The First Step towards Overcoming Shyness
If you haven’t already, I recommend you read the Two Keys to Overcoming Shyness before continuing.
This a strong starting point, and you’ll already havemade headway just by reading them. As we go along we’re going to break the keys down into several easy-to-follow steps, and here’s the next one:
Learn how to talk to yourself.
There are two simple ways to accomplish this. The first is to put everything you own into liquor store bags, get a bottle of cheap wine in a paper bag, and wander up and down the street speaking to yourself aloud about microwaves eating your brain. It’s a lot easier talking to strangers when you encounter them this way; you’ll have a cool catch phrase that’s easy to customize, “Got any Change?”
We prefer the second method, which is utilizing constructive self-talk to break down your pattern of shy behaviour, this method takes place entirely in your head. You won’t even disturb the cat. Before we do this, let’s get something straight; there’s a difference between being shy, and being quiet and reserved. There’s a difference between not knowing what to say, and not thinking anything is worth saying. If you’re quiet and reserved it probably means you’re an introvert and prefer it that way. If shyness is also a problem you’ll need to work a little harder to defeat it. If shyness isn’t a problem and you follow Mark Twain’s line of thought, ‘It’s better to keep quiet and have people think you stupid, than to talk and confirm it,’ Your going to need to work more on your conversation skills.
A lot of this self-defeating mindset comes from past experiences. If you’ve ever felt embarrassed in a social situation, reacted poorly, said stupid things, had stupid things said to you, been at a loss for words, blushed uncontrollably, been nervous and uncomfortable, acted awkward or felt ridiculous and out of place… like we all have, this will reappear whenever you’re in a similar situation. In essence, you continually reinforce this negative mindset because that’s the only association your brain makes when you encounter these situations. To Quote Mark Twain again: We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. In other words, don’t let one painful experience hold you back from every other experience.