The toughest part to overcoming social anxiety and shyness is that we are the ones usually getting in our own way of progress by judging ourselves and others, by being idealistic, by not taking action because we don’t feel good enough yet. It is an uphill battle of fear and self-doubt.
We are afraid.
Afraid to fail, of judgment, or to take action or to rock the boat, it is a vicious cycle leading nowhere.
You probably have high standards and maybe you have been let down by them. The truth is that real progress must happen based in reality, which is imperfect.
Take some realistic and encouraging steps towards confidence.
This simple perspective can dramatically shift your day. This does not mean to have low expectations, it just means to get closer to the ground so you can be honest, join others, and allow for mistakes to learn and expand. Small actions, based in the here and now, builds confidence.
Be kinder to yourself and take action towards becoming more compassionate and aware with your relationships and situations until it becomes a part of your life. You will build up foundations to your authentic and creative self.
Here are 25 ways to reframe your perspective and take meaningful actions towards progress. You owe it to yourself to overcome shyness and social anxiety and never underestimate your ability. You will surprise yourself when you replace negative thoughts with positive and imperfect action.
By applying any of these steps, you will get more out of your day, I promise.
- Prioritize and balance your health, home, routine, work, and joy. Start off on the right track first thing in the morning. I recommend Hal Higdon’s Miracle Morning to get your daily cup of confidence first thing in the morning.
- Reduce CATS. That’s caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar (not the cute cuddly creatures). These cloud your thinking and increase stress and anxiety and by limiting them, you will gain control over your health, how you feel, and how you react with a bonus of not being derailed from progress.
- Lie to Yourself. Incorporate positive body language. I’d recommend Presence by Amy Cuddy. Her research and first hand experience suggests that your mind will follow your body, so stand confident like a starfish and nudge yourself to confident.
- See perfection in imperfection. Don’t point out the one flaw in a beautiful piece of art. Life is imperfect and there is a beauty in that. You are good enough now. Run to enjoy the view instead of to ‘catch up’.
- Don’t dilute your value or numb yourself. When did becoming sensitive become a bad thing? When you can sense other people’s emotions without them even saying a word, that is a special gift. Allow yourself to feel and be vulnerable.
- Feel entitled to a full life and stay curious about the world. Get out of autopilot and be your creative self. You are entitled to live authentically because you are here. I recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s soul-enriching and hysterical book Big Magic on this topic.
- Learn more about yourself through expression. Maybe you have learned to hold back for fear of being judged but by finding a simple form of expression, you will discover you are more interesting than you think.
- Be flexible to change, to people, and things outside your control. Learn to let go of the things you cannot control and give yourself breathing room for increased resilience when bad things happen, there is power and joy in that space.
- Connect mindfully and spiritually. Jumping from task to task can be draining, fill your well and find your compass through nature, God, and inner peace. Focus only on the task at hand in the here and now with no judgments.
- Pray, breathe, pause, and take 10 minutes daily to meditate. Another way to find spirituality, space and peace is to start meditating and praying every day, this is also a great part of the morning routine.
- Visualize and relentlessly pursue your dreams. Instead of visualizing the end result, visualize the steps you will take to get to that end result and see yourself enjoying these experiences. This is where the real magic happens.
- Find meaningful work and establish motivation discipline. Treat each new day as an opportunity. By starting small and seeing yourself succeed, you will see the glorious potential you have at your fingertips.
- Journal your fears and skills. Many of us try to hide fear and that only makes it worse, so give it room to breathe, let it sit in the passenger seat, but don’t hand over the wheel. Also, list your positive traits and accomplishments on a consistent basis.
- Become more compassionate to those in need. This will bring confidence and help someone. You don’t have to change the world, you can help just a single person or animal.
- Frequently and intentionally go off autopilot to do something different. Take a Ferriss Bueller day and do something out of the ordinary for you.
- Sweat it out with a workout program to reduce daily stress. Daily exercise is so rewarding, I don’t have to tell you. Additionally, if you see an exercise goal through, that confidence gained can be applied to other goals.
- Establish boundaries and find your ‘no’. Don’t do things to please others. This takes grit. Know what you stand for and respect yourself first, which will decrease your fears and anxieties.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Stop judgment in its tracks. Let go of caring what others think of you and start to challenge your comfort zone in small ways and build upon it. Action is where you will gain strength.
- Be courageous and see fear as an opportunity towards a better life. After you challenge your comfort zone, take it a step further and challenge your fears and follow your heart. You might surprise yourself and the world will start to open up.
- Fail fast and accept failing as part of the process. Every skill requires much effort and failure. Embrace this fact. Fail socially, that is the only way you will improve. “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” — Mary Tyler Moore
- Look to the classics for rich inspiration to refuel the tank. This will give you more to talk about, directly or indirectly, and the consistency of a simple task like this can boost your confidence and build enrichment in your life.
- Take action and invite joy. Become a person that makes decisions and you will naturally become your confident, happy self. Don’t wait for permission, pave your own authentic path and see where it leads you.
- Get a friend and start a weekly social hour. Seek out the opinion of others and broaden your perspective. Be sure to listen to other people and give them the spotlight to build genuine connections. You become like the people you hang out with so you owe yourself to be selective.
- Be rational with your expectations and accountable to them. Don’t expect the worst or give yourself impossible tasks. Break down problems into simple and tangible steps and take decisive action. Complete a fun to do list of five things instead of zero out of a daunting 20 to build up integrity.
- Be grateful no matter what, everyday is a new day. This will bring true and everlasting confidence in yourself and in your life.
All of these points really boil down to two things: creative compassion and gritty awareness.
Be aware of your choices and be more compassionate with yourself and others by being a creative person. Life is real and colorful. Prioritize your time to find balance, accept yourself and others with colorful flaws. Be resilient to things outside your control and present-minded and spiritual for real confidence.
Give your inner artist room for expression and sensitivity (creativity) and wait to react. Be entitled and curious, enjoying meaningful and creative work, visualizing yourself enjoying the steps you will take, and positively nudging yourself, celebrating accomplishments along the way.
Enjoy something different without wondering what others think of you. Challenge your comfort zone (grit), embrace failure and fear, and use positive words and body language (all grit). Establish realistic expectations and boundaries and hold yourself accountable, surrounded by positive people who respect your boundaries.
When you stop judging and are kind, you will see how much kinder the world becomes. Implement these practices to overcome shyness and anxiety and become confident, creative, gritty, and entitled.
-Photos from www.Unsplash.com
Rachel Bourne is the creator of an upcoming website Sassy Samurai — dedicated to providing Social Anxiety and Shyness Support for You to build confidence and strength. Just check out the site to sign up for notification when we go live (and for free stuff!)
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen