Some people may ask themselves, “Why am I so shy?” This question might pop up in the mind of a person who has avoided a social gathering for the hundredth time. A person who has run away from a crowd of people may wonder the same thing. An artist who refuses to go on stage might wonder the same thing while he or she stares in the mirror. Every day, millions of people ask themselves, “Why am I so shy?” Shyness is a common problem, and no one who suffers with shyness should feel alone or isolated.
Shyness is an uncomfortable feeling that occurs within some people in the world. It occurs for a wide variety of reasons, and it usually begins at some time during childhood. Certain circumstances can cause shyness to occur later in life. Currently, approximately 40 percent of the people in the world suffer from some level of shyness. Shyness can be mildly unsettling, or it can be so severe that a person will not leave his or her home to engage in conversation or social activities with other people. Shyness could be a character flaw, or it could be a full-blown mental disease.
How Does Shyness Develop?
Shyness develops in some children during their young childhood stages. Children who spend a great deal of time attached to their parents may grow up to develop shyness. Parents who do not spend a great deal of time participating in social events may contribute to their growing children’s shyness. Shyness can also develop as a symptom of child neglect or abuse. Such is not always the case, but children who suffer with emotional or verbal abuse from their parents are more likely to develop shyness than other children are.
Shyness can occur in a child who has a shy parent. The parent does not mean to spread the condition to the child, but the child sees his or her mother avoiding people. Children learn most of their behaviors from their parents, so some cases develop in this manner.
Parents who have cold and unaffectionate demeanors can cause their children to become shy. Every child needs love, attention and affection. A child that grows up without such things will avoid people. Even when such a person does interact with other people, he or she will most likely have a distant and cold demeanor.
Shyness can occur in a teen who is a victim of bullying. Bullies often say words and take actions that harm the victim’s psyche. Such a person may call another child ugly, fat, stupid and so forth. There is an old saying that states that when a person hears something enough times, he or she will start to believe it. A bullied person may come to believe the things that a bully tells him or her. This person may feel unworthy of other people’s friendship and fraternization.
Shyness can develop within a person because of a single embarrassing or humiliating incident. It can occur because of a series of such incidents, as well. For example, a person who slips and falls in front of his or her peers may become traumatized if everyone laughs. The individual may remember that humiliating incident for the rest of his or her life, and it can cause crippling shyness. The level of shyness that develops because of such an incident depends greatly on the person’s sensitivity level. Some people are more fragile than other people are.
Shyness manifests in certain mental disorders, as well, and specialists may refer to it as anxiety, social anxiety or social phobia. Shyness that stems from mental illness is more severe than the average case of shyness is. A person who suffers with anxiety may never leave his or her home because of the crippling fear of judgment and ridicule from other people. Such a person may live his or her life as a recluse or hermit. He or she may also work a job that allows complete solitude.
Persons with depressive disorders may appear to be shy. Depression often causes people to become introverted during the episode. An introverted person does not participate in social activities, and such a person may prefer not to talk on the phone or communicate with people via email.
Symptoms of Shyness
Many symptoms occur in people who suffer with shyness. One of the most common symptoms of shyness is avoidance. Such people will walk the other direction when they see groups of people approaching. Shy people will make excuses to get out of school events, holiday gatherings or work parties. Shy people may back out of dates a few days after they arrange them. Additionally, shy people are extremely quiet. Such people may manage to exist without anyone ever hearing their existence. When they speak, people often have to ask them to repeat themselves, and their voices may become lower each time they repeat a sentence. Lack of eye contact is another symptom that a shy person may exhibit. Shy people are often afraid to connect with other people’s souls.
The physical symptoms of shyness include symptoms such as trembling, sweating, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, nausea, blushing, muscle tightness, and an extreme urge to flee a scene. Some shy people may also become irritated if someone forces them into a situation that makes them uncomfortable.
A shy person has a multitude of psychological symptoms. Embarrassment and worry often plague a shy person. A shy person may constantly have fearful thoughts about situations that may occur if he or she engages in social activities. A shy person may suffer from depression because of the way the shyness prevents him or her from doing normal things.
Helping Shy People or Helping Yourself
A person should always take steps to help another person who may be asking, “Why am I so shy?” Shyness has deep roots. Therefore, the first step in recovering from such is speaking with a specialist. Counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists can help a shy person to gain self-esteem and confidence. The road to recovery may be slow. It could take years to get to the root of the problem.
Once the person discovers the root, then the specialist can come up with a viable cure. Most specialists will want to take the behavioral therapy route, because the person needs thought reprogramming to fix the issue. Fear is something that a therapist can help a person to overcome by training that person to develop coping mechanisms. One example of a technique that a specialist may use is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a procedure that places a person in an uncomfortable position until he or she becomes desensitized.
Persons who have shyness because of mental illness may need medications to balance the chemicals in their brains. Chemical imbalance is a popular theory for anxiety disorders. Scientists have proven that some medications such as benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may relieve symptoms of anxiety and social anxiety. With a supportive doctor and the right medications, a shy person can develop the stability and the strength that he or she needs to live a normal life. The person can go on to live a happy life, and he or she may even become the life of the party.