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How to Overcome Timidity and Be More Confident

How to Overcome Timidity and Be More Confident

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My Struggle With Timidity

‘’No matter how brilliant, intelligent or talented you are, if you are too timid, you will miss out on many opportunities that could better your life. The floor belongs to the bold.’’
I wrote the above on my Facebook status last year, and it garnered hundreds of reactions and comments from people who were struggling with timidity and desired to how to overcome timidity. I posted the same a week ago, and over five hundred people acknowledged it.
Apparently, many people are timid, and they hate it. As requested, I decided to share my timidity story and how I overcame it.
Timidity is simply shyness, and shyness is the fear of social interactions.
Growing up, I thought I was the shyest person on the planet. It was so bad that entering a room with a minimum of two people got my heart pounding against my chest.
As a teenager, I couldn’t make eye contact with people when talking with them. I preferred staying indoors to read and write to going out and meeting people.
Timidity hindered me from answering questions in class, even when I was 100% sure of the answer (this continued until my university days, although not as severe as before).
Not many people knew this about me.
I didn’t like the way I was. I envied my peers who were so outspoken and acted like they had no care in the world. I wondered why I just couldn’t be like them. I was (I still am, lol) a brilliant girl, but timidity was ruining me.
So, I decided to work on myself (I’m still working on myself). I have improved. I engage in some stuff now that no one would ever believe that I was that girl who couldn’t make eye contact when talking with others.
Before I share tips on how I managed timidity, it’s important to understand some causes of the monster. Yes, timidity is a monster. Anything that prevents you from maximizing your full potential is a monster.


Why Am I Timid? 5 Causes of Timidity

There are many causes of timidity, but I’ll share five basic ones with you.

#1 Heredity

Nature partially determines our personality, that is, genetics. So, timidity can be an inherited gene, and this explains why some children are naturally outspoken while some are reserved.

This is not anyone’s fault, as we don’t get to choose our genes.

I think for me, timidity was basically genetic. I grew up knowing I was shy. But the good news is that it’s not unchangeable.

#2 Environment

Nurture is another factor that determines a person’s personality.

Remember the nature-nurture controversy?


It refers to the environment of exposure, and it includes the family, school, and peer group.

A child who grows up in a family where the children’s opinions are respected and are allowed to express themselves is not likely to be as shy as a child who grows up in an inhibiting environment.

Planning group projects and group activities in school and encouraging students to be expressive improves students’ social interaction.

#3 Fear of Failure

Excessive fear of failure and fear of not doing things right also leads to timidity.

Shy people are usually obsessed with the fear of saying the wrong thing, giving the wrong answer to a question, tripping while walking, forgetting their lines in a speech, laughing inappropriately in public, or doing anything socially awkward that may lead to embarrassment.

They tend to avoid social situations because of this.

#4 Excessive self-consciousness

While a healthy dose of self-consciousness is crucial in social interactions, too much of it can lead to timidity.

Shy people are self-absorbed; they think they are the object of everyone’s analysis, so they become so conscious of themselves, what they say and what they do.

#5 Lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem

This is another major cause of timidity. If you don’t have confidence in yourself/your abilities or you think low of yourself, maybe because of your unpleasant pasts, past failures, poverty, abuse, you may become timid.

So how did I deal with this limiting monster?

How I Overcame Timidity: 9 Ways To Get Over Timidity

#1 I wasn’t happy with my situation

I wanted to be better, and this is the first step to experiencing a change in any unpleasant situation you find yourself in.

The desire for improvement gives you the motivation you need to take some other actions. You cannot experience a change in your comfort zone.

#2 Don’t expect a drastic change or a total personality transformation

Variety is the spice of life. Everyone cannot be sociable and outspoken.

However, if shyness is robbing you of (scarce) life opportunities and meaningful relationships, then it’s a problem for you.

It’d shock you that many celebrities are shy in real life, but this doesn’t stop them from fulfilling their potential, and that is the purpose of this article.

I’m still my introverted self. I’m more of a listener than a talker, except I’m teaching. Too much talk bores me.

I’m probably not the type of person who would stand up to talk in a hall of a thousand people, but I’m no longer that girl that would shy away from meeting people, no matter how many they are.

There are still some gatherings that I can stand up to address, and timidity is not stopping me from putting some of my abilities to use.

I wrote ‘some’ because I have some potential that requires a great deal of boldness to utilize. And I’m working on that.

So, to overcome timidity, don’t expect to be a completely different person, but a bolder version of yourself.

#3 Engage in activities that will shrink your shyness

I wish I could tell you that boldness would fall on you while you wished for it or while you remained a couch potato, but life is not a fairy tale.

Taking up responsibilities that will push your timidity into oblivion is probably the most important step in overcoming timidity.

Courage is not the absence of fear but doing what you have to do regardless of the fears and barriers you may encounter.

Courage is doing it afraid!

If you want to feel bold before you do what you have to do, then you won’t ever get anything done.

I’ve always loved Bible study, so I joined the Bible study unit in the fellowship in nursing school.

The first Sunday I was to teach, my heart almost ripped in fear. I was tempted to run out or wished that mother earth would be kind enough to open up and swallow me and save me from the impending embarrassment.

But I did it. I did it so well.

A year and some months later, I became the head of that same department.

During my undergraduate days, I took my presentations seriously and would even volunteer to be the speaker during group presentations.

During one of such times, a lecturer mentioned me as one of the two best presenters.

Currently, I teach in church and also recently joined the choir, even though I tell myself I can’t sing. Lol.

I encourage you to take up responsibilities that will shrink your timidity if you really want to know how to overcome timidity.

With practice, shyness would become a thing of the past in your life.

Practice makes perfect, always.

#4 Use social media to your advantage

I’m very active on Facebook where I share my thoughts. I used to be so concerned about what people would say, so I shied away from writing on some topics.

But now, I write boldly on any topic I like until people called me ‘controversial’.

So, having a voice online has helped to build my confidence.

Many people share with me how I inspire them and how they look forward to meeting me in real life. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them by being timid.

Use the social media to boost your confidence. You can start by sharing your opinions in the comment section on people’s posts.

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts, respectfully and kindly though.

Because many timid people hide behind their keyboardskeyboard warriors, to bully others online.

That is anything but confidence.

#5 Associate with people who encourage you to come out of your shell

The company you keep matters a lot.

If you associate with people who are outspoken, who confidently air their opinions, you’ll find yourself becoming like them.

Most of my intimate friends are extroverts, and I’ve learned to be talkative with them.

I’m still my introverted self, but I know how to talk when necessary.

#6 Take care of your looks

There’s a positive relationship between beauty and confidence.

When you know you are beautiful, it’s easy to walk with your shoulders high.

People who feel physically unattractive suffer from low self-esteem.

Your physical appearance is what you make of it. If you don’t work on your looks, you won’t look good.

We live in a digital world where there is more than enough information on anything, including skincare. 

I don’t think anyone is ugly. You just have to find the right skincare products

Get yourself some good skincare products.

Use makeup products that suit your skin colour.

Wear hairstyles that suit you.

If you are a man, wear the haircut that suits you.

Dress smart and eat well.

Use deodorants.

Wear neat clothes. You don’t need to break a bank to look good. You only need to be creative.

All I’m saying is, take care of your body!

#7 Discover yourself, your passion, and talents

Knowing that you have something meaningful that can benefit others instils confidence in you and pushes you out there.

Don’t allow timidity to kill your potential.

#8 Be good at what you do

In fact, be excellent at what you do. Be a god at what you do.

Excellence gives you boldness.

You’d rarely be timid about doing what you know how to do best.

You are likely to fear failure if you are an amateur.

Also, whenever you are called to do anything; maybe to give a talk, teach others, give a presentation, PREPARE well. Ill preparation will only set you up for embarrassment.

#9 Read books

Reading is a discipline anyone who wants to be more in life should cultivate.

Reading broadens your horizon, enriching your knowledge base. Knowledge boosts confidence.

When you are knowledgeable, people will always want to be around you because they get so much value from you.

This makes you confident.

Also, reading books on confidence is highly beneficial. Joyce Meyer‘s The Confident Woman is the best book I’ve read so far on confidence.

The lessons I garnered from the book are indelible in my memory because they helped me to grow. You don’t even need to be religious to read it.

If you are suffering from timidity, I hope you’ll apply these tips that worked for me and start your journey to being confident.

Also Read
7 Habits of Highly Smart Women
8 Ways You are Wasting Your Life Without Knowing It
6 Basic Skills You Need to be Successful in Life

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Thursday 17th of August 2023

Bible study? Yuck. I was raised by abusive Christian parents. I think Christianity is the root of many problems, but I can't fix stupid people. I don't consider myself stupid, just average intelligence.

Mabel's Blog

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Sorry about your experience, but just because your parents were abusive doesn't make Christianity a problem. I pray you get the right perspective.


Saturday 4th of February 2023

Just lost an opportunity because someone gave a comment about me that I am timid. It has hit me to the core. But I have taken it in good faith, I am going to work on myself to improve my confidence. Thank God for your article.

Mabel's Blog

Saturday 4th of February 2023

Awww. So sorry about your experience. Please take it as feedback and work on yourself. Timidity is not a crime. However, if it's stopping you from achieving your goals, you need to learn how to manage it.


Wednesday 27th of April 2022

This is such a great article! Thanks so much.

Mabel's Blog

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

Glad you found it helpful!

Zandile Mhlanga

Monday 7th of March 2022

I love this . I'm really going to work on my shyness


Saturday 20th of November 2021

Good luck with you When I red this I understood I'm not the one in the world that has this problem I learned a lot from you and I also try to do them with myself 😉 I hardly ever communicate in my classes too And it's annoying me 😔

Mabel's Blog

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Right! It's really so annoying especially when you are sure of the answer. That is changing in my classes when I return to school.