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Combatting Shyness Hollywood Style

Aug 18, 2007
Shyness is quite prevalent in our world today. Most people experience shyness to some degree in their daily
interaction with the people around them. Perhaps you find yourself hesitating to reply when a new acquaintance is being introduced to you - that is shyness. Or maybe a long-lost friend calls you up again after so many years, yet you discover that you are not so eager to renew ties with him - that too is shyness. People who are naturally shy often say they want to fight this habit. The good news is that you can successfully combat shyness in yourself.

The degree of shyness we experience may range from simple insecurity to the debilitating tendency to avoid social contact with others. But when does shyness begin to be developed in us?

Causes of shyness:

For some people, shyness may be an inborn trait, sometimes passed down from parent to child. Others may become shy in childhood because an adult in his family (perhaps a parent or an older sibling) acted in a domineering way over him. The shy person then tends to avoid interacting with his peers because he fears being made to feel weak (which was how he felt in the presence of that domineering adult.)

We all have this driving need to be loved and appreciated, from the time we were children to our adult years. A person whose basic need for approval as a child was rebuffed many times over may develop a fear of seeking that approval, which may carry over into his adult years. So you wind up becoming an adult who shies away from contact with other people because you are afraid you will get the same response that you usually did before.

Make no mistake, all adults would like to be the center of attention - but a shy person fights against his drive to get approval from other people due to the fear that he will be rejected again.

Donny Osmond - a shy person?

You would not believe it, but former child star and well-known showbiz personality Donny Osmond was diagnosed about four years ago with social anxiety disorder. This disorder causes the patient to irrationally dread performing or being in a social situation - not the best condition to have if you make a living by performing in front of screaming crowds. Donny related in a July 2007 interview that there were occasions when he had to perform, even though he would have preferred dying to going out before an expectant crowd.

Donny traces his social anxiety to the demands that showbiz exacts from child stars to be perfect both on camera and in their personal lives. Such perfectionism is demanded from him even now that he is an adult. No one can survive that kind of pressure without caving in somehow because no one is perfect.

Donny has a therapist, Jerilyn Ross, who noted that Donny came down with the condition because he wanted to please the people around him by trying to be perfect in every performance.

How Donny copes:

Donny is effective in combatting shyness stemming from social anxiety disorder by following mental exercises that Ross taught him. For example, when Donny feels butterflies in his stomach, Ross teaches him to visualize the butterflies to be fluttering around in a certain formation. This helps Donny to lighten up before a performance so that even when he is not at his best, he does not crumple because of his fear.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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