I work with lots of people that blush in social circumstances and meet lots of people that are incredibly shy and wish to overcome it and behave differently in social circumstances… The BBC are reporting that shyness is on the verge of being an official illness and some schools of thought believe that certain anti-depressant drugs are the cure… What?! What?! What?!

Ok, this is unbelievable and typical of how we as a society are choosing to deal with things that are relatively simple to overcome. By classing it as an illness, labelling it, giving a prescription ‘cure’ is simply going to make things worse in my opinion. I am going to make a statement that is going to agitate some people, upset others and may make me appear insensitive… Ready for it?…

I think if you are shy you have some major audacity.

How audacious! Being shy? You have some front! (Takes tongue out of cheek…)

To worry about what others think in social circumstances… I mean, can’t you get on with thinking your own thoughts without having to think for everyone else you encounter too?!

Let me run you through a scenario here… Someone who blushes sees a work colleague that they are vaguely familiar with in the supermarket and attempts to avoid eye contact, worried about blushing (they are worried that the other person is going to see them blush) — but then the colleague spots that person, shouts a hello, gets the attention, and that someone goes and blushes… They notice they are getting hot and red in the face and notice the other person noticing and it makes them more red and hot and embarrassed, the other person is considerate and attempts to be kind and comfortable which is unusual behaviour and triggers more discomfort… All because the our blusher is worrying like crazy about the other persons thoughts about them!

This is extreme audacity.

What an accomplishment though. What a clever thing to do, eh? If you sat down with someone and said “Ok, make your heart race, push all the blood to the surface of your skin, increase your heart rate” It is unlikely that they will do so. Yet, a few triggers switching in their brain and they send themselves into an incredible state of worry, insular thoughts of insecurity, and you act in a way that inhibits you and is likely to influence the thoughts of others far more than if you were not being shy.

It is funny isn’t it? Often a shy person actually stands out more than people who are not… The quiet ones with little to say, or who are embarassed to say it are noted for being that way.

Ok, shy people, what do you think is going to happen? Is everyone going to gather around, laugh at you and pick holes in every aspect of who you are every time you speak? If so, then stop hanging around with such people. Lets be honest, they are not going to do that, are they?  We cannot be immune to every eventuality because usual interaction and life is going to create some moments which may be uneasy, again though, learning how to overcome and move onwards is better than suppressing such learnings and experiences with drugs!

Now then, I am going to stop with the brashness. I empathise greatly with those that for whatever reason are shy or have social anxiety of any kind, it can be debilitating, but you know what, labelling it ‘an illness’ and prescribing drugs is making more of it and authenticating it… With the right help, with the right mode of understanding how to use your mind to help you feel safe in your own skin and being able to step out of that shell bravely and to be the fullest possible expression of yourself as you want to be is far, far easier than people realise.

It is tougher than taking a tablet, agreed. But wouldn’t you rather know your own mind properly? Wouldn’t you rather know how to use it for good rather than the seeming forces of evil that are embarassment, unnecessary social anxiety and shyness? Isn’t that better than numbing it with drugs? That is just like sweeping it under the carpet… Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, NLP, Modern Hypnotherapy, even conventional psychology all offer solutions than are going to do a shy person much more good in my opinion.

If I seemed a little unsympathetic today, that is because I am. I am not insensitive, heck, I am a therapist: Sympathy, drugs, authenticating shyness as an ‘official illness is not what is needed. The real help comes in the form of knowing how to feel self-assured in any environment and that comes in many other more constructive ways…

Have a read of this BBC article that sparked me off today, let me know your thoughts, I know I am going to be tuning in to the radio show mentioned too.