Why Shy People Are Afraid To Wear Cool Clothes
Do You Avoid Wearing Nicer Looking Clothes Because You Worry About What Other People Will Think Of You?
Some shy people have this problem: You may tend to wear the most plain looking clothes, even stupid looking clothes. You feel ashamed, anxious and shy to wear clothes that you have been said to look good in.
Basically, you run away from positive attention as much as from negative attention. But then you also regret it when people of the opposite sex ignore you when you dress like a loser. Or when other people look at you skeptically, probably mocking your dress sense.
Why Do You Do This?
It all comes down to social value or status, and what you believe your social value is. It’s where you think you “fit” in the social ladder.
See, you have an identity in your mind that you have developed over time and become attached to. That identity is based on what you think other people think of you. Acting outside of that identity is hard to do. It’s the main reason why shy people feel “held back” from expressing themselves fully.
If you think other people think you’re a loser when you wear stupid clothes, then wearing cool clothes will make you feel like a fraud. It won’t feel natural, for a reason that goes back to the days people lived in caves.
Acting outside of the identity you have of yourself activates the same part of the brain that physical pain does. This is a survival mechanism. Back when humans just needed to survive, it wasn’t a good idea for everyone to be high social value. There had to be a few key leaders to keep tribes running smoothly, and they needed to be securely in power. It wouldn’t do the whole tribe any good if every week some new guy came along and thought he could be the leader.
If you are shy, then you tend to act based on what you’ve been conditioned to do in the past, not what you are actually capable of. You are afraid to act too confident or dress clothes that look too good because of invisible constraints you put on yourself from the past.
You are not who you think you are. You are not who other people think you are. You are who you think other people think you are.
How Does This Work?
Imagine a popular, macho guy. It makes sense to think he would be uncomfortable walking down the street in clothes that weren’t cool, like a pink dress.
But many people are confused that the same applies for people who try to dress above their status. Like if an unpopular guy suddenly got an attractive shirt that made him stand out. He’s been conditioned that he has low social value, so the shirt makes him feel like he’s going against what other people really think of him.
How Psychological Conditioning Works
This type of conditioning doesn't just happen to shy people. I'll give you an example...
When an elephant is young and weak, an animal trainer ties its leg to a short wooden stake in the ground.
In the beginning, the young elephant tries to escape. It struggles against the rope that holds it in place. For several days, the rope keeps rubbing the same spot on the elephant’s leg. The rope finally wears through the elephant’s tough outer skin, and cuts into the elephant’s soft pink flesh. The pain is excruciating. It’s the worst thing the animal has ever felt.
The elephant soon learns that pulling and struggling against the rope will only bring him pain, so he doesn’t struggle anymore.
The elephant grows to be a 12,000 pound monster-sized animal. It could physically crush the animal trainer like a small bug. But it doesn’t.
The animal trainer still keeps it tied up. To the same short wooden stake. If the elephant tried, it could snap the wooden stake in half by simply shifting its weight. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t think it can break free of the stake because of the early experiences it had trying to break free. It thinks the outcome will be pain, instead of freedom.
Elephants are really not that different from shy people in this way.
How Can I Get Rid Of This Feeling?
The good news is, you aren’t an elephant and you aren’t a caveman. (I hope) It is possible to get rid of your insecurity over time, simply because you are aware of it now.
The bad news is that there’s no “magic button”. I can’t make you suddenly feel comfortable wearing cool clothes. The only way to do it is to change how you think about social interaction at a fundamental level. The only way to make yourself comfortable is to change your identity.Then the clothes will feel “right”, and uncool clothes will make you uncomfortable.
You have to change what you think other people think of you. Now, I know you can’t change what other people think of you. You can’t control their thoughts. But you can change what you think they think.
This is related to building self-confidence, which I’ll write more about in the future. At first you may think you’re fooling yourself, then slowly you will find yourself actually becoming a cool person for real.
Won’t People Notice If I Change?
Maybe some of your close friends will, but they’ll get used to it.
The key is to change gradually, but still push your comfort zone.
Your identity formed over many years of conditioning. It isn't going to change overnight. But what you can do is change it over a short period of time. Buy a few new shirts that you feel a little uncomfortable wearing, and start wearing them as much as possible until you get used to it. Then buy a couple more pieces of clothing and get used to them. Throw out some of your old clothes. Keep doing this and challenging yourself to wear the types of clothes you want to without worrying about what people think. Eventually you will have gotten rid of most of the clothes you didn't like and now feel comfortable wearing clothes that make you feel good.
Don’t think you can do that? That’s your identity talking. Don’t worry. I’m working on more posts, so check back to this blog often. I’m also working on a book aimed to completely change you from a shy person to an outgoing person.
The Big Picture
- Your feelings come from how you think other people perceive you. The key is to change your thoughts, not other people’s.
- A guy or girl who thinks they are low status won’t want to go against this identity they have decided on. Going against it activates the same part of the brain that physical pain does. It’s a survival mechanism.
- The only cure is to change how you think other people perceive you.
Yours in Social Success,
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