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How to build self-confidence

Philip George Zimbardo is a renowned American psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University in the United State of America.

In his best-selling book “Shyness (1990)” he analyses shyness with a personal understanding of the emotions involved. He presents advice, exercises, and encouragement to help shy people strengthen their social skills and their self-confidence.

The following steps help to overcome low self-esteem and self-confidence;

· Identify strengths and weaknesses and formulate goals accordingly. Evaluate what is important, explore values and endeavours to achieve in life. Listening to thoughts, doing what is best leads to better self-understanding. Make plans and evaluate them in the present moment, to take advantage of this when recording progress. Take into account every successful step, and don't forget to cheer and praise every successful achievement, however small.

· Reflecting on the past think about the path to the current situation. Try to understand and forgive those who were a reason for suffering or failed to help despite the fact they could have. Forgive past mistakes, delusions and sins and then move on from these bad memories, making room for better memories of past successes and those of the present. It is important to replace feelings of guilt, remorse and shame with more positive affirmations such as joy, forgiveness and love.

· Identify how personality affects behaviour and the impact of the physical, social, economic and political environments.

· Remember that each event can be evaluated in different ways. Reality is not something that everyone sees individually, it is nothing more than the result of an agreement between people to call things by certain names. This view helps in general to be more tolerant and more generous to people and to oneself.

· Avoid associating negative thoughts. Words such as stupid, ugly, incapable, unlucky, bad, useless etc should never be used as an evaluation of oneself.

· It is acceptable to take constructive criticism for actions but never accept anyone’s evaluation of oneself. Do not put up with people, activities and circumstances that make oneself feel inferior. If one can't change them or oneself enough to feel confident, it's best to just step away from them. Life is too short to waste in despondency.

· Remember that failure is an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. Perhaps conclude that pursued false goals were not worth the effort, and that possible subsequent larger troubles were avoided.

· Practice communicating with others, enjoying the feeling of the energy that people are. Relax and be a good listener in social situations. Decide what to share and what to receive from others. Remember that they too will most likely experience both fear and insecurity so practice listening with a sympathetic ear and try to help them.

· Reinforce in your mind that we are not a passive object on which trouble falls, we are not a blade of grass that waits with trepidation to be stepped on. Celebrate in uniqueness, and the ability to be the creator of our lives. We are in control of events. We are confident in ourselves and obstacles or negative situations become a challenge to achieve goals. Remember the fear will recede, because instead of worrying about how to live, be immersed in the excitement of what life has to offer.

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