A social phobia is a fear of interacting with others on a social level. Examples would be imagining others are looking at you while waiting in line at a checkout, talking in front of other people, or even fear of talking on the phone.

Self-confidence is a frame of mind, which allows individuals to have confident, yet realistic views of themselves and their position. Self-confident people count on their own talents, have a general sense of control over their lives, and trust that, within reason, they will be able to do what they want and need to do.

Self-esteem is a mental attitude that is accomplished through experiences. When a person experiences success, that person will tend to expect to be successful. And that very expectation will cause a feeling of self-confidence.

As an example: A young man wants to be a boxer, so he gets a manager and a trainer. His manager will not put him into a bout until he has acquired enough skill and stamina. And even then, the manager will only put him up against a competitor that he knows his fighter can crush. When his fighter beats the competitor, he is successful, and starts to gain self-confidence in his fighting skills.

With each engagement, the manager puts his prizefighter up against a rival who is only a slightly better rival then the last, but not good enough to beat his fighter. By the end of the third fight, the young fighter begins to expect to win his fourth, and so his confidence continues to expand. This scenario continues to repeat itself. And as long as the fighter is victorious, his expectations of success, and his feelings of self-confidence will continue to bloom.

As another example: A young lady who is in fear of heights wants to learn to dive into a swimming pool from a very high diving board. So she finds a diving coach and he asks her to make a jump into the pool from the first step of the ladder up to the high diving board. The first step of the ladder is not awfully high, so the young lady is completely confident, and she dives from that rung, and lands safely in the water.

Next, the coach has her take a dive from the second step of the ladder, and so forth. I guess that you get the picture here. With each new step up the ladder, since the girl was successful on the previous step, and the next higher step is only slightly higher then the last, the fear of being harmed factor is negligible, and the girl expects to be successful. When she jumps in and is unhurt, the girl's confidence increases, and her expectation of success on the next step up the ladder increases.

If a person who has a long history of success and feelings of self-esteem does fail, they still tend to expect success the next time out. Conversely, when a person who is weak in the confidence department fails, they tend to lose confidence, and create expectations of failure, which often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Having self-confidence doesn't mean that individuals will be successful at everything. People, who have true self-confidence, usually have expectations that are attainable. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be confident and to accept themselves.

People, who are not self-confident, tend to lean excessively on the approval of other people in order to feel self-esteem. They avoid risks because of the fear of failure. They make light of themselves and tend to discount or ignore compliments that are offered to them.

On the other side of the coin, self-confident people are willing take a chance on disappointing others because they generally depend on their own potential. They tend to accept themselves; and they don't believe that they have to conform in order to be acknowledged.

Just because one feels self-esteem in one or more aspects of their life, doesn't mean that they will feel confident in all areas of their life. For example, a person might feel secure about their athletic prowess, but not feel confident where members of the opposite sex are involved, such as in a dating situation, or social relationships.

How Is Self-Esteem Developed initially?

Many powerful and effective truths have an impact on the growth of self-confidence. Parents' attitudes are vital to the way children feel about themselves, particularly in their formative years. When parents provide acceptance, children receive a great foundation for seeing themselves in a positive light. If one or both parents are unreasonably critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children may be destined to believe they are incapable, inadequate, or inferior.

However, if parents encourage a child's moves toward self-reliance, and they are not overly critical when the child makes mistakes, the child will learn to accept herself, and will be on the way to developing self-confidence.

Just because a person does not have confidence, it does not mean that he/she doesn't have abilities. A lack of self-confidence is often the result of concentrating very strongly on the unrealistic expectations of others principally friends and parents. The affect of friends can be more powerful and effective than that of parents in shaping the feelings about one's self.

Beliefs That Continue to Affect Self-confidence

In response to external influences, people create beliefs. Some of these are good and some are not. Several assumptions that can interfere with confidence and alternate ways of thinking are:

ASSUMPTION: It's imperative that I'm successful at everything that I do. This assumption is a totally unrealistic assumption. In this world each person has their strengths, and their weaknesses. While it's important to always do your best, it's more important to learn to accept the self as being human, and not perfect. Allow yourself to feel good about what you are good at, and accept the fact that you don't know everything and you don't need to.

ASSUMPTION: I must be perfect, and loved by everyone, and satisfy everyone. Again, this assumption is totally unrealistic. All human beings are not perfect. It's better to develop standards that are not dependent on the approval of other people.

ASSUMPTION: Everything that happened to me in the past remains in control of my feelings and behaviors in the present.

ALTERNATIVE: While it is true that your confidence was especially influenced by external influences when you were a child as you gain maturity consciousness and a new slant on what those influences have been. In doing so, you can choose which influences you will continue to allow to have an effect on your life. You don't have to be helpless because of your past

HERE ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE

Emphasize Your Strengths. Bestow upon yourself credit for everything that you can do. And bestow upon yourself credit for every new adventure you are willing to try out.

Take risks. Adopt the point of view of: I never fail, because there are NO failures. However, sometimes I learn what doesn't work and once I've learned what doesn't work in a given situation, I can undertake some other action.

Use Self-Talk: Use self-talk as an opportunity to counter harmful assumptions. Then, tell yourself to stop. Substitute more reasonable assumptions. For example, when you catch yourself expecting yourself to be perfect, remind yourself that no one can do everything perfectly, and that it is only possible to do things to the best of your ability. This allows you to accept yourself while still improving.

Make mental movies: Picture yourself in the various scenarios that you currently lack self-confidence in. But see yourself behaving like a person who has tremendous confidence would. There are many powerful and effective Self-hypnosis and NLP approaches that will build up a shocking amount of self-confidence from within your unconscious mind. There are even NLP techniques that will let you take confidence that you do have in areas of your life, and then transplant that confidence to areas of your life that require more self-confidence!

Self-Evaluate: Learn to appraise yourself as an individual. Avoid the continual sense of bewilderment that comes from relying too much on the opinions of others.

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Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky, CH. has been a certified hypnotist and NLP Practitioner since 1978. His website offers dozens of Ericksonian Hypnosis & NLP CD's including programs that will build a prodigious amount of confidence for you. His Self-confidence Hypnosis CD's were recently put to the test by Personal-Development.info in England.