I won’t say that I have completely overcome shyness, or that I’ve fully built up my confidence, but these are tips that have helped me to not allow shyness and anxiety to control my life.
1. Change your mindset – When I tell people I’m shy most reply, “I was shy back in the day, but I got over it. You will too!” Get over it? Do you even know how I feel? It seems like I’ll never overcome it, it feels like it’s engraved in me! My mind thinks. I've realized that my own mindset can be a curse when I have negative thoughts telling me I'll never get better. So the first step is to change your mindset by replacing negative words with positive affirmations. Switch out the negative vocabulary. Say things like “I can” and “I will”. Take the focus off of the negative and focus on the positive. Realize that if you put your mind to it, you will do it! If you believe you can change, then that’s the first step to overcoming your shyness and anxiety.
2. Get out of your comfort zone – I know it’s easier said than done, but trust me! When I try to get out of my comfort zone, I have panic attacks and freak out because I just don’t know how to deal with the situation. But once the situation is over and I see that I did survive, it makes me happy that I did get out of my little comfort zone. If you never try, you’ll never know. The truth is, as long as you stay in your comfort zone, it’s not going to leave room for you to grow and to be the person that you want to be. Just push yourself, and when you think it’s the highest limit you can reach, push yourself even more, because you’ll surprise yourself that you can actually do it!
3. Change the labels you place on yourself – I know how annoying it is to be labeled as the “shy person”. Whenever there’s a new situation or event, I’m so excited because it’s my chance to be able to start over and prove to everyone that there’s more to me. Of course, I let myself down and my shyness somehow shows in every conversation I have. When I get home I beat myself up because that was another opportunity where people could have viewed me differently, and I messed it up! I just started to accept the fact that the shy label was placed on me, and I accepted the fact that I wouldn't change. I’ll just be the shy person that stands in the corner, whatever! I’m used to it. Labeling yourself as boring or uninteresting is detrimental. You start to believe it, and that’s who you become. Just because you’re labeled a certain way by society doesn’t mean that you have to accept that label. Take the negative labels you place on yourself and replace them with positive ones.
4. Leave a lasting impression – Even if you're a soft-spoken person that comes off as shy, take the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on whoever you talk to. Say something interesting about yourself that proves you’re worth getting to know. If you're shy, you know what it's like to feel like the "boring one". Once people see that there’s more to you though, they might just be willing to wait for you to open up. That little bit of mysteriousness is going to draw them to you. Even though, as shy people, we take a longer time to open up than most people, if we show little bits and pieces of our personality, people will see that we’re unique. Someone out there will take the time to understand you and get to know you, because you are awesome! Don’t focus on what the other person is thinking, because your conversation is going to go downhill fast. Think of how you can contribute to the conversation by shifting the focus off of yourself and on the other person. Ask the other person a question to get them engaged. If they mention something, build a question off of that. And you can't go wrong with giving compliments!
5. Read books – Take the time to read self help books. Not only do they help you to be more introspective, but you can also find practical tips to apply to your everyday life. Invite your mind into the things you want to know. Just remember, it’s not only about reading the books, but applying the tips that you learn about into your everyday life. You have to work hard for what you want. A book that I like is Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness by Gillian Butler.