“Most teenagers are shy,” says Mr. Anant Pai of Amar Chitra Katha fame. In this interview he talks about shyness and how one should overcome it.
*Is shyness a trait one is born with?
No, it is acquired. A person becomes shy when he does not accept himself. And because he can’t accept himself he fears that others will not accept him and he withdraws into his shell.
*Why would a person not accept himself?
For various reasons. Probably due to adverse remarks made about his shortcomings by his parents, siblings, peers or members of the opposite sex. Physical drawbacks like being very short or dark or having some deformity like a harelip etc. can also cause shyness.
*Is there anything good to be said about shyness?
It may make others around you feel superior and so they may like you for it. Mild shyness can also be mistaken for humility. But all in all, shyness is not good for anyone. It is an inhibiting factor and stands in the way of self-development.
*How can one overcome shyness?
Some people outgrow their shyness but in some people it becomes more acute and has to be tackled and eliminated. One way to do this is by understanding and accepting one’s weaknesses. Self-analysis can help one to become aware of what caused the shyness. Daring to do whatever one is shy of doing can also help overcome shyness. For instance a boy who is shy of girls should make it a point to go out of his way to talk to girls.
Lastly one should try to become aware of one’s good points.
*How can parents help out?
Parents should accept the shortcomings of their children. Only then will children be able to accept their own shortcomings. Parents should make their children aware of their positive qualities.
*Why does shyness affect girls more than boys?
Probably because they are brought up differently and are given lesser opportunities than boys. There is also the cultural factor. Girls in India and in Asia in general, are expected to be shy and coy.