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You don’t have to be shy forever, here are ways to start working towards being bolder. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about being an introvert is that you’re shy. However, these are actually two different things.

I use to be super shy and introverted and I felt like that was just the way I was.

People would tell me to speak up or that I was too quiet. I was never too comfortable in large groups because I felt like my voice was naturally too quiet or my face would turn red too easily if I was put on the spot. 

But when I started diving deeper into what it meant to be an introvert, I realized that being shy wasn’t part of the deal. That I could overcome it. 

In fact, people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Meryl Streep, Bill Gates, and Oprah consider themselves introverts. 

When you first think of these people, you wouldn’t think they are shy. 

And it could very well be because they’re not. They just need to spend some time alone to recharge. 

Introverts are creative, independent, and great problem solvers. Shyness is not one of the qualities although since being an introvert is perceived so negatively, it can crush your self-esteem when you’re trying to act like an extrovert all the time. 

Trust me, I know. 

If you are an introvert, be proud of that. There are so many benefits of being introverted. 

The narrative that haunted me

I wrote this narrative in my head that because I was introverted, I was destined to be a wallflower. That I wasn’t going to be able to ever break out of my shell and show up confidently online or in my everyday life. 

I would set good intentions to be brave but then I felt like I would lose the ability to speak. I would get so nervous that my stomach would bother me and I would overthink to the extreme.

And eventually, I would just tell myself that I would start tomorrow. 

But the good news is that you can try again right now. Don’t wait until tomorrow like I use to. As humans, we are constantly changing so if you were shy in your last interaction, you don’t have to be shy in your next one.

It is going to take some trial and error to break out of that shell. Believe me, I know that it’s not easy. 

It is important to remember that just because you’re naturally quiet and prefer listening, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of loneliness and being walked all over. 

You can be confident and still honor that introverted spirit. 

Once I came to that realization, I started trying all the things to change my mindset. From positive affirmations to reading all the self-help books. 

These do have their place and value but it was self-awareness that was really a game-changer for me. Learning about introverts and what that meant helped me realize that I could change and that I wasn’t sentenced to this life of silence. 

Being quiet wasn’t a bad thing but rather a beautiful thing where I could get quiet and hear my own thoughts.

To be able to spend the time alone to build an online business and write these blog posts. 

Once I took back the word quiet and change my narrative to feeling more empowered then I was able to start implementing the below tips and actually start making significant strides because shyness was no longer part of my identity. 

What is shyness?

Shyness is a form of self-doubt. It’s all about censoring yourself so that others won’t judge you or make fun of you. 

It comes from a place of fear. 

According to the American Psychological Association, “shyness is the tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people.”

While shyness is normal, we all get nervous or worried at some point, it can end up being a huge setback for some people.

It can lead people to avoid social interactions and physically get sick. For years, it cause me to not show my true self and even not be able to open up to loved ones. 

I struggled with dating or trying new things. I would get an upset stomach and I would talk myself out of showing up online, being proud of my dreams, or standing up for myself. 

In most cases, this led me to feel worst about myself and become even shyer. The feedback I was getting was that I was too shy to reach these crazy dreams or goals of mine. (which was a mindset block that I needed to overcome) 

Shyness comes from self-criticism. To give into that inner mean girl that tells you that you aren’t good enough and people won’t like you. She tells you a lot of lies and tries to push you down. 

If you are more critical than you are kind to yourself, you’re bound to be shy. Since if you don’t like yourself, why would others? Why would they want to spend time with you or hang around?

So the underlying way to overcome shyness is to build up that self-esteem. (I know, I know easier said than done). 

This is why the below tips will help you build up your self-esteem.

To prove to yourself that you are worthy and people do value what you say. That you can be quietly confident, which is different than being shy.

Being quietly confident to me is embracing that you’re an introvert and quiet but being able to shine and do whatever your heart desires. 

How to overcome shyness

Since being shy isn’t tied to how your brain is wired as an introvert, there are some tactics to overcome shyness.

Because remember shyness comes from a place of fear and self-doubt. So if you are able to build up that confidence muscle then you’ll be able to overcome shyness. 

1. Do the inner work

One of the best things you can do to overcome shyness is to do the inner work. Find out what is triggering you and where that fear is coming from. 

There are going to be some mindset shifts that need to happen. New feedback loops telling you that you’re awesome. 

So ask yourself…

Is it your inner critic providing that negative self-talk and making up scenarios in your head all day long? A fun fact is that our brain can’t tell what we dreamed about and what is reality. 

So if you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re shy or not good enough or other negative things that aren’t true, your mind is going to start believing them. This is why I can’t stress enough that what you say to yourself matters. 

There is a lot of talk in the personal development space about your inner child. I’m still playing around with this myself but here is a great resource if you want to try to uncover that inner child of yours and honor her.

2. Practice Gratitude

Taking the time to recognize the good things in your life can be so powerful especially when you’re trying to grow into a better version of yourself.

 I personally like to write down or think about what I am grateful for from the day before every morning. It really helps me find the good in my everyday life because some days are a little mundane.

To fight the narrative that I’m not reaching my goals fast enough or that my life isn’t as exciting as the lives I see on social media. It helps keep me grounded in my life and reminds me that most people are just posting their highlight reels. 

I was listening to a podcast the other day where Jess Williamson mentions that she likes to practice gratitude in the areas that she is currently growing in and I thought that was really powerful. 

So for example, if you are trying to build your confidence and overcome shyness, was there any moment yesterday when you were brave? Even the littlest thing like saying hi to a colleague when you usually would avoid eye contact at all cost. 

Were you a little less shy than before? Were you going to be super open and vulnerable to your friend but ended up just being slightly open? That’s still a step in the right direction!

If so, take a moment to pat yourself on the back and celebrate that small win. It’s those little baby steps that create the big results you’re looking for. Since it begins to create the feedback loop that you can do it and so next time you can do it better. 

But if you need some help getting started, check out these gratitude prompts.

3. Get out of your comfort zone

I know it is awkward and uncomfortable but getting out of your comfort zone is where the magic is going to happen. This is where you’re going to grow your confidence and overcome that shyness.

It is much easier to stay home under a nice warm blanket with a good book but you have to put yourself out there. Whether that is exercising, networking, being vulnerable or even posting on social media. 

If you have a goal to change your life then you’re going to have to change your habits or your daily routine. Otherwise, it’s insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result).

While it is important to rest and recharge, try to get yourself outside your comfort zone every day so you can reach those goals that you wrote down. (or those resolutions that you wrote a few weeks ago).

It doesn’t have to be anything monumental but just something that would make today great. A little baby step towards that bigger picture. 

4. How’s your body language?

This is where fake it til you make it may come into play a little. How we present ourselves does make a difference.

I hate to say it since I love my sweatpants and leggings but I do feel more lethargic if I spent the day in pajamas (work-from-home life anyone?)

So dress to impress, my friend. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. I honestly feel better if I take a shower and change into a slightly nicer loungewear outfit.

You know, looking more like a functioning member of society.  

There’s also the good old superwoman pose that has been proven to build your confidence, especially if you struggle with body confidence. 

All you have to do is stand in front of a mirror, stand tall and put your hands on your hips (taking up all the space), and say some good things about yourself. This can be anything from affirmations to giving yourself a compliment. 

The point is to shift your mindset to where you feel strong, confident, and good about yourself.

5. Making conversation 

If you’re shy, connecting with people may not be your strong suit. I know when I was super shy, I was afraid of disagreeing with others or making any kind of decision. 

But it’s perfectly normal to disagree with your loved ones. It actually means that you’re being vulnerable and putting yourself out there. You aren’t going to like everything your partner or friends like and that’s okay. 

We’re all unique individuals after all. 

So have a healthy debate, vocalize what you want to eat for dinner, and just start talking about whatever is on your mind. Your relationships are going to blossom into something so much more beautiful if you do.

But on top of being open and bold, there is also how you present yourself in a conversation.

One thing I struggled with was pauses in conversations. It may sound silly because that’s just how a conversation works but if there was a slight pause from the person I was talking to, I would start rambling.

On and on and on then the person couldn’t get a word in all because I was nervous that they weren’t responding well to what I was saying. 

The ironic thing is that I need a second after someone is done speaking to truly process what they are saying and be able to give a thoughtful response. 

So take a deep breath and keep in mind that pauses are normal. They simply don’t want to cut you off. 

6. Stop chasing perfectionism

In the past, I would stay quiet because I wanted everything to be perfect. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or feel embarrassed. 

I thought if I had everything planned out to a T that nothing would go wrong. That there wouldn’t be any surprises. 

But then I would trip on the way to the podium before a speech or my face would turn red when someone said a joke and I just wanted to run away and hide. 

But as I grew in my personal growth journey, I learned that perfectionism is also from a place of fear. 

Being afraid of being judged.

And I learned that even if I thought it was good, someone else was going to think it wasn’t. Just like how I could never give up cheese because it is God’s gift to the world but some people are vegan. 

Neither lifestyle choice is wrong but they are different. Just like we have different opinions and beliefs. 

Perfectionism is subjective so you’re never going to be perfect so you might as well show up as your beautiful imperfect self. 

Because there is only one version of you and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me. 

7. Self-care

Self-care is a form of self-love. It is important to show yourself that you matter and that you deserve to be taken care of. Taking the time to take care of yourself is not a waste of time but actually, the best way to spend your time. 

Because self-care is way more than bubble baths and massages. It can be connecting with loved ones or dancing in your kitchen. It’s what is going to make you happy and feel recharged.

Here’s my post on free self-care ideas for some inspiration.

On top of that, if you take care of yourself, you’re going to be able to show up better.

I don’t know about you, but if I haven’t slept, I’m not pleasant to be around. And I feel pretty crappy after a few days of not moving my body. 

Final Thoughts

It is important to try not to take yourself so seriously. I know I’m guilty of this but once I let go of perfectionism and I could laugh at myself, things started to change. 

I started being okay with making mistakes and when my face turned red, I started accepting me for me and not putting so much pressure on myself. 

Like anything in the mindset space, it is going to take time to rewire your brain. After all, you didn’t start believing what you believe now overnight. 

It is going to take consistent action and awareness. So start calling yourself out when you’re talking crap to yourself or when you’re censoring yourself out of fear of what others will think. 

It’s all about being a little better each day and taking those small baby steps towards that better version of you, that is happy and more carefree. 

Until next time,

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You don’t have to be shy forever, here are ways to start working towards being bolder. 

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