“I’m very shy and it is sometimes quite frustrating for me. At times I struggle with making friends and participating in various activities. Would you please give me some advice on how to overcome my shyness? Thanks!”
I’m quite sensitive about this topic because just like you, I’m also an introvert by nature. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to overcome my shyness; however, there are still days when the thought of doing something outgoing, like giving a speech in front of a large audience or confronting an uncomfortable situation, makes me queasy. I rely on God to help me through these difficult times! Here are a few tips to help you conquer your shyness:
- Ask The Holy Spirit to help you. Jesus left The Holy Spirit behind to help Christians live successful lives. He lives within you and wants to guide you in the right direction. All you have to do is ask Him for help and He WILL help you. Remember, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- Love yourself! The happier that you are with yourself, the less you’ll worry about what others think of you. When you’re no longer preoccupied with how your peers perceive you, it’ll probably become easier for you to overcome your shyness. Your perception of yourself should be formed by your obedience to God, your respect for your parents, and your own self love. Believe it or not, the more that you love yourself, the more that you’ll draw people who love and value you into your life. They’ll see your shining light and be drawn to you like a magnet!
- Renew your thinking. I teach this very powerful spiritual principle to the young people who I work with every day: You become the person that you believe that you’re supposed to be! The Bible says it this way “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). When you believe that you’re capable of doing extroverted things, then you’re more likely to actually do them! That’s why I’ve eliminated the word “can’t” from my vocabulary and have replaced it with the phrase, “With God’s help I can… .” I encourage you to try the same thing.
- Make gradual changes. Decide what you think needs fine-tuning and then commit yourself to making gradual changes in those areas. The key here is to set realistic goals that are slightly challenging but not overwhelming. For example, if your ultimate goal is to make more friends, maybe you could try a few mini goals in between. Perhaps start by making it a goal to strike up a conversation with one or two new people per day. Then try exchanging numbers with someone. When you feel comfortable, you could eventually invite a peer over after school or agree to meet him/her somewhere over the weekend. Before you know it, you’ll have a brand new friend.
- Build your confidence! Do something every day to help build your confidence. Whether it’s doing an activity that you’re good at and praising yourself for it or reading an inspirational piece of writing aloud daily to remind yourself how great you are, make sure that you do something every single day. The more confident that you are, the less that you’ll allow your shyness to restrict you.
Shyness is a hard thing to overcome, but it can be done. I’m a living testament to that!