Shy Does Not Mean Boring
Most of us have probably been shy at some point in our lives. But shyness is not a disease or a particularly huge problem in most cases.
Shyness is more like a shield of protection. We hide inside ourselves to keep ourselves from getting hurt. Although sometimes it can have the opposite effect.
“Shyness is a distrust of self-love, that wants to please but fears it won’t be able to.”
Shy is not the same thing as dull. It’s just another way of being.
The evolution of shyness
Reflecting on the evolution of shyness throughout one’s life is a very interesting way to promote self-knowledge. Many of us have changed from opening up to others during childhood to becoming more shy in adulthood, and vice versa.
This change is sometimes influenced by performances and exposure to the public that has caused us a lot of anxiety or made us feel uncomfortable.
“No cause more frequently produces bashfulness than too high an opinion of our own importance.”
Therefore, shyness is probably not a genetic factor, but a part of one’s personality that is influenced by biological temperament, but much more conditioned by social interactions. So we should keep this in mind, along with the evolution of shyness, in order to understand our own shyness.
Public exposure always involves subjecting our skills and abilities to the judgment of others. And during childhood and adolescence, we’re so afraid of being evaluated, judged, and criticized.
On top of all that, if the people you’re exposed to aren’t compassionate or respectful, your social self can start to feel extremely vulnerable, which will condition you to feel that way in similar future situations.
So to protect ourselves from this vulnerability, we hide away inside ourselves, afraid of what other people will think, but also without realizing that we’ll never know 100% what other people are thinking.
Is shyness a problem?
Shyness is a characteristic that isn’t problematic in general. But when does it start to become a problem?
- When it causes a lot of psychological stress.
- When it prevents us from achieving professional goals because we’re afraid of working in teams.
- When it prevents us from asking for the help that we need.
- When we’re really interested in getting to know someone but we don’t do it because we’re too shy.
Shyness can make us come off as unfriendly, boring, or insecure; but also as mysterious, cautious, and pleasant.
If you understand that your shyness is not a character flaw, you’ll feel much less psychological pressure and that things will feel more natural. It’s important to know that even though you’re introverted, you can still establish friendly relationships with other people.
A slight smile, a quick and direct sentence, and a favorable environment can be the perfect setting to ask for some pointers and enter into a conversation.
Things that will help you conquer your shyness
- Better knowledge of yourself. Knowing which situations will give you the most anxiety and reflecting on what they have in common.
- Learning to manage your anxiety and stress through breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Practice, practice, practice. That will be the best remedy.
- Expose yourself to situations where you have to interact with other people. And if something goes bad, don’t take it so seriously. You’re learning a skill, that’s all.
- Rehearse in front of a friendly audience before speaking in public. This will familiarize you with simple things like inflection, gestures, pronunciation, volume, and tone.
Shyness that makes you feel uncomfortable can be improved, but don’t forget that shyness can also be a charming quality. It doesn’t make you dull, boring, or antisocial. It’s just a different social and communicative style.