Every individual is predisposed to behaving in a certain way and many of you might be having problems approaching people or feeling uncomfortable in the presence of others. This behaviour can be a typical case of ‘shyness’. Many a time a shy person does his/her best to overcome the problem. After all, who doesn’t want to be more adept, communicative, assertive, outgoing and extrovert? The things we may try and do would vary. But what more can one do to overcome shyness?
Accept yourself for who you are. Every individual is unique, has his or her own set of skills and abilities and also his or her own personality, temperament and social characteristics. Just because you may possess one trait and not the other does not make you worse off than others around you. The fact that you have difficulties handling interpersonal situations does not indicate that you are not a good person or that something is wrong with you. You are you, an individual who is unique and good at something or the other, which may not necessarily include interpersonal communication.
Make an easy beginning
Start with your family. You should try and build the bridges that exist in your communication skills by attempting to start sharing experiences and feelings with family. Taking the ownership of what you feel and expressing the same would be help you come out of your shell. Remember that communication is about expression and nothing more.
Make inroads with friends
Having intense and deep communications with your friends is a necessary second step once you become accustomed to sharing your feelings and thoughts with the family. A good starting point can be talking about interests that you may share with your friends. Then, after you reach a level of comfort with them, you can advance to more complex topics on which you may or may not share common interests.
Going with a bit of preparation before launching into a discussion or talks about a particular topic would help you deal with any initial anxiety. It can make you more confident and empower you with knowledge and understanding of the topic you are planning to talk about.
Don’t avoid situations
Avoiding situations is the worst thing you can do. It would only add to the shyness you want to try and overcome. It is best to stand up and face up to any situation you are presented with instead of running away in fear of being evaluated by others or worrying about not being good at what you are supposed to do or being able to communicate effectively. Leave these worries aside.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare