Being Shy Is Just A Bad Habit And You Can Break It With Regular Practice

Being Shy Is Just A Bad Habit And You Can Break It With Regular Practice

Most shy people wish they were more confident, because shyness is ultimately a symptom of you being uncomfortable with who you are. You judge yourself based on other people’s standards and spend too much time in your own head, thinking of how best to act and react in any given situation. This is nothing more than a bad habit, and it’s the sort of thing you can break with regular practice.

Image: Kevin Poh.

I was a loud, confident kid when I was young. Then I transferred schools after year six and was one of a few people who didn’t know anybody. After a few failed attempts to make friends, I became shy. It was easier to just be quiet and avoid everyone than risk rejection. That shyness took only a few weeks to develop and it stuck with me for years. Author James Victore believes it’s really nothing more than a bad habit:

Most of us are so afraid of failing that we don’t even risk it. And what’s worse, risk and rejection become something to avoid at all costs. A habit is formed. We close doors that may lead to opportunities and stop putting ourselves out there for other people to respond to. This fear of rejection is normal. Everyone shies away and has moments, or extended moments, of self-doubt. But the fear is also a test, it means you are onto something and you should pay attention to it and not shy away.

That fear is a good way to detect opportunities, but it can be easy to think we’re too shy to make good use of them and find an excuse to avoid them. Like with any bad habit, you’re not going to turn your diffidence into confidence in a couple of hours. Breaking a bad habit just involves forming a better one in its place, so make an effort every day to do something you’d otherwise avoid because you feel shy.

Try simple things, and then when those big opportunities come along and strike you with fear you won’t worry so much about the results. If you practice thinking just the right amount, rather than analysing every possible outcome, that’ll be your new habit. Just get outside of your head and be present in the moment every day. You’ll have far less trouble next time you need to summon some confidence because you won’t be thinking about it.

Op-Ed: Confidence vs Shyness [The 99 Percent]


  • No, YOUR shyness is ultimately a symptom of YOU being uncomfortable with who YOU are.

    My shyness is altogether different.

    Perhaps if you judged yourself based on other people’s standards a little more, and spent more time thinking of how best to act, you wouldn’t have come across in such a judgmental and inconsiderate manner.

    Hopefully you can break the habit, with a little practice.

  • I call BS on this, its not always just a bad habit. Sometimes its just about who you are as a person.

    “shyness is ultimately a symptom of you being uncomfortable with who you are” – total BS – just because our western society values outspokenness and overt confidence does not mean shyness is a weakness.

    So sick of western society always defining ‘different’ as ‘wrong’.

    • there is a big difference between shyness and being quiet. Someone who is shy finds it difficult to talk to people and when they do may feel overtly uncomfortable, while someone who just likes being quiet has no problem with talking to people they just don’t talk often. pull your head in Ben.

      • I know the difference between being quiet and being shy (thanks for telling me how to suck eggs) I’m writing from experience here. When I write I’m “sick of western society always defining ‘different’ as ‘wrong’”, what I mean is I’m sick of being told there is something wrong with me just because I’m different.

        • i think what they are saying here is that overcoming a fear is a good thing, not changing your personality to more closely match the ideal social model.
          you are confusing shy with quiet or introverted. When they refer to shy in this article, they refer to the inability to interact with other people due directly to a fear of rejection. This has nothing to do with being someone who prefers to be quiet or places little value of the opinions of others when it comes to self image.

          Human interaction is a pivotal part of any society, and not being able to interact with others due to a fear of rejection is most definitely something that people should want to work on as part of the lifelong journey of improving oneself

          • Again I know the difference between shy and introverted . You show your bias with that last paragraph instead of expecting us to change and adapt to society how about acepting us and allow us the freedom to interact or not our own terms.

          • Society excepts that you are quiet, however this article is letting people who have anxiety issues know that they can change it, that they do not have to be afraid of social situations.

            you however can remain as quiet as you want, no one cares whether you are a loner.

  • I wouldn’t say shyness is completely about being uncomfortable about being who you are, but it is very much related to a fear of rejection when you put yourself out there. unlike those who have commented already, I do agree with the main premise of the article. I used to be very shy and then I read the book ‘the game’. I don’t believe in its talk about picking up girls, but I can credit it for making me say one day ‘stuff it I am starting uni I don’t care how uncomfortable it is, I am going to put myself out there and meet everyone’. I used to be shy. Now I have turned my life around all by choice.

  • I think this is wrong, but I’m too shy to say so. I only talk to people if I’m forced to by circumstance – at work, if I don’t directly work with someone (especially women), I’ll likely never speak to them. Twitter has been been good in this regard. I have ‘spoken’ to women that I would never talk to in person. Do I think this is good? No. However, you work with what you have.

  • There was an interesting article on introverts and extroverts in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 12th May. It was pointing out that introversion has been labelled as a problem, when it isn’t. It’s just that extroversion is currently favoured in western culture. Shyness may indicate a problem sometimes, but if someone doesn’t talk to you, are they shy or just quiet? I would go so far as to suggest that people who can’t shut up and can’t stand being alone and use others to bolster their self-esteem might well be the ones who are more uncomfortable with who they are. Introverts unite! (In separate rooms of course! :-)).

  • Agreed. By saying it is the person’s fault, rather the experiences the persons had or just who they are, you are victim blaming, in a sense. I’m not saying being shy makes you a victim, but, to some people, it feels that way. And saying things like this on the Internet, where anyone can read and perceive as they wish, someone is going to BLAME themselves for this. Luckily, I’ve trained myself to call out people’s bullshit throughout my life, because ive been shy since I started talking.

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