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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    How Can I Overcome My Shyness and Develop Self-Confidence?

    Dear eNotAlone: I'm a 25 year old female and I've been struggling with shyness for as long as I can remember. Whenever I'm in social situations, I just don't know what to say or do, so I end up silently standing in the corner feeling anxious and awkward. I don't think it's fair – I want to be able to express myself and get out of my shell, but it almost feels impossible at times. I'm not even sure if I'm capable of change, so I'd love some advice on how to overcome my shyness once and for all, and become confident in social settings.

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    There's no doubt that overcoming shyness and developing confidence can be difficult undertaking, but it is also completely achievable. The first step towards becoming more self-assured is understanding where your shyness comes from. Ask yourself: why am I feeling so anxious in social settings? What negative beliefs am I carrying around with me? Are these beliefs true or based on assumptions?

    Notice where you stand in the room when you are in a social setting. Are you to the side or in the front? Many times, the most comfortable places can become the places of danger. Move to different areas of the room and observe the situation from different perspectives. The more you can do to stop self-judgment, the better.

    Connection is also an important part of being confident in social settings. Although this may feel difficult at first, try to get to know people where you are. It doesn't have to be deep conversations, but merely start initiating small talk. Questions such as "How did you learn about the event?" or "Do you live around here?" can be great conversation starters. After each conversation, give yourself a pat on the back and make sure to remind yourself anyone can talk to anyone - not just the loudest people in the room.

    One of the most powerful ways to turn shyness into confidence is through practice. Challenging yourself serves as a positive way to build inner strength and self-trust. You can start by attending events and making sure to introduce yourself to at least one person. Or, you can take it one step further by joining a public speaking class or group. Just keep in mind that it will take time and you may feel uncomfortable in the process. That's ok! Trust yourself and start to act with courage - often, discomfort can lead to success. Changing deeply rooted behaviors can be difficult. But don't forget that you are capable of more than you may think. With patience and consistency, you can conquer your shyness and overcome any fears that are holding you back.

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