Is shyness your only friend in a crowd? The people surrounding you could be your neighbors, those in authority, those from the opposite gender, or those whom you don’t know just yet.
While it may seem that shyness is a flaw, it is not. There is no restriction to feeling shy. There is no unacceptable age to feel shy. There is no need to feel ashamed of your shyness. As Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Shyness adds to your beauty.”
Overcoming shyness as a weakness
Yet, overt shyness could be blocking your path to success and happiness. Your shyness does not have to jeopardize a promotion, the chances of a romantic relationship, and success in your passion.
The good news is: You can overcome shyness in your communication. Without regretting or feeling ashamed about your shyness, you can take a few steps that can help. Be patient. Your shyness will fall away with time.
1. Know that a lot of it is in your head
Not the shyness but your subconscious belief that the others are somehow better. The truth is that despite the apparent differences, each one of us is the same at one level of existence. In the words of the Yoga Vasistha, “The same consciousness that shines in the sun also dwells in the little worm that crawls in a hole on this Earth,” and in the words of The Ashtavakra Gita, “Despite the body (and all the differences that come with it), we are all one.”
You may not be a realized being to feel this sameness. But you can start by knowing that your shyness comes from your limited belief that others are better or different.
2. Let go of past impressions with breath and meditation
You may not even be aware of the belief systems or the past experiences that are driving your shyness. Some possible experiences that could have nurtured your shyness include:
- Being around dominant personalities
- Parents over-emphasized potential dangers or set strict rules of do’s and don’ts when you were growing up
- You were many times made fun of by your friends
- You saw your parents as shy and anxious themselves
- You moved quite a lot while growing up
- You went through major family changes like divorce or the death of a close family member
There could be other experiences as well.
A study shows that meditation helps you overrule your latent tendency to project the past into the present and future. Meditation brings deep awareness and rest, an unlikely combination that helps drop your subconscious beliefs and tendencies.
3. Go out in the world for a cause you are passionate about
When you act with a broad vision of contributing to a cause, you are bound to shed any inhibitions. This is mainly because the cause takes prime importance over your limitations. Apeckshya Parajulee, a seasoned volunteer shares, “There is this energy within us all that wants to reach out, share and care. But we are usually bound by an invisible spell that stops us and makes us stiff and shy. I have seen that spell-breaking whenever I have spent time working for a cause that I am passionate about. I have seen my ego break as I have asked for funds for a project. I have seen my shyness dissolve as I stepped out of my comfort zone to interact with communities for whom I was working and other fellow volunteers from different backgrounds.”
She adds, “I was very low on confidence, and only after serving my community has confidence become a habit.”
4. De-stress and raise your energy with Sudarshan Kriya
Reduced stress and higher energy levels naturally contribute to your confidence levels. Several studies show practicing the Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique helps reduce stress levels and raise energy levels to a great extent. You can learn the technique in an Online Meditation & Breath Workshop.
5. Adopt lifestyle changes that can keep your mind calm
Your lifestyle has a major contribution to how you feel in general. You can reduce your stress and anxiety linked with people with three basic lifestyle changes:
- A balanced diet that suits your body
- Sleeping and eating on time
- Starting your day with yoga, breathing exercises, and Sudarshan Kriya
6. Derive your confidence from your strengths
Each one of us is endowed with unique strengths. Recognize yours and treasure them. Avoid comparing yourself with others, as that stops you from discovering the unique person you are. Acknowledge that the qualities and personality you desire can be nurtured with time and effort. Regular meditation will also help you get in touch with your source of inner strength, which can give you unshakeable confidence.
There is no structured way to overcome shyness. It is a natural happening. Walk on this journey with patience and kindness toward yourself as your biggest hurdle to overcoming shyness is your own strong self-critique.
Based on inputs from Dr. Prema Seshadri, Psychologist & Faculty, The Art of Living & Apeckshya Parajulee, Faculty, The Art of Living