Make a fear scale
What scares you the most no I’m not talking about spiders or clowns I’m talking about all the things in life that you’ve spent years shying away from. Maybe you’ve always had trouble starting up conversations with strangers or maybe you’ve never had the courage to ask out someone that you really like for this step to work. I need you to think about every single thing that you’re afraid to do now ask yourself why you’re scared of these situations what is it about that particular activity that makes you uncomfortable. Now as you dive deeper into these intimidating scenarios I want you to give them a rating from 1 to 10 now a 1 is something that only scares you a little bit in the right environment. You’d probably take a shot at it on the other hand a 10 is something that you’re absolutely terrified of these are the activities that you can’t even imagine yourself doing ok. So once you’ve given each of your fears a number put them all together what you’ve just created is called a fear scale. Fear scales are tools that shy people use to gradually come out of their shell you start at the bottom of your fear scale with the ones in the two’s. These are your easiest most accessible fears now you put them at the bottom because they really aren’t that intimidating so these are the activities that you should tackle first all right. Let’s say that you put being assertive on your fear scale you’re not that worried about it so you gave this activity of one that low rating makes being assertive. The perfect place to start for the next week I want you to make it your goal to stand your ground at least two or three times face your fear cross it off your list and then move on up to the next level slowly. But surely you’ll work your way toward the higher end of the spectrum and you’ll notice something weird happening fours will feel like twos eight so feel like sixes situations that absolutely terrified you will feel more doable than ever.
Decipher your relationships
Shyness is associated with meeting new people but it also affects the relationships that you’re already in in fact you can learn a lot about your shyness by looking at the quality of your social relationships. This idea is based on something called attachment theory. Attachment theory is a psychological model that describes various kinds of relationships just think about all the different relationships that you have in your life some of them might be strong and secure while others are chaotic and inconsistent you might have a certain dynamic with your partner and a completely different dynamic with your friends. Attachment theory organizes all of these relationships into one of four groups secure anxious avoidant anxious ambivalent and disorganized. Now we won’t talk about what each group stands for but it’s worth exploring on your own. If you’re interested so what does all this have to do with shyness well your relationships give you a glimpse into the ways that shyness changes your behavior just imagine you’re someone who runs away from emotional conversations with your friends. Now you might do the same thing when you’re feeling shy instead of embracing. The unknown you might avoid the things in life that scare you understanding how your shyness works is a huge step toward real behavioral change once you know what to look for you’ll have a much easier time catching yourself in the act.
Familiarity with unfamiliarity
Sometimes shyness revolves around your environment at home or at your friend’s house you might be a really outgoing person you enjoy meeting new people you’re always making jokes and you have no problem coming out of your shell.But the moment you go somewhere new you clam up how can you be confident in some environments but shy in others well the problem is unfamiliarity when you’re in an environment that you know that familiar context will unlock the best version of you. It suppresses your insecurities because you’re immersed in a place where you feel calm and comfortable now in a new environment your nerves go haywire you feel overwhelmed by unfamiliar people in places so that confident side of you quickly disappears. Luckily there’s an easy way to get rid of this kind of shyness before you can feel confident in any new environment you need more experience with unfamiliarity. Let’s say you really want to put yourself out there at a work event next weekend but it’s happening somewhere that you’ve never been understandably you’re nervous you’re worried you’ll be too shy to talk to anyone. So what should you do to boost your confidence during the week visit a few uncomfortable places yeah put yourself in environments that are far or far outside your comfort zone just like watch a movie on Movie Hustle and that way. When next weekend rolls around your party won’t feel any scarier than the places that you’ve already been.
Coin your phrase
Everyone knows practice makes perfect rehearsing something beforehand will give you a nice boost of confidence in the heat of the moment why well. Because you’re taking something uncomfortable and you’re making it feel comfortable using that same idea let’s explore another easy step. You can take to come out of your shell without really coming out of your shell I call this one coining your phrase. Coining something means to make it your own so when you coin a phrase you’re putting your stamp on that specific set of words. It’s almost like creating your own catchphrase but instead of making a joke you’re coining a phrase that will smooth over the most nerve-racking part of any conversation. The very beginning all you need to do is figure out an intro that captures who you are think about things like where are you from. How do you normally talk how casual do you want that conversation to be these questions will help you hone in on an intro that’s perfect for any situation. So whether you’re at work at home or at a party you’ll always have your coin phrase to fall back on yeah I know it doesn’t seem like much but this small change makes all the difference.
Direct your attention outward
Over the years researchers have discovered something interesting about shy people they’re unintentionally self-absorbed hmm I know that sounds bad but this kind of self-absorption is really different from arrogance or narcissism. Shy people don’t think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread but they do have trouble paying attention to anyone but themselves if you’re a shy person you might spend a huge amount of time analyzing your looks and your behavior. You might be worried about embarrassing yourself but that self-absorption is making your shyness ten times worse. That’s why researchers recommend paying more attention to the people around you the more compassionate you are or the less time you’ll spend over analyzing yourself. You’ll be so distracted by other people that your shyness will just fade into the background.
Rearrange your expectations
Not everyone can be incredibly extroverted some people are better suited for the spotlight while others are quiet and introspective. No matter how much you want to be a super sociable person it might be unrealistic for your personality type now that doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy social life. Just don’t expect to suddenly become the most outgoing person in the world this is a mistake that tons of shy people make. They imagine a hypothetical version of themselves that excels in every social situation they spend years chasing this exaggerated version of their future but it’s just not real it’s not something they could ever accomplish. Because whether they like it or not they’re just not built that way so if you want to overcome your shyness set realistic expectations for yourself. Now that doesn’t mean you should expect less just don’t expect too much either your social expectations need to make sense for you. As an individual otherwise you’ll never make any progress but if you keep your expectations in check you’ll develop the kind of ideal self that gives you something real to look forward to.
Conquer one new challenge
Many people try to overcome their shyness by tackling 100 problems at once they think they need to fix all other fears in one fell swoop but instead of conquering everything they end up accomplishing nothing. If you’re looking for an effective way to get over your shyness focus your attention on one challenge just one pick one new thing that scares you. It could be a hobby that you’ve always been too hesitant to try or maybe it’s a person that you’ve always wanted to get to know whatever it is. Invest your time and energy into that one single challenge the goal of this step is to change the way you approach your shyness. Don’t try to change your personality don’t make yourself act like a different person just don’t force it and the rest will come naturally.
Eliminate your scapegoats
As you take on new challenges you might notice yourself falling back into old patterns at parties you might hide in the corner by yourself or you might use your workload to justify skipping fun social events. Both are common scapegoats that shy people use to protect themselves from their fears I like to think of these scapegoats like the inflatable tubes that you bring into the pool on one hand. They stop you from sinking but on the other hand they keep you from swimming freely my point here is instead of protecting you. Your scapegoats are holding you back they’re giving you a comfortable way to avoid challenging yourself or taking risks and if you’re not careful you’ll spend your whole life floating above water. And just wishing you had the courage to find out what was waiting below the surface so figure out what habits you use to protect yourself and get rid of them. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours this step gives you the chance to put your shyness behind.