What is Shyness?
Shyness is a term that is used to describe a general apprehension or reluctance to socialize due to associated anxiety or fear. Shyness exists in varying intensity and for some; it has profoundly negative effects on the quality of life. For others, it is less intense and does not have a severe impact. Shy people are generally uncomfortable approaching or being approached by other people to some degree, especially people whom they do not know. They are often described as being timid, insecure, nervous, bashful, scared or uncomfortable around people and crowds.
What Causes Shyness?
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to shyness. Shyness can stem from anxiety disorders, lack of self confidence or low self esteem. In some cases, it is simply a choice. There are people who are thought to be shy but who actually choose not to socialize for various reasons. Shyness can also be taught. In some cultures, actions or attitudes that we might consider shy, are actually behaviors that are taught. Sometimes, what we perceive as timidness or social apprehension is actually a behavior that is intended to show respect or reflect a professional or social status. Of course, many people do suffer from shyness that is unintended and difficult to control.
Some People Just Seem to Have Greater Social Ability
Many people welcome new experiences. They look forward to an opportunity to socialize and meet new people. Some can start up a conversation easily with anyone in the room. These people are usually though of as confident, friendly and outgoing. People like this will enter a social scenario and immediately introduce themselves and dive into the party. For them, meeting new people is not only easy but also enjoyable. People who behave this way may have always had these qualities or they have to work at it. There is usually a point in our lives where we identify this “shyness” in ourselves and decide to let go, put it off to deal with it later or confront it head on. The earlier we decide to confront it, the better if that is our goal. Often, all it takes is putting yourself out there and suffering through it a few times before it starts to get easier and easier. With effort, we can reduce the anxiety associated with shyness until it is negligible or nonexistent.
Shyness Can Have Significant Effects on Your Life
Shyness affects how a person feels and behaves around others. This in turn affects the others perceive us. People may hesitate to trust or rely on shy people. They may mistake the social awkwardness as conceit or being standoffish and unfriendly. All of these factors can result in difficulty in forming new relationships. Because of the difficulties, that shyness has the potential to produce in our lives; it sometimes has negative effects on our self esteem and self confidence. When we see it as a problem that we are unable to overcome, we begin view ourselves as weak or inferior in some way to other more confident and socially successful people. This is one reason why it may be worthwhile to try to overcome shyness to some degree and take more control of our social abilities.
Am I Shy?
It is important to understand where you stand with regard to your social comfort. Just because you do not have tendencies toward social interaction does not mean that you are shy or have social anxiety. Some of us simply do not like to socialize often. Many people prefer the peacefulness of solitude to the company of others except for rare occasions. The difference is how you feel about it.
If you are happy about your social abilities, you probably do not have a problem. Other people like to socialize and be around other people but they are simply quiet people. Being quiet does not necessarily reflect social anxiety. If a person is introverted, it is not always evidence that he is uncomfortable in social situations or fears rejection. I believe that there are times when we should all think more and talk less.
Do you experience uncomfortable anxiety at the thought of having to meet new people? It is sometimes quite normal to feel nervous when meeting someone. For instance when dating, it is completely normal. Being nervous in a job interview is also quite an ordinary response. If you feel nervousness that prevents you from being able to function, you may have a problem. If you experience blushing, feeling flushed or dizzy, speechlessness, paranoia, shakiness or feeling short of breath at the thought of simply being at a party where there are many people whom you do not know, that indicates an issue that you may need to address.
How Do I Overcome Shyness?
The good news is that shyness is something that can be overcome. There are many ways to practice improving your social comfort, confidence and abilities. With practice, it is possible to become comfortable in any situation. There are exercises, tips and tons of information available to help you eliminate shyness and develop the ability to enjoy yourself in any social situation. There is no reason why shyness should be allowed to rule your life.
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