(I wrote this in about 2008 and put it in a forum for guys who have problems with love shyness.)
I also often feel that love-shyness is often related to an INTENSE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. This seems to be a product of Victorian society and I consider it one of it’s traits, particularly in the U.S. and England.
If you want to get technical, I’ve always thought it’s origin comes from the rise of the middle class after the Napoleanic wars (though it pre-dates it on a smaller scale). This middle class is often called the bourgeoisie. This middle class had more money in a more commercial society allowing them to buy things than their grandparents could. In that class-like society they could use the money to ‘pretend’ to be the upper class or nobility. So what did they do? They bought all this crap and paraded about ‘aping the nobility’. Because it was a ‘social show’ they developed a strong self-concious sense. It became so strong that, in many ways, it defined the latter half of the Victorian era. Naturally, some people were more effected by it than others. In some people its non-existant.
The result of ‘intense self-consciousness’ is that there becomes a number of traits that help to create, I think, a love-shy condition in some people. These include:
– A LACK OF SPONTANEITY. They don’t react on the moment. They are ‘detached’ from events going on around them.
– A TENDENCY TO WANT TO CONTROL THINGS OR SITUATIONS. Everything they do is well thought out and planned.
– A TENDENCY TO ‘WATCH’ WHATEVER THEY DO. It’s almost like they become another person watching themselves from a distance and critiquing themselves.
– A TENDENCY TO THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT THEY DO OR WILL DO. They sit and think every move they’ll do and if it isn’t right they feel like crap or can severely reprimand themselves.
– A TENDENCY TO INHIBIT THEMSELVES AND THEIR BEHAVIOR. They don’t let themselves be themselves, hence they have inhibited growth as human beings and persons.
– A TENDENCY TO BE INHIBITED IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS. Their self-consciousness literally put’s a ‘damper’ on their social relations, often bringing it to a halt.
– A TENDENCY TO BE ‘PHONY’ OR ARTIFICIAL. Since its origin lies in ‘pretending’ to be someone socially significant, like the nobility, there is a tendency for them to ‘pretend’ to be something they’re not. Many have false unrealistic views of themselves.
So what do we do about ‘intense self-consciousness’? For me, I began to UNLEARN SELF-CONCIOUSNESS. That is, I began to NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT I DID, HOW I APPEARED, OR BEHAVED (within reason, of course). If someone thought I was ‘weird’ or was bothered by my behavior, I just plain didn’t give a crap. My motto became: Who gives a crap? If I didn’t like what I did . . . so what? I had to learn not to care about how I feel about myself as well. It takes a while to get in the habit but after awhile I found I was very spontaneous (I often feel I’m more spontaneous now than most people are) and did many things without a thought. I slowly didn’t care what anyone thought about me. So what?! Does it really matter? No, not really. I ceased ‘watching’ myself and expecting me to behave in a certain way. I behaved how I behaved, that’s it, end of story. Because I became so ‘free’ in my behavior I had to come to terms with aspects about myself which I didn’t like. Now, I’m not saying to just ‘let everything go’ and to become an indecent person. It must be done within reason. You must be practical. For me it was a slow bit by bit process. Slowly saying “I don’t care” and expanding on it abit as time went on.
Since I have unlearned a lot of self-consciousness I found I can talk to girls amazingly easily and have fun with them. This is something I couldn’t do 10 years ago, so self-conscious and constrained I was then.
A lot of love-shy guys are just too self-conscious about themselves, I think. It hinders so many things from growing in our lives. It’s like trying to water the lawn with a 1/8” diameter tube.