Shyness and Social Anxiety Are Not a Choice

Shyness and Social Anxiety Are Not a Choice

You see a poisonous snake coming toward you. It has a deadly look in its eyes. What do you feel?

You feel fear. Intense, shaking fear that rattles through your whole body.

Suddenly there’s a man standing at the opposite end of the room. He yells at you: “Don’t worry! This type of snake doesn’t bite!” Do you feel any different?

After all, the man does give you more information. So there are now two conflicting parts of your brain. One feels fear. The other tries to logically convince the first part not to feel fear.

This is a lot like how shyness works.

First, What Is Shyness Exactly?

I know it’s a stupid question, but this is key.

Many shy people get confused into thinking shyness is something it’s not. When they are young, someone may tell them, “You’re shy.”  This assumes that shyness is a trait of a person. It’s something they are born with or have developed over time to become a part of them, like their hair. Or like being athletic or overweight or hairy. But the scary truth is, shyness isn’t a trait.

Think about it: Are you shy all the time? Even when you’re by yourself? Are you equally shy when you’re talking to someone new as when you’re talking to your closest friend?

Shyness is a reaction. It’s a feeling someone gets in response to certain situations. The amount and the type of reaction someone feels depends on the situation. Shyness isn’t something you are, it’s something you feel, sometimes.

So What?

It’s a reaction, and you can’t control the reaction. Just like you can’t control the fear you get when you see a deadly snake coming at you.

And that means you’re not going to cure your shyness by thinking about it logically. But that’s what most shy people try to do.

No amount of saying “It’s no big deal. It’s just a conversation/speech/girl/guy.” is going to stop that intense physical and emotional response you have in social situations.

The response that makes you want to run away and hide because you’re so nervous.

Shyness Isn’t A Choice

Shyness isn’t a choice, it’s actually much closer to fear than anything else. That means the only way to overcome it is to work smarter, not harder.

The problem isn’t to make yourself “feel less shy”, because you can’t make that choice. The real problem usually runs much deeper.

What I’ve come to realize is that it’s a problem of not facing your fears in life, in general.

Wrap Up

What can you learn from what I said above?

There’s something so much bigger at stake here…and overcoming this issue will lead to success in many other areas of your life. Stick with it!

Yours in Social Success,

Sean Cooper