A social phobia is a fear of interacting with others on a social level. Examples would be talking in front of other people, waiting in line at the checkout imagining others are looking at you, or even fear of talking on the phone.
Self-confidence is a feeling that allows people to have positive, yet realistic views of themselves and their circumstances. Self-confident people have confidence in their own abilities, have a general sense of control over their lives, and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they want and need to do.
Confidence is a perspective 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.
For example: A man wants to be a professional boxer, so he gets a manager and takes lessons. His manager will not put him into a bout until he has developed enough proficient fighting skills. And even then, the manager will only put him up against a competitor that he knows his fighter can overpower. When his fighter beats the opponent, he is successful, and starts to gain confidence in his capability.
With each match, the manager puts his prizefighter up against a contender who is a slightly better challenger then the last, but not good enough to beat his man. By the end of the third fight, the young contestant begins to expect to win his fourth, and so his confidence continues to bloom. This series of events continues to repeat itself. And as long as the fighter contestant is victorious, his expectations of success, and his feelings of self-confidence will continue to escalate.
As another example: A young lady who is scared to death of being in high places wants to learn to dive into a swimming pool from a very high diving board. So she finds a diving coach who asks her to take a jump into the pool from the first rung of the ladder going up to the high diving board. The first step of the ladder is not awfully high, so the young lady feels confident, and she dives from that rung, and lands in the water unharmed.
Next, the athletic coach has her take a jump from the second rung of the ladder, and so forth. I assume that you see what’s going on here. With each new step she takes as she climbs higher up the ladder, since the girl was able to jump without fear or harm, and the next higher step is only slightly higher then the last, the fear factor is negligible, and the girl expects to be successful. When she dives in and is unhurt, the girl’s self-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 confidence does fail, they still tend to expect success the next time out. Conversely, when a person who is weak in the self-confidence department fails, they tend to lose confidence, and expect failure, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Having true self-confidence doesn’t mean that individuals will be able to do everything. People, who have true self-confidence, usually have expectations that are practical. 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 depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel self-confidence. They usually don’t take risks because of the fear of failure. They make light of themselves and tend to discount compliments that they receive.
Conversely, confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally have confidence in their own prowess. They acknowledge themselves; and they don’t feel they have to conform in order to be admired.
Just because one feels self-confidence in one or more parts of their life, doesn’t mean that they will feel overconfident in every single part of their life. For example, a person might feel optimistic about their athletic prowess, but not feel confident as far as members of the opposite sex are involved, such as in a dating situation, or social relationships.
HOW IS Self-confidence Initially developed?
Many powerful and effective truths have an impact on the development of self-confidence. Parents’ attitudes are critical to the way children think about themselves, especially in their early years. When parents provide admiration, children receive a solid foundation for self-esteem. If one or both parents are excessively demanding or critical, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children may be fated 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.
A lack of confidence is not necessarily related to a lack of ability. A lack of self-confidence is often the result of centering much too strongly on the ridiculous expectancy of other people in particular friends and parents. The control of peers can be more powerful than that of parents in shaping the feelings about one’s self.
Assumptions That Continue to Affect Self-confidence
In response to external influences, people create beliefs. Some of these are helpful and some are not so helpful. Several assumptions that can interfere with self-confidence and positive ways of thinking are:
ASSUMPTION: I must always be successful at every challenge that I undertake. This assumption is a totally unrealistic assumption. In life each person has his strengths and his weaknesses. While it is important to learn to do the best that one can, it is more important to learn to accept yourself as being human, and deficient. Let yourself 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 a totally unrealistic assumption. All human beings are less than perfect. It’s well advised to develop personal standards and values that are not very 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 vulnerable to external influences when you were a child as you gain maturity appreciation and point of view 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 based on what happened in the past
HERE ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE
Emphasize Your Strengths. Grant yourself credit for everything that you can do. And bestow upon yourself credit for every new experience you are willing to try.
Take risks. Adopt the attitude of: I never fail, because there are NO failures. However, sometimes I find out what doesn’t work and once I’ve learned what doesn’t work in a given situation, I can test something else.
Use Self-Talk: Use self-talk as a tool 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 it is impossible to do everything perfectly, and that it’s only possible to do things to the best of your ability. This allows you to accept yourself as you are working towards improvement.
Make mental movies: Picture yourself in scenes that you currently have low levels of self-confidence in. But see yourself behaving in the way that a person who has tremendous confidence would. There are powerful Self-hypnosis and NLP processes that you can use to instill a sizable amount of self-confidence from within your subconscious 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 judge yourself independently. Refrain from the habitual sense of confusion that comes from relying on the opinions of others.
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