Incremental Social Skills
This is more of an exposure therapy approach.
Rather than being the center of attention in the VERY first interaction, ease your way up to it.
Start off with a 1 on 1 conversation and aim to talk more than you normally do.
Just get your feet wet.
Do this for a week. Use this segment to talk to people that you know.
Next, have a 1 on 1 conversation where you tell a story.
So challenge yourself to tell a story.
If it’s a humorous story, then it will put you in ease.
Keep working your way up the social skills ladder.
You are just climbing 1 step at a time.
And give yourself a pat on the back after each interaction.
Eventually, get in the habit of being the first person to introduce yourself.
Breaking the ice is a major weapon in terms of confidence.
Less is more when it comes to breaking the ice.
A simple ‘Hello’ goes a long way.
Keep on building your social reps with the INTENT to speak a little more for each interaction.
Go from 1 on 1 convos to groups & keep the momentum going.
Each interaction won’t go well. But all good.
Have a laugh over it with yourself. This is a journey, not a final destination.
Public speaking is a fast way to overcome shyness.
You are pretty much getting a crash course on human nature.
Public speaking forces you to speak to MULTIPLE people at once.
And if you couldn’t tell… this is more of a tackling the beast approach.
If you are super shy, then the last thing you’ll probably want to do is speak in front of a crowd.
And I get that.
But every so often in our life, we need to show MASSIVE amounts of courage & have faith that everything will work out.
Public speaking to overcome shyness is the perfect opportunity to seize that moment.
Join a Toastmasters.
This is a club filled with other people who were once shy as well & are now looking to become better communicators.
I’ve been to multiple Toastmasters in my life.
And each time, I noticed that the groups were very supportive.
Commit to the club & keep participating in the events.
It’s a 1-1.5 hour meeting every week.
A very small amount of commitment for a lifechanging gift of overcoming shyness.
If you can speak in front of 20 people, then 1 on 1 & group conversations will feel like light work.
Gaining Your Voice Back
We came onto this planet crying.
When we are first learning how to speak, we couldn’t stop talking.
Noticing a pattern?
We were not born with shyness.
It was taught at one point or another in our life.
Whether we are aware of it or not.
All good though.
Overcoming shyness is one of the best ways to build self-confidence.
If you can overcome shyness & rewire your personality, just imagine what else you can do??
Plus, you will have a perspective of the former shy guy, which will allow you to be understanding towards other shy people.
You won’t be harsh.
You’ll be empathetic.
This is a journey, my friend.
A journey that you were born to conquer.
If you made it this, far, then now is the time to go on your personal hero’s journey.
Overcome your shyness for good.
– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥