Can shyness be genetic

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Shyness and genetics

In my previous article Why is shyness seen as a bad thing i said that shyness is some kind of an abnormal self inhibition that prevents people from interacting with others properly.

So many people wonder whether they were born shy or not especially with the popularity of studies that say that some genes were found to be connected with shyness.

In my previous article Do genes affect personality i said that genes alone never have the power to shape your personality or to determine who you are. Even if some genes can be connected to a certain personality trait still the expression of those genes can only happen if the person interacted with his envrioment in a certain way.

Lets suppose that those studies were real and that some genes were actually connected to shyness. In such a case you will only become shy if you interacted with the environment in a certain way.

And even if that happened and you became shy the process is still 100% reversible. It's the same as having fat cells that can allow you to gain fats easily but that can still lose that extra fat if you went on a diet.

Shyness happens for many reasons

Shyness doesn't just happen because someone has genetic tendencies but many reasons must come together for a person to develop shyness. Just like depression can't happen out of the blue shyness can't happen for no reason. Even if you have genetic tendencies shyness requires more than one factor to be present for it to occur.

The way you were raised, the beliefs you developed, the environment you lived in, your thoughts, your self talk and so many other factors apart from genetics can determine whether you will be shy or not.

Now the good news is that many of those factors are totally under your control and that even if you became shy you can still reverse that by doing some changes.

Shyness and sensitivity

Some studies have connected Shyness with having a sensitive Amygdala , the part of your brain that triggers fear response, which is again a factor that is controlled by genes.

But the important question is does having a sensitive Amygdala make the person shy?
Of course no. It's like saying that a person who has sensitive ears can become deaf if he listened to loud music.

When i talked about emotional sensitivity earlier i said that if your perception works fine and if you process events in your mind properly then your sensitivity won't affect you at all. So even if one factor is out of your hand many others are still in your hand.

Shyness is not a personality trait

So many people mistakenly believe that shyness is a personality trait and this belief kills the chance of any possible improvement. In the Solid Self confidence program i said that the false beliefs people form force them to be stuck where they are.

When you believe that shyness is a personality trait, which is a totally wrong assumption, you will find no motivation to change. After all your brain only motivates you when it believes that it can get some kind of a reward.

By believing that you can't change you are asking your brain to remain dormant and to never make you motivated. See also The psychology of indifference.

Shyness, inferiority and your weight

I came across a study that linked shyness with new born children who are underweight. The study said that the underweight child is more likely to become shy. So how can this make sense?

In fact this is perfectly aligned with Alfred Adler's inferiority theory. When the child finds himself inferior compared to others , feels significantly smaller for example, then inferiority is more likely to develop. See Inferiority complex according to Adler

This kind of organ inferiority , as Adler called it, can certainly lead to shyness. But the question again is: It is reversible?

Yes of course it is.

It's all about your beliefs

Genes are not as powerful as you think. Do you know what's the factor that has much more power than your genes?
It's the false beliefs you develop. If you believed that you are inferior to others for example then even if you had no genes connected to shyness you might still feel uncomfortable around people just because you believe that something is wrong with you.

On the other hand if you developed healthy beliefs about yourself then even if you had shyness genes you will never become shy. This is another reason why the process is 100% reversible.

In short you are not destined to be shy and you are not stuck because of your genes.

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