Excessive shyness

Amal Chatterjee
9 min readDec 21, 2017


Source : google photo

Synopsis: Excessive shyness is a human frailty that inhibits the development of the personality so the blog discusses how to beat timidity and shed the shyness in order to achieve the full potential of a person.

I used to think that excessive shyness in some people is due to some inferiority complex that many suffer from and become very shy to open up in public. It affects both sexes to a great extent and results in the development of an introvert person who otherwise could have been a great speaker, writer or a leader.

This shyness is not apparent at first during the childhood because the child is innocent and does not have any complex, inferior or superior at first but that can change due to the environment in which the child grows up. There are families that encourage the child to speak up but in others the child is reprimanded if he speaks up and out of turn so it all depends on how the parents encourage or discourage a child to speak up.

If you visit a rural community in most countries, you will encounter children and adults who are not afraid to speak up and use the saltiest language to do so. Your ears will turn red if you hear how the farmers use vulgar language daily that has a direct effect on children who tend to mimic their parents or grandparents.

In some communities, cursing and using foul language is discouraged citing Biblical references all the time so those who need to vent their anger or frustrations using foul language can only say oh my gosh or holy cow etc. because thou shalt not take thy Lord’s name in vain injunctions are mentioned at every turn.

Rural children who by nature are not shy openly talk of rutting because they see the barn animals copulating so they accept it as something natural. Teen age girls are often seen to help animals copulate and will talk a mile a minute if you get them to open up on such topics. They grow up precocious and tend to be very practical just about everything just like their parents or grandparents.

In some communities like that of the Amish people, children grow up with a strong sense of belonging to the community where they are expected to help in doing routine farm chores for their families and also for others when needed. You will find such children with robust health because they work hard in their farms and eat simple but healthy food. The hard work builds their muscles and the company they keep builds their salty language as well. So rural folks in most countries are considered poorly educated and with coarse manners with salty language that sets those apart from the city folks who tend to have more education and restrained manners and language in the middle class..

This background is necessary to understand how some people become outspoken and others remain shy all their lives.

This shyness is not inherent in a child at first but he learns to be shy because he is not encouraged to speak out whenever he wants. The social etiquettes that the upper class practices and takes enormous pride in can restrict a child because the parents will not allow him to freely express himself. It does not have to be only the speech but it can also have restrictions on how he behaves. However, learning restraint is not a bad thing if it helps a person become disciplined and well mannered.

As kids we were not allowed to take anything from unknown or even known people unless the parents gave a nod. We listened when parents spoke at dinner time or any other time never interrupting them and were not allowed to call any elder person by his or her name due to the respect their age demanded. This is more Confucian than anything else and is widely practiced in many countries.

But in the Western culture a child can call his parents by their first name or call his grandfather John. He can answer back often very impolitely to his parents or elders because there are no social restraints to do so. The American missionaries made fun of our children in Haiti because they called old people uncle or grandpa in the Haitian tradition. In their culture such respect to old people is seldom given so people act accordingly.

While the cultures vary from country to country and even among diverse ethnic groups within the country, good social behavior is a learned experience that is strongly rooted in the values people hold dear. This is learned first at home where parents play a very important role in teaching the kids good values and good behavior thus laying the foundation of the personality the child will develop later.

Now people will argue about what constitute good values and good behavior and will ridicule values and behavior that is submissive, respectful and courteous that is found in other countries just because they do not practice them and value their own culture above others. But the same people praised our children for their good behavior, courteous and respectful attitude and compared their own children who were just the opposite.

When a child is encouraged to speak but only with deference and not out of turn then he learns to pick up good social values and etiquettes that then become a part of his personality later. It sets him apart from the rural child who is vulgar and uncouth in his language and social behavior.

When the child is ready to go to school, his teachers now assume the role of parents and teach him what it means to be honest, truthful and well-disciplined sometimes through punishment and at other times with encouragement so that the child learns to be not shy in expressing his views.

So a person can shed his shyness if given proper encouragement at home or in school. If parents encourage the child to participate in speaking contest and prepare him on the subject then it can have a tremendous positive effect on the child. If he can face a crowd and speak on a subject extemporaneously with a fluency in his language, he succeeds in overcoming his shyness and never looks back. This is a very necessary skill in a child to develop leadership.

It helps him increase his self-confidence and his debating skills that can come in handy later in life when he takes a leadership role in college or in his office. The parents and the teachers all can play a very important role in developing the personality of the child by encouraging the child to participate in debates, speaking contest, science contest and many other events the schools organize from time to time. It does not hurt to say “ I am proud of you “ once in a while to the child and give him or her a token of your appreciation.

A child who grows up alone and unappreciated because of the poor environment he lives in can become a loner, shy and an introvert who does not open up and say what he feels . He grows up afraid and shy. It can also have a very negative effect on the child in the sense that he can become a person with built up anger and repressed feelings that can lead him on to become a social deviant.

Many deviants then take out their repressed anger on others and lash out indiscriminately like in the case of the Korean kid in Virginia Tech who killed scores of people. He was a loner and felt the anger so took it out on others in this tragic manner.

I wrote a blog called The child is a sapling that is perhaps worth a look regarding this subject.

Now I come to the part on how to shed the shyness and become a happy person with an all-round personality as an adult. This has to do with the environment where the child grows up.

His parents, his teachers, his classmates, his neighbors, his friends and playmates all play a role in the development of a child. The parents probably play the most crucial role but the father and the mother both must agree on what to teach the kid, how to teach and when to stop a destructive behavior in a child. If they do not agree with each other on how to raise their child then the child is confused and does not know to whom he must listen.

The unity in any family comes from shared beliefs which have a direct effect on the child. The kids who come from broken families suffer the most that has its own social consequences.

The families that are poor and are struggling to meet their daily needs tend to have loose social and moral values because their priority is survival first. But the poverty as such is not the necessary evil one must face. I have lived in Africa where the rural people are dirt poor depending on risky rain fed farming but raise good and decent kids just the same. In their rural communities they look after each other just like the Amish people in the United States but in cities, there are no such communities that help each other.

So to develop a strong and good personality, a child needs his community support as much as his home support. If he gets to play with other children in his community then he does not become a loner and can shed his shyness.

I think a child needs to develop self-confidence first in order to shed his shyness. So how does a child develop self-confidence? It can come from the encouragement of his parents who give him certain responsibilities that he is then expected to fulfill. You will see this in rural communities where a child may be asked to get up at 4 am to feed the cows or milk them or collect the maple sap or do numerous other chores that can help develop his self-confidence.

In cities where most people live now a days, a child can be given certain household chores that he is expected to learn to do. I know that I learned to be responsible because I was asked to buy most of the household needs every month and accounted for every penny spent. This also developed my self-confidence because my parents trusted me with money and I never let them down. I learned to trust my judgment which my parents never questioned.

All these things help make a child self-confident and in the process he sheds his shyness because he learns to deal with people all the time. A sheltered child never gets to learn to develop his own personality and can remain shy and an introvert.

One thing that can help a child shed his shyness is when he learns a foreign language and learns to speak it well. A multi lingual child sets himself apart from others from the very start and becomes a smart person because of this ability. This ability can come from teachers or private lessons and books that can help make a person a reader in that language. The development of reading habit early on is a sure way of getting a lot of knowledge from different sources and makes a person knowledgeable and smart.

A smart and knowledgeable person brimming in self-confidence develops a strong and good personality who is never shy.

So if you have a child who is shy and reticent, then you can help him (when I say he, I mean he or she) by encouraging to read, by giving him responsibilities , encourage him to participate in speaking contests, science project contests or debate but mostly by supporting him in doing what he likes most to do. Such a child will never be shy and will develop the foundation to become a leader someday.

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