`Afflicted` by shyness? Come, join the gang! Want to know how the dictionary defines `shyness`? Diffidence, bashfulness, reserve, timidity, mousiness (GOD! NO!), meekness, modesty, self-consciousness. So how many of these apply to you? The antonyms listed are confidence, calm, assurance - qualities that seem to abound in those fortunate others who are not similarly afflicted!
Can you imagine how you would feel if you are transformed into one of those brash, over-confident, assertive, pushy people - people who are at the other extreme? Ah! You cringe even as you read this! Quite alien qualities aren`t they? But wait! There is definitely some scope for a transformation, though not in a radical way which would simply clash with your personality and who you really are. Imagine going from someone too shy to even purchase a book on shyness, a person too shy to go through a successful job interview, one who is too shy to ask for someone`s phone number, a person who is too shy to attend social activities, too shy for this.... too shy for that - to some one who can look others in the eye assertively; someone who finds rewarding, interesting, creative work; someone who travels internationally with ease and is able to deal with any situation calmly; someone who finds happiness and joy and is at peace with the world; someone who even can, on occasion, address large groups of people without any stomach churn.
So, what then is the secret of overcoming shyness? You need to make a really concerted effort for achieving this by taking action thus:
- Create balance
- Create a safety net
- Breathe consciously
All these three steps will transform you from a person whose inner self screams "NO! I can`t do this!" into a person who boldly tells herself, "I`m sure I can handle this. I know I am scared, but I also know I can do it!" With this exorcising of the demons of fear, you will find yourself empowered - you realise you have the power to handle any situation.
The trick is to first understand the reason for your shyness. A good analysis will tell you exactly which areas you tend to get stuck because of your shyness. This in turn, will allow you to determine when you are stuck. Armed with this information, you can create a safety net even while you continue to work in areas where you don`t get stuck. Once you identify your problem, your perspective and insight can lead you to take the right action to transform your shyness and help you to face your problem. This way, you not only create balance but also create safety by being yourself without fear of judgement, criticism and negative consequences.
Do you know what will give you the maximum confidence to face and overcome your problem? Remember, you might be a musician, but unless you practice your art, you can never become a performer overnight! So, the more you practice, the better chances are of you succeeding. What makes a person confident? It is the fact that they have successfully done the same thing many times - it automatically creates self confidence which gives them the aura of confidence. You too can `practice` by first doing the things you like with people you are comfortable with - it will go a long way towards putting you at ease with new people.
Most often, we stop ourselves from doing things because we feel we are not good enough, not perfect. If you want to be a writer, understand first that you need many drafts and many attempts before you can really become one. If, on the other hand, you stop yourself from writing because you feel you are not perfect, well.... you simply miss out from using your talent. Instead, take that all-important first step towards realising your dreams, and even if there are a couple of falls, this important first step will lead to your eventual success. It is consistent action that will help attract what you want. Inconsistent action because of a fear of failure will only get you stuck in the same rut. Rejection is a way of life, and the sooner you learn to face and accept it, the faster you will woo that elusive goddess of success! After all, rejection and embarrassment are only signs that you too are doing something - you are an active participant in life.
Once you succeed in creating the balance and safety, you are ready to go after what you want in life. There is one thing that is still holding you back though - fear - a paralysing emotion that keeps you from going places, asking for what you want, and living life as you wish to. But wait! Help is at hand! There is a secret that has been handed over the ages that has been proved successful in overcoming this fear. It is the art of conscious breathing. This is based on the fact that one cannot feel fear when one is breathing consciously. Be aware of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Feel the air as it enters your nostrils, feel it as it circulates through your body and feel it as it leaves your nostrils. Be continuously aware of your breath and you will feel the fear leaving you as it is replaced by an all-pervading calm. Conscious breathing works because it shows us a way to overcome our natural tendency to freeze, to stop breathing and our attempt to become invisible when we are afraid. Deep breathing replaces all these negative emotions and soon you are filled with calm which allows you to face any fearful situation with confidence. It helps you to be your true self, to act in ways that will create happiness for you and for those whose lives you touch.
So here`s to a life free from self-imposed restrictions, free from fear of rejection and embarrassment, and free from fear of failure! Venture forth into a brave new world armed with your new resolve to face any situation with confidence and see your shyness become just an endearing facet of your personality and not something that prevents you from taking the right action!