Shyness is a very common psychological occurrence. Oddly enough, recent studies are pointing out that our society is slowly but surely getting shyer, despite the fact methods of interacting with others are now more available than ever.

Psychologists are giving a lot of attention to the study shyness, as this trait can have significant negative consequences in a person’s life: from lack of meaningful social interactions, to lost career opportunities, to loneliness and isolation.

One of the things that scientists in the field pf psychology have been studying for a few decades is how shyness develops and what makes a person shy. Their conclusions are very important practically, because they set the foundation for effectively overcoming shyness.

The Nature of Shyness

Some research suggests that there is a born predisposition towards shyness that varies from one person to another. This doesn’t mean that some people will automatically become shy because they have this predisposition while the rest will not.

It simply means that under the right environmental conditions, the people with this predisposition are more likely to develop shyness than the people without it. Predispositions just tip the scale slightly; they don’t decide your fate.

The Life Experiences

More than anything else, shyness is developed during our lifetime, and its appearance is triggered by our life experiences. Simply put, due to certain occurrences in their lives, some people ‘learn’ that shyness is an adequate response to social situations.

Don’t expect to find anything dramatic in the past of shy people, something such as major traumas or emotional abuse. Most shy people are ordinary persons that have grown in an environment where too much emphasis was put on pleasing other people and avoiding social mishaps.

Shy people also frequently have other family members that are shy, especially parents. Thus, they develop shyness by subconsciously modeling the attitudes and behaviors of shy people around them at a young age.

Shy Thinking

Shyness may have roots in our nature and our past experiences, but if has a life of its own in the present moment. When a person feels timid, it is not past experiences that make that person feel this way. It is their current thinking.

Nature and nurture have shaped some peoples’ thinking and perceptions in a manner that makes them shy. However, that thinking and those perceptions take place in the here and now, and they feed shyness here and now.

This is actually good news, because if something is happening now in your thinking, you can influence it. You can do something about it.

Unlearning Shyness

Fundamentally, overcoming shyness is a process of unlearning old thinking patterns and replacing them with new ones. A person needs to make a shift toward a more realistic, positive and constructive thinking style, and they will boost their social confidence. As a result, they will feel more comfortable in social situations and be more outgoing.

Right now, disciplines such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies offer a wide range of well-documented tools and techniques to systemically change ones habitual ways of thinking and to overcome shyness.

What a shy person has to do is learn them, apply them consistently and effectively, and they will see results. Shyness is not something you need to live with. You can get over it and you can have a rich, fulfilling social life.

Author's Bio: 

Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. If you enjoyed this article, also learn how to be more outgoing and discover how to overcome shyness from two peak articles on his People Skills Decoded blog.