If you consider yourself shy, you probably grew up believing that your shyness was a weakness. Years of reinforcement may have taught you that you are shy, and that being shy is a bad thing. But it is so important for your growth and happiness that you begin to see your shyness as strength.
I consider myself to be shy, and I have definitely viewed it as weakness for most of my life. I’ve only thought about shyness in terms of what I’ve experienced. I’ve been called shy when I was nervous about giving a speech, when I’ve blushed when spoken to, and when I haven’t said much in a group of people. To me, being shy meant that I was afraid to talk, so I started thinking that I am a fearful person.
A fresh understanding of what it means to be shy
Until recently, I didn’t really think about what being shy really means and how it affects me. Being shy does mean that I am reserved. It does not mean that I am always afraid around people. Being shy does mean that I am reluctant to share my feelings. It does not mean that I am always feeling lonely or isolated. Being shy does mean that I am extremely self-aware. It does not mean that I am always self-conscious.
In addition, shyness is just one aspect of my personality, and it is not the primary quality I possess. I am not just a shy person. Being shy does not have to hold me back. I can choose to nurture the parts that I love about being shy, and I can choose to improve upon the parts I don’t love.
Like any personality trait, shyness has its upsides and downsides. These upsides and downsides are really just tendencies of shy people. First, the upsides of shyness are the strengths that shy people tend to have, especially if developed and nurtured. Second, the downsides of shyness are the weaknesses or struggles that shy people tend to have, especially if left unchecked.
Seeing shyness as strength
I really want to focus in on the strengths of shyness since these are less obvious and often hard for the shy person to see or believe. It can be easy for shy people to be too critical of themselves, so it’s our weaknesses that are glaringly obvious to us. Oftentimes, we can believe that we are self-conscious or lonely more easily than believe we are courageous or humble. Here is what I want you to know: there are qualities that naturally become strengths for the shy that tend to be struggles for those who don’t consider themselves shy!
Here are 6 strengths that I’ve found to follow shyness:
- Strong listening skills
Self-awareness. People who are shy tend to be very self-aware, because they are comfortable being alone and evaluating themselves. We are constantly aware of our presence in the room and how we are affecting others. This is often not the case for non-shy people. Where shy people tend to feel insecure around people, non-shy people often feel uncomfortable and insecure when they are alone!
Sensitivity. Shyness comes with sensitivity, because we are very aware of not only ourselves, but our surroundings. We notice other people, their body language, and their portrayed feelings. This causes us to have strong intuition and ability to read people. This also means that we tend to feel with great intensity.
Compassion. Because we are aware of others and sensitive to their feelings and needs, we naturally become kind and compassionate. For the shy, empathy is second-nature. We know all too well how certain situations make us feel, so we are able to empathize easily when others are experiencing something difficult.
Strong listening skills. Our shyness doesn’t mean we don’t want to be around people. We have strong desires to connect with people on deep levels and this causes us to really take interest in others. It is easier for the shy to listen well, because they genuinely care about what the person is saying.
Humility. Shyness also often comes with humility. Yes, shy people have a tendency to become insecure or overly self-conscious, causing them to have false humility. By false humility, I mean that they think too little of themselves. But, if the shy person is taking good mental care of themselves, they are able to be truly humble. The shy person is self-aware, so she has an accurate and balanced picture of herself. Bragging or boasting is not something you will find the shy person doing.
Tact. Shyness causes us to be slow-to-speak. We aren’t as able to say what we’re thinking, and that’s a good thing! When we do speak, we have thought through what we are going to say so we can say it well. We aren’t people of many words, so when we do speak, others listen! Shy people are reluctant to join certain types of conversations, but that can be healthy and a strength!
Now that you know some of the benefits of a shy personality, you can begin to view shyness as strength. If you are shy, find confidence in the fact that you have qualities that are really unique and sought-after. If you don’t consider yourself shy, I hope you can begin to see shy people for what they really are: self-aware, sensitive, compassionate, great listeners, humble, and tactful. These are the type of people you want in your life, your workplace, and your circle of friends.
Renewing our minds to the truth about shyness
Now that you know some of the strengths that you have, probably BECAUSE you are shy, you need to renew your mind so you can truly believe it! When you are thinking negatively about yourself, try replacing those thoughts with the truth. You may have to do this a hundred times a day, but I assure you that it will become less and less often if you can make this your habit.
If you consider yourself shy, how have you viewed this as a negative? What has helped you see your shyness as strength?
If you aren’t shy, how has this helped you better understand and appreciate those in your life who are?
Share with us in the comments below!