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How to Stop Worrying

Dealing with Rejection

How to deal with Rejection

Rejection is just a part of life, it happens to all of us at some time. But that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. In fact, getting rejected can be devastating and take time to get over. Whether it is the first time or the 100th time you have been rejected there are a few things you can do (and remember) which may help make that rejection a little easier.

1. Give yourself a moment.

It is unfair to expect yourself to just brush off every rejection just like that. Some rejections will take time so always give yourself a moment. In this time you might wallow, think things over or lie on the bed and stare at the ceiling for a while.

2. Consider that it might just be the other person.

Always consider that the reason for the rejection might be nothing to do with you. Maybe the person was having a bad day and when they would usually say yes to going out for coffee, they were simply not in the mood. This is not so much a rejection rather that the other person had their own issues to sort out.

3. Treat yourself.

If you missed out on a job or someone you like didn’t like you back then do something special for yourself. It doesn’t have to be big, maybe a new DVD or a big bubble bath. Making yourself feel a little better in small simple ways does help to lift your mood.

4. Do something.

After you have taken some time to regroup be careful that you don’t dwell on the rejection longer than needed. Get up and do something. Doing something can take your mind off the rejection and give you a boast in confidence as tasks get completed.

5. Can you learn from it?

In some cases there is an opportunity to learn from the rejection and improve. Make sure you take these opportunities. If you missed out on a job because you miss a required skill, then investigate whether you can gain this skill. Knowing why you were rejected can help you avoid it in the future.

6. A no is better than not knowing.

If you tried asking out someone and they said no. After the rejection sting passes congratulate yourself for trying. It is the easier to not ask anyone out, that way you never get rejected – but you never get a yes either. Sometimes you have to get a few no’s to get to the yes. So don’t give up trying just because you got a no. To step out of your comfort zone and ask someone out is a big achievement and should be recognized as so.

Rejection isn’t easy, even when we have experienced it many times before. Take a moment and consider some of the other points mentioned above. But don’t let one rejection put you off.

What to do when being shy drives you crazy.

Being shy can be a very frustrating experience and you may find times when you are completely lost at what to do. I have this feeling many more times than I wish to remember but over the years have found a couple of tips which have helped. Remember overcoming shyness is something personal, different things will work for different people; my hope is that you get even one idea that will help for you too.

1. A little distraction.

If you are anything like me you will sit there and go over events in your head, each time becoming more frustrated with yourself. Even though you know that this will not help, you can’t help thinking about what went wrong, or what you should have done.
So what can you do? You need to find something else to do, something simple that you enjoy but something that takes your thoughts off shyness.
Things that work for me include:

1. A walk while listening to a podcast. I find just walking, or just listening to music means my mind will wonder back to shyness frustrations. But a podcast that makes me think works well.

2. Hire a DVD – comedy works best.

3. Read. I usually have one book I am reading, getting a hot drink and reading for a hour or so is very relaxing and takes my mind off things.
All three get my mind thinking about something else and help calm and relax me.

TIP: Take time now to think of a few activities that would distract you, because trying to think of something when you are upset and frustrated and be hard and just add to your frustration.

2. A little understanding

Give yourself a break –just like you would anyone else. Think about it, how would you react to someone who was scared to go up and talk to a stranger, keeping in mind that they had very little practice and possibly some bad experience when it came to this. Would you expect them to just do it and magically feel comfortable and confident? I’m guessing not, you would give them a break and understand that trying new things is scary and it takes time to be comfortable. So to start with give yourself a break and stop any negative thoughts in your head.

3. A little reminder

Shyness is something you can reduce and overcome. This isn’t permanent, over time as you gain more experience and try different things your confidence will increase and then one day you will find yourself looking back at how shy you use to be.
To be honest this is doesn’t work as well when you are younger (teens/early 20′s) but as you gain some more experience and look back you can see how far you have come. So even if you still have a little to go, you know it is possible. For those younger shy people, I know it can be hard at times to see overcoming shyness is a real possibility – I remember thinking I would be the exception, that it would never happen for me – but it has, so all I do is say if I could do it, so can anyone.

Helping shy children start school.

A major change like starting school can be a little daunting for most children but if your child is shy it can be extremely overwhelming.  After going through this experience from both sides – as a shy child then the parent of a shy child and after many discussions with other parents I have found these 5 simple things you can do which will help your child settle at school.

1.    Visit the school as much as possible.

Before your child starts school try and visit the school as much as possible.   Show them as much as possible, walk around the school and point out drinking fountains, seats, gardens, toilets, play area, sports fields, and classrooms.  Inside the classroom show them the teacher’s desk, where they will sit, where supplies are kept.   Show them as much as possible so they know the school. Being familiar with the school before they begin will help when they start because it won’t seem so big and overwhelming.  Often schools have scheduled visits, so contact them and attend as many as possible with your child.

2.    Talk with the teacher.

All first year teachers should be use to children who are a little unsure and need help settling in so talk with them.   First, it lets the teacher know that your child may take some time to settle in.  Second, the teacher may have some ideas on what can help your child.  I have heard one teacher who encourages the parent to stay with the class for the first day and then over the week stay a little less until the child is comfortable.  Another suggests that for those children that are overwhelmed it’s best to begin with half days before tackling a full day.    Remember to keep communicating with the teacher once your child is more comfortable.

3.    Teach your child to tell the time.

For young children school days can feel very long and if they are not sure of the time it can feel like forever and this can lead to them worrying about when you are coming back.  This can be fixed with a watch and the knowledge of how to read it.  Start early and help your child learn to read the time, this will help prevent them from panicking when it ‘seems’ like they have been at school for hours and hours.  Even if time seems to be going slowly they will know exactly what time you will be there.

4.    Join a pre-school center.

From talking with others this seems the norm.   If being separated from you is likely to be the scariest factor in starting school consider enrolling your child in a pre-school center (if you haven’t already).  The aim here is for your child to know that they will be ok away from you for a few hours and it is easier to show them this with 3 hours at a pre-school center rather than a full school day.  In addition pre-school centers are often quite flexible allowing you to stay for part of the time until your child is comfortable (check with the center, as each is different)

5.    Plenty of sleep and breakfast.

Everything is harder when you are tired and hungry and school days are long for those not yet use to it.  Getting plenty of sleep and then waking to a nice breakfast will help make the school day seem a little easier.

Every child is different so what works for one may not for another but the tips above should give you a good starting point to help your child settle into school.  If you have any other tips that have worked please leave a comment or email me.

Conversation Tip: Use their name.

One problem you may encounter as a shy person is that others may perceive you as being unfriendly.  One simple way to negate this is to use the person’s name when greeting them and/or in the conversation.  This can help present a friendlier image without stepping too far out of your comfort zone.    

This works because people like to hear their own name; it makes them feel good to be acknowledged in a pleasant way by another person.    So each time you greet someone use their name they will get a little self-confidence boost  and this will reflect favourably on you as they will associated you with feeling  good. 

 Consider the following:
Hi, how are you?
Hi Jeff, how are you? 
See you later.
Good to see you again.
Good to see you again Jeff.  See you later.

The greetings and closing which include Jeff’s name are more personal and acknowledge Jeff in a positive way.   The result is Jeff feels good and he associates you with this good feeling.

Of course you need to be careful not to overdo it as saying someone’s name in every sentence can be odd and creepy.  A good rule of thumb is to say the person’s name when greeting them and then use the length of the conversation as a guide whether to say it again.  A long conversation could end with “See you later Bob, good talking with you” whereas a shorter one “see you later”.  

This is something I have generally avoided doing.  For some reason I feel strange when using the person’s name in conversation.  So it is taking some practice for it to feel natural.  I began by just using the person’s name when greeting them, this felt very strange at first,  but after some practice it now feels more natural.  So now I am trying to use their name as conversation comes to a close.   This is a little more tricky as I find myself thinking ‘was that conversation long enough to use their name again or not.  Generally if I am unsure I stick with “good to see you again, bye.”  

Next time you talk with someone take note if they say your name and how that feels.    Using the person’s name in a conversation needs to be natural and relaxed but sometimes these skills aren’t quite as natural as we would like.  This is something I have had to practice before it becomes natural so don’t let it put you off trying.

How to break the habit and make a change.

Sometimes you just have to do something different – no matter how small. 

At time is can be very easy to fall into a rut and even easier to just continue this safe and easy option.  But when these actions are not making you happy how do you actually go about changing things?

1. Keep the big picture in mind.

If you are not happy with what you are doing ask yourself ‘what would make you happy?’  Once you know the answer you can use this goal to motivate you when you need to step outside your comfort zone. To make a change in your life there is is a chance that you will need to contact a stranger, ask for help, visit somewhere new, meet new people or similar, and some of this may be unsetting, scary or cause discomfort so knowing exactly why you are doing it will help motivate you to keep going.   An example is if you are wanting to join a gym to improve your fitness.  It may be a step outside your comfort zone to approach a gym and ask about their programs but this task is made considerably easier if you remind yourself that  you are very much committed to improving your fitness and visualize how much happier you will be achieve this goal.

2. Take small steps.

When you feel anxious or worried about changing things, try something small to prove to yourself that you will be ok.  It doesn’t matter how small, simply doing something different will help; walk a different way to work, buy lunch from a different place, small things like this will show that you that you can do something different and you will be ok, in fact it is no big deal at all.  Right?.  Maybe by walking a different way you bump into someone you haven’t seen in a while or see something in a shop which further inspires you to do something else.  Or maybe nothing happens.  But keep going, try something else.  Small steps soon lead to another then another and soon you have travelled further than you thought you could.  

Small steps in practice.

I hate looking for a new job.  I simply hate everything about it.  I am not comfortable selling myself  in writing or person and cold calling in situations like this is still scary.  The problem is you need to do both these things to find a job (or be very lucky).   So I find myself in a job which I no longer enjoy, knowing I should be looking for another job, but yet I do nothing.    I then slowly start to hate the job and dread Monday mornings, but still I find reasons not to look for another job.  As a usually very sensible person this is ridiculous – I don’t like my job, but will not look for another.  I am in a rut that is not satisfying or making me happy, but it is safe and easy. 

So I start small.  Mention to one person that I am thinking of changing jobs.  Ok, that went fine so I tell another friend. Again that went fine so I update my CV.    Everything is still good.  Look at advertised positions, contact an employment agency.  Each step leads me closer to my goal.  Soon I get a few interviews and then a job – goal achieved.  

Sometimes small steps may appear as if they are too small to make a difference, but they do – small steps leads to another and soon the momentum takes over.   Couple this with an constant eye on the main goal and you really can get moving and achieve your goals.

Why do we feel shy?

According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, shyness exists because of three factors:

1. Excessive self consciousness.  Self consciousness is that ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling. 
2. Excessive negative self evaluation.  The thoughts that there is something wrong with you, you say and do the wrong things.  Basically you see yourself in a negative light.
3. Excessive negative self-preoccupation.  You are overly aware of what you are doing, and see it in a negative light. 

So when you are feeling shyness it is because we are very, very aware of ourselves and any action we take we evaluate in a negative way.  In this situation is it easy to see why we would say very little, avoid eye contact or display any of the other symptoms of shyness. 

This is why we know shyness can be overcome.

… sometimes we can find ourselves so caught up in an activity that we our attention is drawn away from what we are doing or saying.  We are so involved in the other activity that there is no time to think about what we are doing or saying.  Then later, as we look back, we realise that we had a great time and didn’t feel that usual shyness.    So if we can do this once, we can do it twice, and if we can do it twice we can do it again, and again… so this really is the good news – that shyness can be overcome.

Symptoms of Shyness

Looking through the list below you may see symptoms that you have experienced. Sometimes people are aware that they are feeling uncomfortable, but are unable to define it more than that. It may help to know which symptoms you experience to help you know what area to target as you work to overcome shyness. Worry is something that use to trouble me a lot; working to reduce worry has had a positive impact on my shyness – less worry has led to less shyness. Another example is a friend who use to talk about her heart beating so loud she could hear it, this in turn made her shyness worse as she worried that others could also hear it. So as part of her plan to overcome shyness she learnt breathing techniques which helped keeping her heart from racing, therefore, removing the worry that others could hear it and ultimately reducing her shyness. So while this list can appear daunting, that isn’t the aim.  The aim is to recognize which symptoms you experience, then taking this knowledge to help you overcome shyness.

Outward symptoms. 

These are visible to others and often very hard to hide.  They can be broken into two groups, behavioural and physiological. 

Behavioural symptoms
- Not speaking or saying very little.
- Stuttering.

- Very little or no eye contact.

- Standing apart from others.

- Speaking in a low voice.

Physiological symptoms
- Blushing.

- Muscle tension.

- Sweating/ sweaty hands.

- Increase in heart rate
- Feeling sick, upset stomach or butterflies.
- Shaking.

- Dry mouth.

Inward symptoms.  

These are the symptoms that happen on the inside and they are easier to hide than outward symptoms.  

- Self consciousness.
- Negative thoughts (why did I do that for, I am useless etc.)

- Fear of being judged by others.

- Fear of being rejected or forgotten .

- Excessive worry.

- Feeling embarrassed.

- Anxiety.

- Low self-esteem.

- Sadness/depression.

Born Shy?

Are people born shy?  Simply put, a person cannot be born shy because newborns do not have a sense of self.  They are not aware that they are a separate person and since shyness requires us to have a sense of self, we cannot be born shy.

However, we are born with a temperament.  A temperament is the genetically based part of our personalities, with some of us being born with a more inhibited temperament than others. Studies have examined babies and how they react to stimulations, then look at how these children act as children.  They noticed that the babies that were more inhibited as babies were generally more inhibited as children.  Therefore, concluding that while we are not born shy, we may be born with a predisposition to shyness.

Our temperament may be genetic but it is also influenced by our environment so just because a person is predisposed to shyness doesn’t mean they will be a shy adult. And likewise some people develop shyness without being predisposed towards it. Our environment and life experiences can help reduce shyness, in part or in whole, increase it or create it.

The good news is that whatever the reason of your shyness, it can be overcome.  We know this because our environment and experiences have a large impact of our degree of shyness. As adults we have more control over our environment and at most ages we can set up and create our own positive experiences. 

*Please note I am not referring to extreme shyness, if you are at all concerned please see a medical profession.

It’s not always easy.

Developing social skills and overcoming shyness is not always easy. This is neither a bad thing nor something that should deter you but rather it simply shows that you will need to practice and stick with it.  You find this with any new skill you wish to acquire.   If you wanted to play your favorite song on the piano you wouldn’t expect to just sit down and play it without first learning and practicing it.  So why is it that so many of us think that learning and developing social skills should be different?

 One possible answer is that we are constantly being shown adverts for quick and easy fixes.  Need dinner now? Easy this will cook in 1 minute – need to lose 10 pounds?  Simple eat this or use this and so on and so on.  After a while it can appear that nearly everything has a simple, quick and easy solution.    But of course there are plenty of worthwhile things/skills that take time, patience and at time some discomfort to achieve. 

We can also get stuck thinking ‘if they can do it, why can’t I’.   Again this goes back to thinking it should be simple and so ignores the fact that the other person probably has practiced for years.   It also neglects to acknowledge that just because a person appears calm and confident does mean they feel this way on the inside.  The reality might be that they feel unsure and uncomfortable inside while being able to project calm and confidence on the outside – also a learnt skill.

Use this to your advantage.

Next time you think developing your social skills is too hard: 
1. Remind yourself that there is no quick fix – you have to experience new social settings and practice.  
2.  Those people that look at ease and full of confidence have already practiced and developed their social skills (or perhaps they aren’t as confident on the inside.)  Therefore, you are doing fine – you are taking positive steps to further develop your own social skills just as they already have or are currently doing.
3. Yes it will be tough and frustrating at times and you will have to push yourself a little. This is all part of learning a new skill.

To summarize, developing social skills and reduce shyness will be hard and frustrating at times.  This is normal and something we all experience.  The important thing is to keep going and not let it put you off.

What is Shyness?

Shyness is feeling uncomfortable or apprehensive in social situations.  The discomfort may vary from mild to debilitating and can occur in a range of social situations.  For those that experience shyness regularly overcoming shyness can be a daunting task, but the good news is it can be done. 

Feeling shy often comes from feeling unsure how to belong or relate to a social group or person.  Because people feel uncertain about what to say or how to act they may experience feelings of discomfort and anxiety – shyness.  This is very common, especially when dealing with authority figures, potential partners, and people you have just met.  In these situations we may worry about saying or doing the wrong thing, feeling foolish, offending someone or ostracizing ourselves.  This fear can lead to people withdrawing and being more reserved that they otherwise might and overtime shyness can cause people to avoid social situations where this discomfort may occur.

Avoidance is not the answer and in fact can make the shyness worse.  The less we interact with people the less comfortable we are in social situations, which in turn can lead to more avoidance.  Getting out there and being willing to try new social situations is the key to overcoming shyness.  Willingness and some practice will lead to positive social experiences, increasing confidence and decreases apprehension and overall overcoming shyness.