“I know this sounds strange, but as a kid, I was really shy. Painfully shy. The turning point was freshman year when I was the biggest geek alive. No one, I mean no one, even talked to me.” ~Jim Carrey

Do you find yourself sort of hiding from people? Do you wish you could be more outgoing, but you feel painfully restricted by your own mind? Do you consider yourself an introvert? Or maybe just shy?

Being shy can be a major problem and sadly, it can be one of the reasons that you don’t live up to your potential and live out your dreams. Shyness is a mix of social anxiety and social phobia and that can hinder you from spreading your wings. However, the good news is that there are proven ways to overcome being so shy and start gaining the confidence you need to live up to your potential.

How to Stop Being Shy

Overcoming shyness will take work, and you will have to have the drive to do so. However, with drive and effort, it can be done.

1. Engage With Others

This idea is likely quite anxiety-inducing for you but the only way to start getting over the hump of shyness is to engage with others. The way to start is by making small talk. Ask others how they are doing. Listen to them and if they don’t want to engage, don’t take it personally. They may be dealing with something that is difficult and doesn’t want to engage. You can also just talk about the weather, or your favorite snack, or anything that others would have in common.

2. Join A Group

Another thing to try is to join a group or a club. You will want to join groups and clubs that are relevant to your interest. If you have an interest in stamp collecting, for instance, join a club or a group that is relevant to stamp collecting. At least you will mingle with others who share the same interests which would make it somewhat easier for you to engage. Check out meetup.com for groups close to you.

3. It Is Okay To Show Your Vulnerability

Are you afraid of being judged? That is one of the contributors to shyness and the only way to combat this is to make yourself vulnerable. Now, the thing is, you don’t want to join a group and throw yourself in there. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with those who you know and trust. Eventually, you will be more at ease with doing so which will help you expand your social circle.

4. Practice Showing Confidence

Walk and stand up tall, and make good eye contact when you are talking to others. Make sure your voice is projected clearly and be bold and effective with it as well. If you do that, then you will appear confident. This is one of those situations where you have to fake it until you make it.

5. Always Be Mindful

Be aware of your thoughts and feelings you have when you are around others. If you find yourself cowering or looking away as you talk to others, just know this is the one thing you need to overcome. And be mindful so you can show confidence.

If you are consistent with following these tips, you will be able to overcome shyness in no time. You can do it.