Do you believe what you have to say is important?
Do you constantly replay conversations and situations in your head that didn't go right? Thinking,...there must be something wrong with me?
Do you think that very few people like you?
I've recently started to realize, that buried inside me, back when I couldn't look women in the eye very well, and I use to wonder if many people liked me, was the thought, "Oh sh*t, there is something wrong with me!!!" I mean, fundamentally wrong with me. I'm not like everyone else. Everyone can have fun and not worry about what they say, but I can't be like that. That was a very destructive pattern of thinking for me.
First off,....don't believe that there is anything fundamentally wrong with you!! No one is "flawed". Again, I don't know how bad your shyness is or whether you've believed this in the past. But for anyone out there who has believed this, or does believe it, I can't tell you how much crap this belief cost me. It's the main reason why I wanted to do something and help others, thus this website. But you might be thinking to yourself now,..."sure there's something wrong with me! I can't talk to women, I don't have many friends, etc". Those are external challenges. Who you are on the inside, your core beliefs, values, morals,...the essence of who you are,....there is nothing wrong with that. There is a massive difference between believing there is something wrong with you as a person vs wanting to know what to talk about with women for example. Those are two totally different things.
Here's an analogy to illustrate:
As a "shy person" (whatever that may mean to you), imagine yourself as a Toyota Camry (for those outside the US, this is a very reliable, and very well respected car that is sold here). It is dependable, reliable. Above all, it works!!! There is nothing "wrong with it". It runs fine, and it is a smooth ride. A conservative car.
Now as a nonshy person, imagine yourself as a Lexus, or a BMW. Again, it runs, it works, there is nothing fundamentally "wrong with it". It's a little faster, people can percieve it in a slightly different way than a Camry. It is more "outgoing" if you will. It takes more chances. Perhaps, you take more "risks" in this kind of car vs the Camry. It isn't as conservative.
As a shy person, I would have thought of myself as a broken down car that hardly ever started. And I thought of an outgoing person as a Ferrari. A huge gap between the two.
But there is no reason for that at all! For me at least, the difference wasn't that great between shy and "nonshy". Your morals, your values, the things you believe in, the core of who you are (i.e. your "engine") runs fine. With some fine tuning on the outside (i.e. more eye contact with people, speaking my mind more, being less afraid of rejection, improving a few beliefs, etc), I got the exterior of a Lexus or BMW.
That's what this whole guide is about. Not to "fix you"
but to add some enhancements to who you already are.
Society rewards outgoing people more. You can be outgoing, loud, the life of the party and also be a dishonest person, someone with no ethics, etc,...yet you're "ok". Yeah, you're dishonest and stuff, but there is nothing wrong with you. You don't need "treatment" at some clinic for that. Yet, if you're shy, or in my case, very very shy, then there is something "wrong with you". I like Yahoo alot, but they list shyness under "diseases and conditions". Is shyness in the same category as a real disease, something life threatning like AIDS or cancer? Hell no!!!! Yet I did start to wonder at one time,....maybe there is something really wrong with me.
I fell into a very destructive pattern of thinking. Such as, "why don't any girls like me? Will I ever meet someone I like? Why don't people like me?" Very damaging thoughts.
A shy person is NOT some broken down car that doesn't run at all. THAT IS COMPLETE NONSENSE. Don't believe it for a second.
To say I see the world differently now is an understatement. I realize that it's not about what you look like. I knew one guy in highschool who was probably 5'7 320 lbs, but he still hung around women, and wasn't shy at all. He had a positive attitude. I've also known women who were very outgoing, but they weren't exactly hotties. But they were allowed to have fun and be outgoing.
It also isn't about where you work or how much money you have. I knew poor people who were more outgoing. Intelligence wasn't a factor. Some smart people are outgoing. Some smart people aren't. So, what is it exactly? All the outgoing people, who were out having fun, meeting new people had a certain way of carrying themselves. They weren't afraid to be who they really were and be judged. They weren't afraid if someone didn't like them.
This leads into my second major point:
"How you think of yourself determines how others perceive you."
There is nothing else that matters as much as what you think about yourself. Don't let others tell you otherwise. Other people by the way DON'T think about all the shy people they've met and make a big deal about it. They just go on with their life. Meeting a shy person will get the same reaction as meeting someone super outgoing. "Oh, ok, he's a shy guy". No, different than "Wow, she was so outgoing and talkative". But people don't endlessly analyze the conversations they had with you and pick apart the thing you did "wrong". They are too busy thinking about their own lives and their own situations. When I realized doing something "wrong" or saying something "wrong" wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it was, my life suddenly got better. Everyone else made mistakes, so why shouldn't I be allowed to? I didn't believe this concept at first. It took a while to sink in. I was almost positive that others were thinking about what I was doing "wrong". Most people don't even remember the conversations they had last week. A very smart and confident guy I know, who's really on top of his game repeats some of the things he's said to me before. I see this alot. If outgoing people can't remember everything they said to you, they aren't going to remember some "mistake" you made 2 weeks ago. People think about alot of things. Money, family, career, spending quality time with their kids, raising their kids, worrying about personal problems. Worrying about what others said ISN'T on their list of things to do.
I had a friend who was shy and had low self esteem and I could see that in the way she talked about herself. For example, when she mentioned hanging out sometime, she said,.."we can hang out, well, as often as you can put up with seeing me." And it wasn't said in a joking manner. Jeez, do you think that would influence how others perceive her? Having to "put up with seeing her"; do you think that she thinks highly of herself? You bet that kind of attitude will influence how others perceive her. It influenced how I perceived her!
Self deprecating remarks have their place, but really be conscious of the message you send out to others.
Contrast that with another friend of mine who has very high self esteem and isn't shy at all. When I first met her, and she gave me her phone number, she noted that "only special people get my private home phone number" (it was said in a half joking manner). And if she got dumped by a boyfriend for example, her motto was, "oh well, it's his loss." What a contrast in how you view yourself! She achieved this great balance so it didn't come across as total arrogance, but it wasn't so low as to seem like she had real shyness and self confidence problems. Your attitude towards life in general is everything.
Don't Discount your successes
It was easy for me to forget about any successes I had and focus solely on what I was doing wrong. I could make a very small mistake, like I had not made enough eye contact with someone, and blow it way out of proportion. In the mean time, I would discount and almost forget about any successes I had, like striking up a conversation with someone new, or having a girl give me her phone number after chatting on the internet.
Things started to get better for me when I switched things around. I started focusing alot more on my successes and small victories rather than dwelling too much in my problems.
I kept a written journal of what I was doing right. I listed the situation and how I had improved. No matter how small it may seem to you, count it.
By writing it down, whenever I felt bad and started doubting myself, I could remind myself of the successes I had. It was a really important reminder for me. Yep, I looked at them alot. For example, if I started to doubt whether women liked me, I could remind myself, hey,...you talked to women on the internet. They gave me their phone numbers. They don't give their phone numbers out to just any old guy, do they? Of course not. Women I talk to in real life give me good eye contact and laugh at my jokes. I hung out with a girl awhile ago at Starbucks, that went well, etc. When you think negatively, You can make things 10x worse in your mind that what really happened in reality.
For example, if I had a new social event to go to, I might automatically think the worst, "uh oh, I don't have much experience with this. I bet I screw up, I bet others will think I'm shy. Should I really go?"
But by looking at past situations that I had done well in, I could remind myself that, "hey, I've met other people before in my life. And I've done it with confidence." Then I thought about the body language and eye contact that is needed when meeting others. Yep, I could do that. And if I was really unsure of things, I could always think of things to talk about before hand with people. There's nothing wrong with that.
Trust me, if all you do is make great eye contact when meeting someone else for the first time with a nice sincere smile on your face, they won't think of you as some super shy person.
Look at a baseball analogy. When you think of the names, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, what do you automatically think of? Homeruns. Yet these guys also strike out when they get up to bat. What if they focused on all the times they strike out? Or all the times they made a bad play in the outfield? You think that would chip away at their confidence. You bet. You have to get up to bat to be successful. Even the best of players strike out occasionally. It took me a while to really see the importance of this.
In addition, I found that making yourself happy instead of constantly trying to seek approval from others is the best thing to do. There is nothing wrong with being nice, but set boundaries for yourself.
I use to think if I had an arguement with someone, man, that would mean they wouldn't like me as much. But in fact, the opposite occurs. By stating your boundaries, by standing up for yourself, by making your voice heard, by believing that what you have to say is important, people will like you and be friendly with you more.
When you stop trying to impress others so much, I realized that you can concentrate more on what you want to do. Consequently by doing things YOU want to do, it'll give you something to talk about with confidence. This is a very, very important point. You're going to be asked these same three
personal questions by alot of people:
What do you do for fun?
What do you do for a living?
What do you want to do in the future (in terms of career for example)?
You need to know how to answer these. It doesn't matter what job you have. Whether you work at McDonalds or wherever, don't let your job or personal circumstances dictate who you can talk to. It's how you say it that's important. One outgoing friend of mine has been unemployed for a while. But she says it in an upbeat way!! "Yeah, I've been looking for work for a while". And she just goes on about her day and doesn't let it bother her. It all comes back to, "how you think of yourself determines how others percieve you". And how you carry yourself.
I developed different hobbies and interests and this helped deal with problem of thinking I was "boring". The enthusiasm shows in my voice when I talk about something I like doing. If others can talk about what they like, why can't I?