SORTTing Out Shyness

 I just posted this response on Quora, here:

Why am I so nervous, shy and self conscious in public – and how do I overcome them?

As a life coach and counselor for more than 20 years, I can tell you that there are many forms of process work which can help you answer your question and help you overcome your shy, nervous self-consciousness.

For example, in my work with clients I facilitate a process I call SORTTing It Out. The process shows how feelings like shyness or nervousness are, like a grumbling stomach, just symptoms pointing to underlying core values that are hungry to be fed. Care well for the core values, and the emotions resolve themselves.

Here are examples of what I mean:

For some clients, shyness and nervousness rises when they unconsciously want to be liked, appreciated, valued, and cherished. When we empower the client to better care for those needs, the shy, nervousness self-consciousness is replaced with simple requests, confidence, ease and natural radiance.

For some clients, shyness and nervousness comes from a body that learned as a child that groups of people are “unsafe”. This is especially true with clients who experienced ridicule or judgment as children. Resolve the childhood traumas, and the body finds its own infinite safety, and nervousness and shyness disappear.

In other words, to resolve shyness, care for the core values triggering the shyness and nervousness, or find a coach or wellness practitioner who can help you to do so.

Here are a few questions and resources to help you get started:

1. Imagine that the shy nervous aspect of you is another person. Have a conversation with it. What is it nervous about? What is it afraid of? What does it most deeply want that it’s not sure it’ll get, that makes it shy? Make a list of the answers.

2. Whatever list of answers you get from number 1, notice the underlying core values that the voices are trying to feed. For example, if one line is, “I’m scared I’m not good enough,” ask yourself, “what underlying need or value would be fed if I trust that I am good enough?” Maybe you will discover that you’d want to be good enough so that you will be loved. Or maybe you will discover that you want to be good enough so that you will be included and wanted. At some level, we all need to be loved, included, and wanted. Notice that there is an innocent desire underneath every scared, nervous voice.

3. Give yourself empathy for the underlying core values, or find someone who can. Exhale the feeling of scared, or nervous, and inhale how much you just want to be loved and wanted (or whatever the core value happens to be). With loving appreciation, just notice the underlying desire. Like a loving friend, just sit with the yearning and breathe deeply.

4. Notice the ways your body shifts. Notice how just getting a little empathy helps you feel better. Maybe you even felt a little bit of relief from the empathy just in these words. When you start to feel better, that’s proof that your psychology is getting some of the empathic care that it needs.

5. Once you are fully connected to the underlying core values, ask yourself, “what request can I make of myself or others to feed this need right here, right now, in 10 minutes or less?” Take action to feed your need right now. For example, if you discover that you feel shy because you want to be appreciated, what request could you make of yourself or others right now to feel appreciated? Maybe you will make a list of three things you appreciate about yourself. Maybe you will ask three friends to tell you something they appreciate about you. If you don’t know what to ask for, ask other people what they ask for, “What requests do you make when you want to feel appreciated?”

6. As you get more and more powerful at both self-empathy and making requests to care for your underlying needs, you won’t keep getting so shy or nervous or self-conscious. Eventually, you may even discover that the very needs themselves, well cared for this way, begin to simply evaporate. Doing the practice well, over time, we discover and reconnect to the infinite beings that we must truly are. We connect to our Highest Selves.

7. For more help with this practice, you can sign up (free) for 27 Tips For Sanity, at , get invitations to discount practice groups, or call the number there to receive coaching support.

Good luck with your practice! You can do it!

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