Overcoming an Inferiority Complex

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 social 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

inferiorIn 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 wholeheartedly. 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 right now.

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 instructional presentation on building social confidence. It will show you my practical formula for boosting your confidence. You can find it over 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 Jarostaw Pocztarski


  1. Loved that bunny! 🙂

  2. Eduard, in some cases not only someone have an inferiority complex, but others are inducing this. Let’s see an example: in one university, the boss of the accounting department (male) used to express his opinion about the rest of his subordinated accountants (females) that everybody is stupid and good for nothing on the most minor mistake he discovered. After a long time of exposure to this treatment (months, even years for the oldest accountants), those employees ended to feel unsecure of themselves and lacking confidence.
    I try to imagine such person sitting on the toilet in front of me – what do you think his facial expression would be? Do you think that after repeating this a few times, would anyone feel intimidated?
    I think a similar approach can be done to increase self-confidence, in general, to overcome the inferiority complex.

    • I agree Emi,

      Unfortunately, not all people around you are eager to help you feel good about yourself. This is why I think a big dose of critical thinking is useful when taking into consideration negative feedback (not criticism, critical thinking).

      Some people are bitter assholes. Don’t let their limited beliefs define you.

  3. Comparison is the root cause for many disturbances in your life. Inferiority complex usually comes as a result of you comparing yourself to or someone comparing you to someone else behavior or lifestyle. One of the best suggestions to overcome this is to shift your perspective from your weakness to strengths.

    • Hey Mark,

      Comparison is high on my list of unhealthy attitudes. Some comparison is good, even necessary, but most of us take it 15 steps too far.

      • Of course, all of us use comparison to se ‘where we are’ regarding the others – it’s instinctual, it’s in our nature. Focusing too much on the results (i.e being too skiny than average, or being heavier than average) and increasing too much the importance of this results triggers such complex.
        Let’s have a practical example: I’m too fat, 10-15 kilograms above the average. I try to loose weight but my life style and my genetic pre-programming don’t help me – no matter how long I try, I’m not successfull. The next step shoult be: how does this help me? Well, I discover I can’t be easily ignored. I don’t suffer too much in cold weather. I float easier in water. And many many more. How can I use this in my advantage? and so on…

    • Aminu gracia says:

      Agree with you that comparison can contribute to making someone feeling inferior.

  4. Great stuff Eduard. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and this article really hit home.


  5. This advice is good, but I still struggle with curing this problem. Even though I KNOW how irrational my thinking is, it doesn’t seem to do me any good because my emotional reaction to certain things (being in a situation where I can be judged or am percieved as inferior) is still sub-optimal. I can think all I want about how I’m actually not a terrible person, but the emotional response doesn’t go away for me.

  6. Good write-up. The whole problem is in the thinking of an individual. Change the way you think about yourself and you are free from the problem.

  7. it’ my first visit on this site and i’m impressed about how many aspect of thinking you are talking about, i’m from roumania.
    you see how i overcomed my complexes was by achieving those thing that was the object of my complexes
    that’ obviously apliable just for non physical complexes
    in my case was the fact that my social life was allmost zero , i didn’t have a girlfriend, i wasn’t well dressed
    i simply did those thing and i just get back my confidence
    all i dis was just like: if it doesn’t work this time next time i’ll have a feedback
    ofcourse nothing went good from the first try.
    my advice is do it, just do it if it doesn’t work this time next time you’ll know what went bad and you’ll know what to change

  8. actually my bf has inferior complexity. he loves me madly and i love him 2. bt he works hard. bt in exams he scores less than me. thts wht his complexity is abt. he says thts cuz am lucky and i believe so. luck favors me nt him. he says i dont deserve wht i get. he has attempted suicide 3 times. he says if he doesnt score better than me he will suicide. bt i love him a lt lt.i cant live withot him. he loves me a lt too. do u think i ought to do deliberately bad in exam this yr?

    • Attempted suicide 3 times?!?! I think you’ve fallen in love with the wrong person. Sounds like a very toxic guy to be in a relationship with. You could deliberately bad exams, but then you’re only patching things up instead of going to the root of the problem.

  9. Hey Eduard! Thanks for the article. i have one question to ask. i know that good feelings only last temporarily, and sometimes the negative emotion starts to kick in again once some sort of scenario happens in my life and i start to constantly keep thinking about it, and it is hard for me to stop thinking about it. Even after reading all these articles, it has not fully grasped my expectations as for attaining social confidence. How can i break out of the habit of emotionally reacting to one scene of event after another in which attributes to my life?

    • Ted, I’m afraid that’s gonna keep happening if you use external stimuli (like an article) to boost your positive feelings. Because they always lose their effect. You need to change your automatic thinking patterns to see lasting change in your emotional reactions. I talk about this in more detail here: http://www.socialconfidencesecrets.com

  10. bt he loves me a lot lot. i know tht. wht will i do?

  11. u see he’s my childhood best friend. he’s nt a toxic guy. bt after this complexity…he’s changed…i love him a lot.

  12. Thank you for that wonderful article. hope at least this one helps me to sort myself out…and i agree with Mark. All these problems rises from comparison!!

  13. Hey! Eduard. I hav a friend he is very shy 2 express himself. He is always quite n when told to talk gets very nervous n shivers. He cannot talk to nem people. He is vry vry vry vry shy person. Anyone can force him to do anything n he is so afraid to say no. He runs away when told to talk to girjz. Please help me so that i be able to help him. N when i say him about his problems he tries to avoid it n his palms bcom full of sweat… Please help.

  14. i’m a wife…i’m jealous with my husband friend and it really sucks and he keep me telling that i have this inferiority complex. he keeps on working yet never give a moment for us… he had a lack time for us yet he inserts friends who i get trouble with him all the time… am i really having this psychological behavior? my husband basis is that i was insecure with him… but i’m not. its just seeing him with his friend with that big smile and giving them a ’til dawn company really makes me blow. and i hate him mingling with pretty girls, which i found myself out from their class. all i wanted him to spend time with us, most basically with me… please enlighten me.

    • Mechelle, I don’t think u have an inferiority complex, I think u r justified in your feelings and thoughts. He is giving u reason to doubt where u r in your relationship. U should come first and b4 everyone else in his life. he is treating u horribly. He is not being faithful to u or to the vows u both took.

  15. i am happy discover that i m a victim of inferiority complex..i hate this.. i want to get rid of thiis.. but i have very less conviction on me.. i think i need to build my self confidence……..

  16. Many inferiority complex people have reasons for being so and although they know how it fucks up their lives, they can’t just let it go so they get stuck in it. Basically i’m this type of person and the worst thing that bothers me lot is i know the facts but i can’t fight it.
    Most of the time i think about the things that lack in my life and most important one is not having a girlfriend, it really annoys me and make me even more inferior. İ’ve been searching for an answer for this problem but i’m never be able to find any solution for it. İ actually can’t figure out what it takes to get one!!!

  17. Shy person or not there is no big difference when got that feeling you might think you are the worthless human in the world.
    Inferiority complex being part of my life for years. Positif thinking is the key to survive in hard time. Wait your “moment” when you become superior. Show them that you are “exist” in this world. The teory is easy but very difficult to practice it. Use all chances to get the moment even the small one.

  18. I don’t know if I have an inferiority complex, though it has crossed my mind briefly several times throughout my life. I don’t think other people are better than me. I know I’m a pretty girl, but when I was little (most of grade school, until mid-high school) I always had a problem taking compliments because to me they sounded insincere. In my mind I always feared they were trying to trick me, like, “let’s see how gullible that girl is.” I used school to give me confidence, I would strive to be the best because then I knew they weren’t better then me. I was good at/for something. When boys complimented me, I always assumed non of them could “like” me, and it was just a cruel joke to see who could trick me. Then that went away after I got my first boyfriend. But I was still sensitive to criticism from people close to me (Mom, Dad, boyfriend). Now over the course of my second relationship, I’ve fallen back into my “everyone’s trying to trick me” mindset. Whenever my boyfriend compliments me, I don’t believe him, and when ever he criticizes me (no matter how light) I go off the deep end. Is this inferiority complex behavior, or something else?

  19. Great article, I enjoyed reading this and think there are many helpful points and words of advice that can assist those in need of overcoming some sort of psychological shortcomings. My only disputing argument would be your opinion on the whole, “being yourself, meditation and better self visualization techniques being as you put it, “useless bullshit”. I have to disagree here because although it did not work for you and help in overcoming your inferiority complex, you are deterring others that may actually gain from giving it a try. After all, we are different and unique in our very own ways. I for one can say this approach worked very well for me as I was able to go within myself and really get to know myself and learn to love myself for who I was. I was able to get to the root of a lot of built up emotions that were covered up with layers and layers of protection from those very troubling emotional blocks that had stopped me from progressing and growing into the person I truly was at a young age (mainly our teen years). Once I was able to do this through meditation, I was able to relate to others more easily and really understood that we are all one. I learned to not try and impress myself to others when the truth is, the ones that really cared about me, didn’t care what I looked like or what I had or what I could do. I felt free. So I for one can say this technique worked for me and I would say that in the future maybe you might wanna weigh in these possibilities and offer them to people as an option but also let them know that it did not work for you but others have been know to have success. Just my two cents. Again great post, because at the end of the day you are raising awareness on a issue that has great ramifications regarding the lives we live issues that are normally ignored and mistreated and for that I thank you. Peace.

  20. Can something be done about MY inferiority complex? I mean, I am not confident, and cannot make effective conversations with others… My mom is really tired of me because of this behavior of mine. Whenever I go to a party or some other event, I feel like every body else is wearing better clothes than me. It becomes more worse when I see that nobody there is fat except me… I want to make friends and enjoy my life, but I don’t know how. Please help me…
    (And please ignore my bad use of English. I don’t know much of it. Thank you)

  21. I am an unfortunate victim of Inferiority Complex for so long a time now and it has horrifically suppressed my natural abilities. I believe this scrutinized procedures provided here will assist in defeating this plague in my life.

  22. i want to say that inferiority complex also is brought about as a result of one deformity or the other while a child is grwing up,this in turn creates a low self esteem in the child wherby he sees his/herself inferior to others…..so he or she tries to avoid coming close to people or doing something in common with them,have also discovered that at the end of this this set of people authomaticallt turns out quiet and reserved not because they are dumb,this set of people often get static in life not because they dont knw the way foward but because they cant afford to face accept themselves for who they really are….

    • I agree. I believe that it is instilled in us as we were younger, and now we r experiencing the effects of it. it stinks. I hate it. I think there’s more to it than that though, also. Feelings r hard to dismiss and not live by. So, how do u find the correct way, the healthy way to live having your feelings dumped on all the time??

  23. I think I finally just realized my diagnosis after years of searching. This describes me more than I realized. I have been thru Cog Behave therapy but never understood it’s purpose in the way it was explained in this article. I will be reading up more on it!

  24. Overcomer says:

    Lets all turn 2 God…..cos hav discovered dat no amount of terapy or training will make us better,except we all turn 2 God….His arms are wide open..nd waitin us…..

    • Sorry to burst your Jesus bubble, but I was able toovercome it without the help of god. Having god helps but what can I say, sometimes you have to do it on your own

  25. Thanks a lot for this article.

    “Proper diagnosis of a problem is half the cure”. In other words, knowing we all have our topic of discussion as a real challenge/problem at some phases in our lives is the starting point to getting a lasting solution. Human developments are in phases, and we can become anything if we have the daring belief. Truly, all challenges/problems and real solution(s) starts from our belief. If we could perfect our handwriting as a kid to that of an adult, we can perfect our situations for the better too. Peace out!

  26. Yes , it is the problem i m suffering .i m less confident ,inferiority about looks , cant talk to people , i m too silent, i think i have great abilities better than others but because of this inferiority comlex , anexity cant use it properly ….i sometimes think i have two personalities …one who people sees …and other in my mind who want to do be free do what i want but cant do it because of this inferiority comlpex………i think no one can help me other than myself ………thanks for this article . ( today i found out that i m not wierd ……..we all are same inferiority suffering people so all the best guys , we will rock and we will win )

  27. Dee Kelley says:

    Excellent article! I am even going to step out and say that ‘inferiority complex’ is the real basis of explaining why so many individuals drop out of living their life and escape through chronic homelessness, crack, destructive relationships, prostitution, etc. Even the dialogue emerging now calling out everything as being racist can really be viewed, when you flip the coin, as that “oppressed minority” is living under the cloud of ‘inferiority complex.’ Unfortunately, California is wasting billions of taxpayers dollars in mental health funding by prescribing medication for so call mental health illness when addressing inferiority complex would be the better fit.

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