Shy No More

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If you were describing your personality, would ''shy'' be included? If you answered, "Yes," you are not alone. Many people suffer from this anxious feeling. I often hear people say, "That is the way I am," as if they are stuck with shyness the rest of their lives. Fortunately, that is not true. As a Marriage, Family Therapist, I have helped many men, women, and children overcome this limiting, uncomfortable feeling.For example, Penny, a twenty-seven-year-old, attractive blond, felt shy and even embarrassed when she met a man she was attracted to. She felt anxious and concerned that she would say the wrong things about herself. In contrast, when Penny was speaking to men who she was not interested in that way, she felt relaxed and her words flowed normally.The young, intelligent woman also felt shy, as many people do, when she was public speaking. Penny noticed the same uncomfortable feeling when she was at a gathering with a group of women, especially if they knew each other. As a newcomer, Penny felt she was an outsider and too shy to approach other ladies. She was afraid to intrude on their conversations and felt silly, stupid and awkward about butting in. She also felt afraid of their judgment or rejection.James, a thirty-two-year-old engineer, also suffered from this debilitating emotion. He felt self-conscious, insecure and tongue-tied when he met an attractive woman. To avoid this painful feeling, James became a loner, although he yearned for companionship and a loving relationship.Susan, a fifteen-year-old high school student, wanted to be a cheer leader. But, her shyness kept her from even trying out. Michael, a fourteen-year-old athlete, loved basketball but was too shy to join the players in the park or high school team. Both these students were depressed because they felt inhibited and unable to fulfill their dreams.Can you relate to any of the above case studies? If you do, then, you know the emotional pain that comes with shyness. The good news is that this personality trait is curable. Shyness is only another symptom of low self-esteem. I have discovered that it has the same root causes of many other behaviors. Bullies, over-achievers, braggers, and trouble makers also have low self-esteem. We all have similar fears that hurt our self-confidence; we just act them out differently.The key to resolving all these problems is to realize the truth that no matter what people say or do, you are okay, good enough, important, worthy, lovable, attractive, and intelligent. With the HART process I developed, I helped the above clients let go of the opposite, negative decisions that were causing their shyness.For example, Penny's beliefs that she was unimportant, unworthy, and not good enough blocked her from feeling confident in groups. Once she raised her self-esteem, she no longer suffered from debilitating shyness or fear of rejection. In fact, she felt confident and knew what to say. For example, "Excuse me, may I join you?""Helene," she said," I feel so free to be me. I realize now that it was all in my own head. I was rejecting myself so I thought others would, too. Wow! It feels great to be comfortable in groups, public speaking and even talking to attractive men."In summary, shyness is only a symptom of fear-based thoughts that are not reality. The truth is that you are okay, and you can enjoy socializing with confidence. You can strengthen your self-esteem and allow yourself to do the things you desire. You can have the freedom to pursue all your goals and enjoy a healthy social life. It is time to say, "I am shy no more."
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