Shyness is a personality trait that is present in our society today and affects many people around the world. Who hasn’t had classmates at school who stayed quieter, didn’t participate in conversations, or blushed when asked questions in class?
However, it does not usually receive the attention that other difficulties or behavioral problems that are reflected in more disruptive behaviors or that in any way hinder the normal development of the classroom.
To better understand shyness, it is worth distinguishing between two types. On the one hand, there is the occasional or temporary shyness that we have all experienced in a given situation. On the other hand, there is persistent – and sometimes disabling – shyness, which often causes discomfort in everyday situations and can lead to difficulties in overall development. Then we say that a person is shy.
This shyness affects and influences their emotional state, social relationships, personal growth and professional future. And far from the popular belief that it is a temporary behavior, it can have a significant impact on people’s lives.
Were you born or did you become shy?
In order to provide the appropriate tools and strategies to address their needs, contribute to their all-round development, and improve the quality of life of shy people, it is important to understand what happens in the mind of a shy person.
An important question is the origin: Is the shy person born shy or does he become shy? There is some controversy between different researchers. Some of them associate their origin exclusively with genetic factors, others relate to environmental factors, but the idea most represented in the research community is that both factors, genetic and environmental, influence their appearance and development.
Can it be treated?
But what can we do to help shy people overcome their difficulties? Logically, the two most relevant contexts are the family and the school. Therefore, teachers and families are responsible for providing them with the appropriate tools and strategies to combat this behavior.
Below are some options that may help prevent or resolve this behavior:
- Promote social relationships. This is a crucial point in the development of shyness. To achieve this, it is necessary that shy people have a role model from a young age to learn from and regularly find themselves in spaces where they have the opportunity to interact with other people. For example, team sports activities can help.
- Promote positive self-esteem. Low self-esteem is one of the aspects associated with shy people. By taking care of it and strengthening it, one can create more security in the person, accept and love oneself.
- Take care of emotional states. It is necessary to teach them from an early age to recognize, express and understand feelings and emotions. Good emotional competence helps to cope with various situations in life.
- Avoid attaching labels. Usually there is a custom of labeling people after observing certain behaviors. Labeling a person as shy can affect their behavior and beliefs, thereby reinforcing shy behavior.
- Creating a climate of trust can help shy people to actively participate in classes, meetings, or situations of various kinds. Some aspects that are associated with shyness are the fear of speaking in public, the fear of making a fool of themselves or the fear of negative evaluation, which is why they avoid all social interaction. For this reason, teachers must provide them with tools that will enable them to function successfully in such situations and create an environment in which they feel comfortable.
- Work on communication. Providing them with strategies for starting a conversation, expressing an opinion, or speaking in public can help them gain some confidence in the situations they fear most.
- Sign up for theater. There are studies that recognize that theater can help improve the social development of shy people, they take on a role, face different situations and train for real life.
These are some of the strategies that can help shy people overcome various difficulties that they usually face in their daily life. It is a first step towards understanding this personality trait and its visibility in society.
Until now, only shy people knew the extent of their suffering in certain situations and aspects. Today, shyness is considered a predictor of social phobia, loneliness or depression, among other disorders of psychological origin.
Therefore, it is necessary to make visible shyness in our society and its possible impact on people’s lives in order to raise awareness among families, teachers and society in general. This is the only way we can respond to their needs from home and in educational centers and improve the quality of life of shy people.