According to my memory, I grew up as a normal kid. However, I have been mobbed in school and couldn't get help from my parents. "Don't pay attention" or "it won't be that bad" they answered. This situation at school and the unbelief of my parents resulted in my shyness. The fear of being marked as "weird", led to my social isolation. I became a timid person. Then, after education, I have been mobbed at work to such an extent that, at occasions, I had suicidal thoughts. I wondered "Is this going to be my life?"
The moment that I really hit the bottom of my misery, at the age of 27, I met my future wife. She invited me for a drink and I remember that I was very silent, being afraid to make errors and stupid remarks. I couldn't imagine that a woman would be interested in me. My self-esteem was at such a low level. She became my first date.
Thanks to her perseverance, I slowly but steadily crawled out of the pit. She constantly mentioned to me that I had a lot to offer and that I was a loving person.
I went in therapy and in group sessions. Also that helped me a lot. We trained ourselves to look into others people's eyes for a couple of minutes. And we learned to start and maintain a conversation without being afraid of silent moments. I know now that these silent moments can be part of a good dialogue.
I still have to work on myself but my self-esteem has grown substantially since. It's a long way to go but I have sufficient self-confidence now to make these steps.