Thursday, October 07, 2010

My stomach ties up in knots at the thought of approaching others! What to do if you are overly shy?

Do you often feel uncomfortable in a social situation? Perhaps you’re overly shy? Or your stomach ties up in knots at the thought of approaching someone even just to say “Hi!”

Well the good news is that there are many techniques which you can use to help you overcome this problem of social shyness or anxiety.

I’m going to share one of my favourites below. But first, three important points that need to be highlighted (so imagine them covered by ink from a bright yellow fluoro highlighter pen)

1. Don’t expect to get the confidence of Tony Robbins in one day. All changes happen in small steps. Make an effort to stretch yourself just a little bit further every day. And celebrate your victories, no matter how small they are. Those small victories will over time grow into a massive change in your confidence.

2. The best way to overcome a fear is to face it and succeed. What I’m presenting today is one way to build the courage to face your fear. What you need to do though is not only use it, but also search out a whole host of other techniques as well. And use them! Different techniques may be more appropriate for different situations. We’ll of course be talking about many of the other techniques in future articles.

3. As always, if your social shyness or anxiety is causing difficulties in your life, please consider talking to a doctor or a counsellor. They will be able to expand on this strategy, and provide you with many more. They really can help.

So, as promised, here’s one of my favourite techniques for helping you feel more confident as you approach other people in a social situation.

You will be tapping into one of the greatest powers you have within you. More powerful than all the fear you may currently feel.

That power is compassion.

In many of us though it lies asleep, a luxury we feel we can’t afford just yet. Maybe something we’ll get around to exploring when we get over our problems and start feeling happy about ourselves. After all, how can we be compassionate towards others when we don’t even feel good about ourselves?

Is that what you think?

Well, I think we’re better served by looking at things from a different perspective. One that sees compassion not only as a tool for helping others, but also for helping ourselves.

So, how do we use compassion in this situation?


They are human. Somewhere within them they have fears too. Their fears may not be visible to you on the surface, but they’re there. We are all human.

We all desire human contact!

We all desire friendship!

We all desire to be loved!

So before approaching someone, remind yourself that they too may have difficulties making the first move. They may be waiting for someone to talk to about their problems and their issues.

They may be waiting for someone just like you, who can understand them and their own fears. Someone just like you, with a heart filled with compassion and love. And perhaps in time, if a friendship develops, you can help them with their own fears.

Why does this work? Simply because it takes the focus off you, and places it onto the other person. How can you help them? How can you be their friend in a time of need?

Of course, don’t approach them with these questions directly. It would not be appropriate in most social situations, especially if you don’t know the person yet. Just approach them with this understanding, that they’re just like you.

They too are human. Make conversation. Talk about them, and their interests. Many times this may lead nowhere. Sometimes though, it could develop into one of the best friendships of your life.

They’re just like you. So there’s no need to be afraid. They also want someone to talk to. Help them!

You can let your shyness or anxiety be a source of fear within yourself, or you can let it build your compassion towards others who are also facing their own demons. Choose compassion! In return, you will also be helping yourself overcome your own fears, one conversation at a time.


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