How to Stop Being Shy and Becoming 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. I posted the same a week ago, and over five hundred people acknowledged it.
 
Apparently, a lot of people are timid, and they hate it. As requested, I decided to share my timidity story and how I’ve been able to manage 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).
 
The truth is, 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 greatly 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.

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?

Yeah.

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 will improve 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 that 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 and fearful of human interactions.

So how did I manage to deal with this limiting monster?

How I Overcame Shyness

#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.

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 potentials, 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 that 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 potentials that require a great deal of boldness to utilize. And I’m working on that.

#3 Engage in activities that will threaten your shyness

I wish I could tell you that boldness will fall on you while you wish for it or while you remain 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. With practice, shyness would become a thing of the past in your life.

#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’.

I’m not controversial. I only write what many want to share but don’t have the required guts.

So, having a voice online has helped to build my confidence. A lot of 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 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. Stop hiding and claiming you are learning. Add your input.

#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 and are not scared to air their opinions, you’ll find yourself becoming like them.

Most of my intimate friends are extrovert, and I’ve learnt 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. Ugly people 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.

In this era of makeup, ugliness is a sin. Get yourself some good skin products. Get affordable makeup and wear nice hairstyles that suit you.

If you are a man, wear the haircut that suits you. Dress smart and eat good food. Use deodorants. Wear neat clothes. You don’t need to break a bank to look good. You only need to be creative.

Recommended Article: Habits of Beautiful Women

#7 Discover yourself, your passion and your talents

Knowing that you have something meaningful that can benefit others instills confidence in you and pushes you out there. Don’t allow timidity kill your potentials.

#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 doing what you know how to do best. You are likely to be scared of 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 that should be cultivated by anyone who wants to be more in life.

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 in turn 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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47 thoughts on “How to Stop Being Shy and Becoming Confident”

    1. Hi there, while reading your story, i felt like I am reading my own story. I think i have a great potential. I am not made for cleaning houses, cooking and just spend my whole life being a house wife. I want to do something but i am not cobfident. I am shy.

      But your article is a great lesson.
      Thanks a lot for sharing this thoughts with us.

      1. Thanks a lot for reading. I’m glad you are self-aware enough to know that you’ve got great potentials. I believe you can become all that you dream to be. Courage is doing it afraid. Don’t wait until you feel confident before you utilize your potentials. All the best!

          1. Awww. I’m glad you found it useful. There’s nothing wrong in being an introvert as long as you are utilizing your potentials.

    2. I thought it was really bold of you to share your story. I’m definitely going to use these tips, but it sounds kind of like you have social anxiety. I have it, and your situation fits the condition. There’s not anything wrong with you, I just suggest that you look more into social anxiety. This sounds like a hate comment, but I’m really just trying to help you out. Just think of it like another perspective on what you’re going through. There are so many articles that talk about social anxiety so please just give them a look. I honestly am going to use your tips and your story to help me. Thank you so much.

      1. Hate comment? Oh no! Hahaha. Thank you so much for pointing it out to me. I’ll definitely look into social anxiety. And thanks for reading.

    3. Reading your article is like reading me in real life. Your words are so encouraging and powerful and I really wish you could coach me through my journey of becoming powerful like you

      1. Awww. Powerful? I feel so honoured. I’m not there yet, but I guess we can always learn something from each other. Thank you for your kind words.

    4. Thank you so much for this article,it has really changed my life.A’int normally the type that comments on social media posts for fear of being judged but from today going forward,i’ll always add my input and make my voice be heard. “Courage is doing it afraid.”Cheers to new beggining.

  1. I loved this article. I find myself being timid a lot. Especially lately. But before I once was that woman that’ll post my opinion under any post. But now it’s different. But I am getting back to that woman, as of today! Thank you for this information.

  2. Fantastic article- I felt you were writing about me! I’m in my 40’s now and a bit less timid than I was in my 20’s- but I have a long way to go. I can’t believe tripping while walking is something that is common with shy people- I used to worry about that or tripping when walking up some stairs in front of people. OMG. I really liked your article-I’m pinning so others can learn. I truly hate being timid- it has robbed me of successes in so many areas of my life.

  3. This is so encouraging to hear that I’m not alone. Being shy makes one not achieve so many things in life.
    I hate that I’m too conscious in presenting or even talking Infront of several people.
    Imma step up and change this for me.
    Thanks for taking your time and sharing with us. And thanks for the the tips!!!

  4. This is soo me, Lol, I actually joined the Sunday school department in my fellowship just to overcome timidity, I was scared to teach at first but when I finally started I became bold and few months later I became the coordinator of the department. I also opted for GNS presentations just to overcome shyness and to the Glory of God I’m gradually walking out of my shell. Thanks so much for this Mabel.

  5. This post resonates with me. Although I have been able to tackle timidity by engaging in most of the activities you mentioned, I am still a work in progress.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you for this powerful and insightful topic, i for one have been a victim of tumidity,partly due to nature and nurture and i have come to realize that if we do not make strides to be who we want to be and how we want to be, it will determine who we are entirely. I am still struggling with the monstrous disease but i am still battling it with all i have. It can be done and associating with people that bring out the best in you and and being open as much as possible to a variety of view points to enable you confront people and interact freely

  7. Thank you. This has given me confidence that I can actually increase my confidence.
    Exercise is also something that I feel a lot of people don’t talk about but can help increase anyone’s confidence drastically. I first observed it in my friend who was really shy but started working out with the goal of become a fitness coach. When I met her a few months later, she seemed way more confident than I was(wasnt the case before).
    I was really inspired so I started some 10 minutes workout routine. I have not been very consistent but I have seen a difference in the way I now relate with people. I now plan to read the book you have recommended. Thanks a lot!

  8. Quite useful article and I can relate to things you said here as I’m no different from you.
    At present, I’m not so shy to talk as compared to teenage but sometimes I don’t get the words to express my inner feelings that I wanna say. And initiating the talk is still difficult. Although I started to pen down my thoughts to improve writing skills but still the outcomes are not satisfactory.
    But I’m not gonna stop until I’m done with it.

    I would definitely read Joyce Meyer’s ,” The Confident Woman” , hope it’s in my budget.
    Keep posting such works and articles, these definitely inspire to keep up and share one’s thoughts.

    1. Awww. Thank you, Aastha. I’m glad you’re making progress. Just like you, I rarely initiate conversations, more because I love my space and I’d rather observe than talk. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy.

      It’s okay to enjoy being an introvert and still be confident. You can still be yourself, just a better version of you.

      Yes, the book is affordable. Lol.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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