Living in a world that seems to value extroverts more than introverts, many introverts struggle with confidence and grow up feeling like there’s something wrong with them.
Fortunately, once they come across the concept of introversion, as well as resources like Introvert Spring, they tend to accept their quiet nature. They become confident about who they are and get on with being introverted.
But for some introverts, the confidence issues run a little deeper. Some introverts are both introverted and shy.
The difference between shyness and introversion
Before we get into the hows of building confidence as a shy introvert, it’s important to set the record straight about the difference between introversion and shyness. While one person can be both shy and introverted, the two labels are often confused. Most introverts are not shy. The defining characteristic of a shy person is that they fear social interaction. What makes someone an introvert is that they lose energy from social interactions.
How do you build confidence as a shy introvert?
Step 1: Distinguish between your shyness and your introversion
If you’re a shy introvert and your lack of confidence is making you unhappy, your shyness is what you want to change, not your introversion. If it’s holding you back, your shyness is a challenge you’re facing, whereas your introversion is part of your personality and not something you should try to change.
Step 2: Decide to become confident
While lots of people struggle with confidence, most of us don’t make a concerted effort to build ours. Decide that becoming confident is a priority for you and realize that building confidence will require you to step outside of your comfort zone.
Step 3: Challenge yourself
Set yourself mini confidence challenges that push you to get used to doing things that you find scary. For example, you could set yourself the challenge of asking your colleague how her weekend was when you would normally just smile at her.
However, be sure to only push yourself when it’s shyness that’s holding you back. Don’t push yourself to socialize if what’s stopping you from wanting to socialize is your introversion. Ask yourself, “am I avoiding this situation because I’m scared or because I’d have a nicer time on my own?”
Step 4: Get to know yourself
In order to like yourself, you have to first know who “you” is. And while you probably know who you are on the surface, how well do you know yourself deep down? Do you understand your motivations, desires, and beliefs?
Getting to know ourselves can be a lot of fun for introverts, as it can be a solitary activity. Journaling and answering self-discovery questions.
Step 5: Find out why it’s good to be the way you are
Once you have a better understanding of who you are, you need to learn to appreciate that person. One way to do this is to work out why your personality traits and flaws suit you. Why are you glad that you have those particular traits?
You’re probably more focused on the perceived downsides to being an introvert, so find out why it’s good to be an introvert. Does being an introvert make you a better friend? Is your introversion linked to your creativity? There is usually a positive and a negative side to any personality trait, so look for the positive ones.
Being an introvert in an extroverted world can be hard enough without being struggling with shyness, too. But it is very possible to become a confident introvert. And as you accept your introversion, as well as the other parts of yourself, the confidence will come and your shyness will subside. You will become a confident introvert.
Battling her British social awkwardness, Joanna L K Moore (Jo) runs Twisted Sleeve, where she helps shy girls get the confidence they need to do whatever they dream of doing. If you struggle with confidence, check out her course, DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself, which will teach you how to build self-esteem.