Feelings of Inferiority Can Destroy Your Self-confidence: How to Overcome an Inferiority Complex
It can be a cruel place. The world.
It can be wonderful too, depending on how you approach it. How you let it affect you.
You have control over this but there is a powerful phenomenon at work you should be aware of. Especially if you struggle with feelings of inferiority, or perhaps even an inferiority complex.
This phenomenon? … ‘Comparisons’
Comparing yourself to others is a natural human behaviour. You can’t avoid it. It’s hard wired within us. We can’t help comparing ourselves to others; our wealth, our looks, where we live, how ‘successful’ we are, how much ‘fun’ we have.
Social media makes this even more of a challenge. We’re constantly bombarded with information. Take Facebook for example; every day you read about other peoples’ successes and the fun they’re having. For people who are struggling with feelings of inferiority, this can be damaging to their self-esteem.
How you let this affect you is controllable though. And this is the key to dealing with an inferiority complex.
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What is an inferiority complex?
An inferiority complex is a general feeling that you’re not good enough in relation to others. People with a real inferiority complex even consider themselves ‘worse’ than others when they are in fact ‘better’ at some things. For example, I met a sales person recently who worked in the clothing industry. Even though her sales figures were better than all her colleagues, she still felt inferior to them.
The way she felt about herself was a total misrepresentation of the reality of her situation. This just didn’t add up.
In another situation, I met a person whose inferiority issue was to do with how she thought she looked. This feeling of inferiority had been born some years before when someone had told her she wasn’t as good looking as someone else.
Over the years, she’d managed to convince herself that she was ugly. Because she was so set in her mind in terms of her self-perception, she then made the assumption that peoples’ behaviour towards her always suggested that they thought she was ugly (when in fact they weren’t thinking anything of the kind).
It makes no sense
It makes no sense at all to compare yourself to others.
The key is learn to see yourself as an individual with your own unique strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else. When you stop comparing yourself to others you’ll start to feel on a par with them, regardless of their ‘achievements’.
You should try and learn from others though, particularly those who are good at what they do. But never compare yourself to them. It’s a false economy. You have your strengths, they have theirs. You have your weaknesses, they have theirs too. No one is perfect.
My school friend Simon always achieved higher grades than me in every subject. I remember feeling inferior to him in lessons. It’s not until recently that I found out that Simon felt the same way about me when we were playing sport. It’s easy to feel inferior if someone is better at something than you but remember – we’re all human. Respect other people’s strengths but remember that they also have weaknesses. If you feel inferior, draw on your own qualities and strengths rather than constantly thinking about your weaknesses.
Thinking like this makes overcoming an inferiority complex a whole lot more manageable.
How to stop feeling inferior – the psychology
How do you see the world? Odd question perhaps. It matters though. Feeling inferior often comes about because you see around you a completely different world to the real one.
If you have an inferiority complex, you may well view the world as a place where everyone else is superior to you. You make the assumption that other people have more authority than you and that others’ rights prevail above yours. Often you do this subconsciously; you’re not even aware it’s happening.
The truth is that you’re right about this … in some ways.
It may well be the case that some people are more ‘senior’ to you in terms of position or rank. However, this does not mean that they are ‘superior’ to you in the sense that their rights and needs are more important.
How self-confidence can help with inferiority
People with self-confidence consciously treat everyone the same, regardless of rank or seniority. They show the appropriate degree of respect to seniors but they don’t change their behaviour. People who feel inferior tend to lose sight of this. They forget that senior people have no ‘rights’ over you, even though, particularly in a work environment, they may have a degree of ‘power’ over you in terms of your role and responsibilities.
Try to remember that you are on a par with everyone else. You may be thinking that’s easier said than done – after all, it’s natural to feel a little daunted by the prospect of treating people who are senior to you as equals. It’s actually not that difficult – but it does require mental preparation.
This self-confidence exercise should help to stop you feeling inferior to others
Focus on the reality – Think forward to the next time you will be working or socialising with a group of people who are ‘senior’ in some respect to you. Prepare in your mind to treat them differently to the way you used to.
Spend a few minutes on your own beforehand thinking about and rehearsing your approach; try to psyche yourself up, just like you would before a sporting match or competition. See it as a challenge.
Whereas you used to treat these people according to your perception of their authority in relation to you, now you will treat each of them as an equal. You will do this for everyone, even the people who are more ‘senior’ to you in terms of position. Don’t worry; this won’t be a problem as long as you’re polite and respectful at all times.
You’ll be amazed at how this simple concept can transform your feelings of inferiority into a feeling of equality. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised at the more positive way people respond to you, even the more senior people. It’s likely their perception of your confidence levels and your self-esteem will improve too.
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