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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Being Shy Affects Your Self-Esteem - Are You Shy?

By Bobby Jonnes

Are you afraid to take a risk? Perhaps you always anticipate the worst and fearing the outcome; you avoid the pain by avoiding the situation altogether. It could be simply fear of the unknown. Sometimes a single bad experience can grow into a habit as you continue to choose to flee or avoid any situation in which you feel uncertain.

Shyness affects your self-esteem.

Many doctors who work with shy people describe them as being self-centered, more preoccupied with what kind of impression they're making to care about anyone but himself or herself. They are so worried about what others will think of them that they are incapable of concern about the welfare of others.

Those plagued by shyness may be seen as less than friendly by others, maybe a bit standoffish, even cold in some circumstances. It's evident that compared to other people, they are not as assertive, due to their quiet nature in some settings. On the whole, they are certainly not viewed as negatively as they might fear. Because they are shy, they are definitely more sensitive to negative feedback than the average person is. They probably even see themselves in a more negative than positive light.

Because of this worry, their thoughts and strengths are limited to a very small circle of people; they are in fact only limited by their own thoughts and emotions. They constantly think that others are slighting them, insulting them, or attacking them in some way.

The shy person can actually handicap themselves with negative thoughts and wind up using their shyness as a crutch and an excuse for not pursuing more social occasions, "I can't handle these kinds of situations because I'm so shy." Of course the more they tell themselves things like this, the harder it becomes to socialize, make friends, and establish relationships, both personal and professional. It becomes a self-defeating behavior.

This kind of self-defeating behavior leads to more and more avoidance of any or all social encounters, until they become frozen in fear and completely unable to function in normal social circumstances. They quite literally lose hope in their own ability to function normally in these circumstances, so they quit trying.

Today's modern technology is aiding and abetting many shy people. Thanks to this technology, there is sometimes no need to interact with other humans at all. Everything from bank ATMs to sending text messages on cell phones enables the shy person to avoid interaction with anything but machines. It's less intimidating to send an email than it is to pick up a telephone and speak to a live person. More and more nowadays, it's unnecessary to deal directly with other people. An example of this avoidance is a movie entitled, "The Net," where a young woman deals with others via only her computer; she even orders a pizza and pays for it over the internet.

The fact that you're reading this article means that either you're shy yourself, or you know someone who is shy and you want to help them. It's important to remember that being shy is not the real you; you're so much more than just shy. You are sensitive, caring, and compassionate; so don't allow yourself to be labeled merely shy. Shyness may be limiting your personal freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to express yourself, but is only a part of who you really are.

Do you want to learn more about how I teach people to cure shyness? I have written a comprehensive guide on shyness.

Download a Report on Shyness here Shyness

Bobby is a psychologist and author.

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