Understanding Shyness

Shyness is a behavior of feeling awkward and apprehensive manifested by a person when they are approached or asked to present themselves. Shyness is also a coping mechanism to fear of rejection and humiliation. But there is more to shyness than meets the eye. Shyness, according to research, is an adaptation of the brain that allows the human to be shy. And it is also an outcome of the kind of parenting and the life experiences a person has.

How does shyness occur?

Shyness occurs when a person becomes too self-conscious, have negative thoughts about themself, or has low self-esteem and self-confidence. They tend to compare themself with others who are the opposite of their personality. Moreover, they also have this preconceived notion that people are judging them poorly, so they tend to avoid social settings for fear of embarrassment. This, in turn, hinders in developing further their social skills.

Are people born shy?

According to Bernardo Carducci, a psychologist, and director of Shyness Research Institute, a person’s sense of self will develop approximately 18 months after birth. In relation to this, shyness is characterized by an excessive negative self-concept. It is therefore concluded that people cannot be born shy.

What causes shyness in children?

Shyness is developed based on children’s temperament, which is biological and environmental. While babies are not born with the same temperaments, their responses to situations will vary. Hence children who exhibit extremely sensitive temperaments tend to be shy. The exposure and social upbringing at home can contribute significantly to nipping shyness and social anxiety tendencies in the bud.

Why do adolescents become shy?

The fear of being rejected, embarrassed, or getting too exposed is a common cause of shyness among adolescents. Parents and even schools can give ample encouragement to help teenagers overcome shyness. One way is to have the teenager visualize how their behavior would be if there was no fear or threats of rejection. Help them practice and enrich their behavior and skill.

Is there a difference between shyness and introversion?

Yes. Shyness occurs when a person desires to relate with others but is hesitant because of their anxiety of being rejected or judged. Introversion, on the other hand, is an inclination of a person to spend time alone and focus on their internal stimulus to make things happen.

Does shyness vary by culture?

Interestingly, shyness is a universal trait, but it is defined differently from culture to culture. Shyness is shaped by credit given by the parents to their children whenever they perform a task. This varies and is relative in cultures.

For instance, shyness in Israel is not considered such in Japan. A soft-spoken Irish is deemed shy in America, but not in Ireland. A loud-mouth American is considered boorish in Irish, but this is just being expressive in America.

Overcoming Shyness

Overcoming shyness is all about boosting social confidence rather than altering the person’s sense of identity. Recognizing a person’s shyness is the first step towards freeing themself from being self-conscious.

How can I stop being so shy?

After recognizing your shyness comes the decision to boost your social confidence. Social settings are your way towards overcoming your shyness. Do not, therefore, avoid these events. You can start with small gatherings of people you know. Then prepare for them in advance, and rehearse the social skills. Plan out the topics, conversation starters, questions, and anecdotes you want to share or ask. Then try to arrive early so you will feel comfortable with the setting. Your family, friends, or teachers can also help you visualize the occasion and frame your mind into anticipating positive outcomes instead of focusing on what might go wrong. Try not to criticize yourself too much and do not overthink it.

Can I outgrow shyness?

Nothing is impossible! However, rather than trying to eliminate it, overcome it instead. Inwardly, appreciate who you are and what you can do. Recognize your strengths and your passion. Those will be your tools to start a conversation with friends, perform your tasks to the best of your abilities, and do good for others. To outgrow your shyness, look for ways to do the things you will be proud of. If you love yourself and your work, others will do the same.

How can I help my child become more outgoing?

Having children participate in shared activities can help them become at ease with people. Parents can also practice with their children social skills like making eye contact, smiling, speaking in clarity, and engaging them in conversations. For starters,

Remember that you are a creation of God and are wired for greatness. Despite being shy, your mind and skills are meant to be shared with others, and fear will limit you. Rejections and failures are inevitable but remember you have family and friends who love you and accept you for who and what you are.

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