There is nothing wrong with being shy – if that is what you want.
Please read the preceding sentences again, especially the last six words. These words – “if that is what you want” – say it all. If you’re shy and you feel comfortable with your shyness, it’s because you choose to be that way, but you don’t have to be. Although you weren’t born shy, there may be a multitude of reasons, especially during your adolescent years, for your development in that direction. One valid reason might be that you were never encouraged to participate in conversation or in other activities involving social exchanges. Another reason might be that you allowed people to make you feel inferior and inadequate.
Whatever the reason for your shyness, the vital point is that if you don’t want to be shy, you don’t have to be. You must decide, and it could be one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make during your lifetime. Overcoming shyness will allow you to:
- Greet and meet people comfortably
- Participate in conversations.
- Express instead of repress your opinions.
- Socialize more.
- Cultivate new friendships and renew old ones.
- Become more assertive (say “no” or disagree without being aggressive or without feeling guilty).
We strongly believe that your shyness is not due to your physical appearance or to a lack of talent, but rather to your own low estimation of yourself.
You must constantly strive to think about yourself in a positive manner. You can reinforce this principle by first deciding that you’re going to change and then by repeating to yourself dozens of times daily such positive thoughts as:
- “I am more outgoing.”
- “I am an attractive person.”
- “I am more friendly to people.”
- “People like me.”
- “I can contribute to a conversation as well as any of my friends can.”
- “I am a good person and I have a lot to offer.”
By reiterating such statements, you will help raise your levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. At the same time, your degree of shyness should gradually diminish. You should already start to feel positive about yourself because you’ve made an important decision – independently. You must constantly remind yourself that you’re no longer going to accept your shyness, and you must constantly visualize yourself as being more gregarious. It’s a very important beginning.
No matter where, make an effort to talk to people. Even if you start with a simple greeting such as “Good morning.” “Hi, how are you doing?” “I enjoyed your talk today. You know what I’d like to ask you?” Every day, try to start a conversation with someone different, and always try to remember names. It will be difficult at first but will become easier as the days pass.
When you begin to feel more self-confident and relaxed, expand this new approach to people in your other classes, at home, at work, and at social gatherings. If you notice someone at a social occasion that you would like to meet or who appears alone, go out of your way to strike up a conversation. Take a deep breath, smile, and confidently approach that person. Extend your hand and introduce yourself. Often you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. That person may be grateful to meet and talk with someone who is friendly.
Remember, being friendly and outgoing could open new vistas for a more meaningful, interesting, and exciting personal, as well as professional, life for you. It’s your choice.