An inferiority complex is a persistent feeling of being inferior to others in some way. It is usually connected with a real or imaginary shortcoming in physical appearance, intelligence, personality, education, social status or economic status.
I believe that an inferiority complex is one of the nastiest psychological traits you can have. Seriously, it will mess your life up in a sadistic way, as well as your people skills.
Many people struggle with a feeling of inferiority for years, even their whole lives, and this has ramifications in most aspects of their existence. As a communication coach with an attitude-based approach, I have something to say about overcoming an inferiority complex, and this article is it.
First, My Story
In high-school, I used to have an inferiority complex because I was very thin. Yeah, I know many people have the opposite problem of being too fat. Well, I was skinny as a rail and I felt embarrassed by it.
Actually, I still am skinny as a rail, but it no longer bothers me in any way. It’s something I’ve learned not only to get over, but also to embrace. Now, when I see people who have an inferiority complex, I totally understand where they’re coming from, but their state also seems silly from where I’m standing.
This is probably one of the reasons I find it fulfilling to do attitude and confidence coaching and help people who feel inferior to others in some way.
The Real Cause of an Inferiority Complex
There’s a big catch to overcoming an inferiority complex: you have to understand its genuine cause.
The apparent cause seem to be the fact you are inferior to others around you in a particular manner: you’re short, you’re fat, you’re bold, you’re poor, you’re less educated, you have an extra nipple etc. However, that’s not the real cause.
You see, we are all inferior to other people in some ways, and superior in others. We all have our combinations of qualities and flaws and overall we’re not that different from each other. My point is that a certain flaw is not a realistically sufficient reason to have an inferiority complex.
The real cause of an inferiority complex has little to do with reality and it has a lot to do with how we process it. In order to get an inferiority of a complex, you have to dramatize in your head the meaning of a certain flaw.
You have to tell yourself that, for example, you are so short you look like a midget, that everybody is making fun of you and that this in intolerable. Thus, you make yourself feel shitty (but the scientific phrasing is that you develop a complex of inferiority).
How to Overcome an Inferiority Complex
Since an inferiority complex is created through your thinking, it is through your thinking as well that you can overcome it.
If you want to learn how to shift from feeling inferior to being confident in interactions with other people, I encourage you to check out my presentation on conversation confidence. It will show you my practical formula for boosting your confidence. You can find it here.
I have worked with clients with inferiority complexes and the way they’ve made real progress was to systemically combat their distorted thinking patterns. This is also what has worked for me.
Basically, overcoming an inferiority complex implies a set of key shifts in thinking:
- Realizing that any flaw you have is not as bad as you think;
- Realizing that having a certain flaw does not equal with not having any personal qualities;
- Realizing that all people have their flaws and most people have major flaws.
And when I say ‘realizing’ all of these, I’m referring to taking them in and making them a part of your automatic, everyday thinking.
Probably the most meaningful shift in thinking is understanding that there is a huge difference between being inferior to others in some way and feeling bad about it (a.k.a. having an inferiority complex).
What Does It Take?
All the stuff you may hear about just being yourself, meditating or visualizing yourself in a better way is in my experience hyped up self-help bullshit and it will do little good in dealing with a complex of inferiority.
Overcoming an inferiority complex requires a scientific and pragmatic approach. The techniques I use in my work on attitude change are mostly from the areas of Cognitive Behavioral Coaching (CBC) and Therapy (CBT), which I encourage you to research.
CBC is not a miracle cure; it is a psychological change system which involves repetitive action, consistent practice and taking things in small steps. If you do the work, you will get the results.
I’ll teach you the most powerful CBT techniques to overcome inferiority and gain conversation confidence in this presentation. Don’t miss out on it.
Equip yourself with the right tools and a lot of perseverance, and I promise you that you’ll free yourself from an inferiority complex. Then, when you’ll look back and remember how you used to feel about certain parts of yourself, it will seem sooooo silly!
Image courtesy of Lydiat