Let’s start with a definition.

Shyness is apprehension one feels when approaching or being approached by others.

What are the causes of shyness?

There are a few:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-consciousness
  • Fear of judgment or rejection

But these qualities usually do not emerge out of nowhere.

People in our environment can impact us negatively, particularly as children.  Classmates, siblings, parents – all play a role in shaping us. 

Here’s what else we know about shyness: shy people tend to be introverts.

But shyness is not synonymous with introversion.

The latter merely means that one recharges his energy by being alone.

And it’s this turning inward that intensifies the shyness because it leads to self-judgment and unrealistic comparisons to more outgoing people.

Shyness is a by-product of introversion. 

Introverts have a more sensitive amygdala (part of the brain responsible for emotions) than extroverts.  Because of this, they get overloaded easily by stimuli (loud noises, bright lights, lots of people in a crowded place).

This sensitivity becomes generalized to an overall anxiety to new experiences and environments.

“New” comes to mean “scary”, which is why a shy person has difficulty with people coming into his orbit.

How does one overcome shyness?

Step 1: embrace it.

Most shy people wish they were different which has a damaging effect on their self-image.

How do you embrace it?

Find one thing you like about being shy.

Here’s one: “It makes me unique”.

Once you’ve identified that one thing, repeat it.  Make it a mantra.  Write it on a post-it and put it on your bathroom mirror so you see it every day.

Step 2: mind work

Psychologists call it cognitive reframing.  It’s the process of managing your thoughts, reshaping them and seeing yourself differently as a result.

It’s the primary job of a life coach and it leads to bona fide behavior change.

Shyness can be overcome but it’s hard to do alone.

If your shyness is holding you back, find a coach and work on it.

You can do this.

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