I am shy and self-conscious. How do I change?

Good morning friends,

My younger sister Patt, who lives in Chicago, came to visit me this weekend. It’s always a joy when she comes and we can have girlfriend time together. We shopped, went down to the new memorial at the World Trade Center in NYC, saw a play on Broadway, ate way too much, and laughed until our bellies ached.

Do you have a good girlfriend that you can totally be yourself with? It’s so important. In this digital age, I fear we are losing touch with real people. People on Facebook seem more real to us than those we live next to or go to church with.

Several years ago I decided that girlfriends would need to be a higher priority in my life than they had previously been. It is that important to our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.

How about you? Do you have a good girlfriend? If not, how can I pray for you?

In this week’s blog, a woman struggles with making friends because she’s shy and self-conscious.

Today’s Question: For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely shy and self-conscious. I constantly worry about what others think about me. I don’t feel worth much and have a very hard time asserting myself. I know this isn’t good, but I don’t know how to change. Any suggestions?

Answer: Being aware of your problems and wanting to change is a very good first step. God has an answer for you, but first you must understand what your problem is.

Most of us tend to see a person who thinks too highly of themselves and is self-absorbed with their talents, abilities, beauty, or success as being self-centered and full of pride. On the other hand, those who tend to be more self-depreciating and self-conscious are viewed as more humble and meek.

However, the truth is, both individuals have the same problem. It is just experienced in opposite ways. They are both self-absorbed. One person thinks too much of themselves in a positive way; the other person thinks too much of themselves in a negative way. It is good that you have begun to realize the bondage of such thinking. There is no freedom to love. You are too worried about you and how you will do or be received, to use your gifts, abilities or talents to reach out to another person in love.

These words may seem harsh, but if you try to solve your problem the traditional way, by focusing more on your good qualities or trying to think more highly of yourself, you aren’t really addressing the inherent self-centered focus of your life. God calls us to be God-centered, not other-centered or self-centered people. When we take our eyes off ourselves and put them on Christ, we begin to see ourselves as he sees us. What does that mean practically?

1. We are created in his image and for relationship with God. We are special to God, and he made us with dignity, value, and purpose (Psalm 8:5-8). No one is worthless, and each of us is designed to fulfill a special purpose that only we can do.

2. Although we have sinned and made some terrible mistakes, God has still put goodness in us (1 Corinthians 4:7). These gifts, talents, and abilities are to be used to benefit and serve others (1 Peter 4:10). When we are caught up in morbid self-consciousness, our fears (of failure and rejection mostly) keep us from discovering and using who we are and the good qualities we have to serve others and glorify God.

Now, the next step is to put into practice what God says. You probably know these things already, but knowing the truth is not the same as believing them. So I want you to ask yourself the following questions:

How would your life be different if you believed that God put good qualities in you?

What might you do differently in your relationships with others if you believed that God has a purpose for your life and that you were created with dignity and value?

I encourage you to ponder those truths and then live like you believe them. Watch what happens in you and in your relationships. You may be in for a big surprise.


  1. Anonymous on May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Girlfriends are a gift. But the gifts God give can become too big. Which happened to me. I made her more important than my relationship with the Lord. And it also became a manipulative relationship. I needed her in an unhealthy way and she needed me to need her. The relationship ended which is painful to say the least. Your book about Emotionally Destructive Relationships has been a huge blessing. And I'm getting some counseling. God bless you.

  2. Anonymous on May 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    if the girlfriend becomes too big, put her on a diet

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