Shy people are often seen as misfits or outcasts by people who are not socially inept. You hear comments about such shy, insecure people as the following:
“Why is she so strange? She never talks to anyone.”
“He never talks to anyone. Does he think he is better than everyone else?”
“I think he is crazy/has a mental disorder.”
“I wouldn’t want to hang around with her, she is weird.”
“She is such a loner, no wonder she doesn’t have any friends.”
In many cases, it is exactly this type of ostracizing which causes some people to be shy. Fear of reprimand or failure can also lead to an individual withdrawing from society. They know that if they make a mistake or fail in some way, they will feel less about themselves, and they believe others will too.
Growing up in an environment of fear can cause children to wind up as shy, insecure adults. Either one or both parents or the premier caregiver is overly hard on the child. Without a loving environment that supports learning from failure, and growing up in one that constantly browbeats and belittles a child, a person can wind up with an extreme level of shyness, and even self-hatred.
Shyness May Be a Chemical Thing
The awkward, apprehensive feelings which are hallmarks of shyness can also arise from chemical imbalances. Premature childbirth, improper prenatal development, low birth weight, mercury poisoning and hereditary influences can all predispose a person to be shy and withdrawn from the minute they are born.
If a child moves frequently during the social developmental stages of youth, this can lead to low self-esteem. They find it hard to develop lasting friendships, and give up on social interaction altogether. Another frequent cause of shyness results from a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Usually referred to as PTSD, this mental disorder develops after a traumatic event. Some people simply can’t “move on” and heal after severe trauma. A single such occurrence in a person’s life may have such a powerfully negative mental and emotional effect that the person prefers loneliness to what are perceived as dangers in building relationships and interacting with others.
It is important to remember that in most cases, there are strong underlying reasons for a person being shy and insecure. Counseling is a first line of defense, as is creating a loving environment of support filled with positive reinforcement and encouragement.
Common Worries of Shy or Insecure People
The benefits of socializing are significant. Social engagement has been proven to strengthen the human immune system. This means that your natural ability to fight infection and disease is strengthened when you spend time with other people. Those that socialize frequently enjoy better mental health and less incidence rates of cancer, diabetes and other problematic health conditions.
Those are a few very good reasons it is so important to fight through feelings of shyness or insecurity.
Insecure individuals are often concerned about what other people think. They don’t realize that in most situations, most of the time, their behavior and actions are not even recognized. They are worried about looking foolish or thought of as a failure, when no one else is really paying that much attention.
Even when others do see you fail, you should not feel insecure. Surround yourself with those supportive individuals and loved ones that care about you. This can keep you from the frequent worry and insecurity that shy people are known for.
Other common worries of shy people are simply not correct. Sometimes an introverted, insecure person suffers from a cognitive distortion. Their view of reality is incorrect, based on a neurological disorder. Other shy people worry that they were born unlikable or exceptionally flawed.
Some are so concerned about their social interactions that they become “mind readers”. They believe they can read the minds of the people they are interacting with, seeing themselves as unapproachable, unlikable and awkward through the eyes of others.
Some are simply so concerned with rejection or lack of approval that they prefer to spend their time on their own. The fear of being ostracized or rejected is so strong that a shy person prefers the sadness of loneliness.
Insecure individuals may also believe that any social mistake will have incredibly negative and harmful consequences. It is important to seek help if you have these feelings. They are usually far from correct, and they can damage your self-esteem. You begin to feel responsible for outcomes that you have no control over, and you miss out on the incredible physical and mental rewards of socializing.
Counseling can help. Simply talking about your problem to friends and family members you trust and respect can also help you overcome shyness. If your insecurity and shy nature are inherited, which is sometimes the case, medications can help you become a more social individual.