Have you ever been so shy that you just couldn’t speak, even when it was really important that you did so? We all get shy from time to time, but if your shyness is hurting your relationships, keeping you from making new friends, or asserting yourself, you owe it to yourself to work on overcoming it. Why? Because the world must know that incredible boy or girl that is locked away in your soul, that’s why!

And these 4 tips for overcoming shyness are a good way to start.

1.  Love Yourself

You can’t be comfortable around other people unless you are comfortable in your own skin. For you to feel loved by others, it is necessary to love yourself first. Focus on the people and things that make you feel good – like yourself (yes, you!), friends, family and favorite hobbies. Don’t have any hobbies? Get some. Spend your free time doing stuff that makes you happy. Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Also, don’t be overly apologetic. In the sense that, you shouldn’t apologise for your existence, for speaking up, for being you, or for doing something you have earned the right to do.

2.  Be Friendly

Shy people tend not to smile or make eye contact with other people.  It might lead to people thinking you aren’t interested in talking to them, or that you rude, or have an attitude.  Snap out of it.  When you’re talking to someone, remind yourself to look at them, to smile, to stay involved in the conversation.  Straightening your posture helps, too. So stand to your full height, and pretty soon this stuff will come naturally to you, but you have to practice.

3.  Take Chances

Ask more questions. Take up an offer to go somewhere you’ve never been, or do something you have never done even if it’s challenging.  Pay a stranger a compliment.  Try stuff out, even if it makes you nervous.  Being shy has a lot to do with being scared.  If you start facing your fear, you’ll learn to get over it.

4.  Be Patient

Keep repeating steps 1, 2 and 3, as many times as you need to, for the rest of your life.  Overcoming shyness is a long process.  It could be years before you grow out of it, and even then, you my not be the bubbly extrovert that you picture as the opposite of shy.  You’ll just be, you, but a more confident, comfortable you than you’ve ever been.

And let your light shine through friend.