You can try to deal with this yourself by changing behaviour and thought patterns, and possibly some skills training.
Behaviours that keep low confidence in place might not be obvious, but you'll probably find that there's some avoidance going on. Try to place yourself into situations where you can face what you're fearing. Practising really does make a huge difference - the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Thought patterns that keep low confidence in place are usually related to beliefs that people won't like you, they'll think you're stupid, boring, and so on. Try to work out just what it is that you're thinking in difficult situations, and then see if you can challenge those thoughts. Some questions you can ask yourself to straighten out your thinking can be found here:
We also have assumptions that we make about ourselves, and about other people. If these assumptions are wrong, they can make us vulnerable to anxiety or depression. See if you can work out what assumptions you're making, and challenge them. They might be beliefs like, “ practiseI'm a boring person” - similar to the negative thoughts, but more stable ideas.
Skills training means looking at the skills involved in starting and maintaining conversations. Often it's just low confidence getting in the way, but sometimes some specific “tricks” can help when you're first starting up a conversation with someone. Taking part in skills training can also help with the first suggestion - behaviour change. For example, joining a group like toastmasters not only helps with the skills of public speaking, but it also gives you opportunity to practice (it's not exactly conversation, but often public speaking will tap into the same sort of fears).
Many people manage to deal with self-esteem issues by themselves, and generally, the course over time is for gradual improvement. If you find you're stuck, then see a psychologist who can lead you through this process, and tailor it to your needs and circumstances. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the approach that I'd recommend.
I hope that helps!
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