“Each time we face a fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” - Unknown
When I was a teen and young adult, I was plagued with shyness. I was so shy that I wouldn’t speak to anyone. When I did, I would usually end up stuttering, which would mortify me. This would only make me retreat even more. I didn’t want to give in to this handicap. I wanted to grow and be all that God wanted me to be.
One day, a minister said to me, “In order to overcome some of that fear and shyness, Janet, you need to go around to people in the congregation, stick out your hand, and say hello.” So I did! It was so very hard at first, but became easier with time. Even now, there are times I get nervous and the words just don’t come out right and I begin to stutter.
The advice that my minister gave me years ago taught me that I needed to get my mind off of me and onto others. Maybe that is the major key, getting mind off self and onto others.
Here are some steps that helped me in overcoming shyness.
1. Ask God for help.
Hebrews 13:6 Hebrews 13:6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.
American King James Version×emphasizes the help and strength God provides: “So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
2. Never, ever, ever compare yourself to others!
What do you call someone who wants to be “exactly” like someone else? Answer: A poser or copycat! You are unique and special! God loves variety; that is why all of us are unique, even down to our fingerprints. Marilyn Monroe once said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” God doesn’t want carbon copies. He wants a unique you! Be thankful for who you are!
3. Start being concerned for others.
Giving to others takes your mind off yourself and gives you joy. There are others who need encouragement out of their shyness. By showing you care gives them more confidence to do the same.
4. Limit your social media as a form of contact.
This can be a crutch that you lean on. Push yourself to have more face-to-face contact with others.
5. Get in that boxing ring to win!
Imagine yourself in a boxing ring. With each blow, you are knocking out your opponents, your enemies, that weigh you down every day. Your enemies are fear, lack of confidence, being rejected, being made fun of. Now replace those feelings with a you who is filled with confidence in who God has made and who has so much to offer in this life!
It will take time to overcome shyness, and many times you may find yourself slipping back into it as I do, but get right back in that ring and start knocking out those opponents.
The more you give of yourself, the more you talk to God about your feelings, and ask Him for help, the more you realize how special and unique you are, the easier it will be to overcome shyness. Practice makes perfect!