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Dealing with Feelings of Inferiority

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you believe that and act on it, you will empower yourself. As Eleanor says, the reason we feel inferior has everything to do with us and not others. It has to do with how we perceive ourselves. When we compare ourselves to others and feel we don’t match up, inferiority results.


Feeling inferior can lead to crippling depression. It is critical, then, to discover how to work with your inferior feelings.First, let’s think about what makes you feel inferior:

  • Caring too much about the opinion of others. If you are always thinking about what others think about you, you will doubt yourself and feel badly about people you think are constantly judging you.

  • Taking things too personally. If you have a thin skin and take offense easily, you will feel as if the whole world is against you.

  • Comparison. Taking social media seriously increases comparison. We forget that everything you see is not true and that people are posting their best moments.

  • Belief in social ranking. If you feel inferior to people of a certain social status, you believe you are lower than them and you start behaving submissively. This will lead to increasing inferiority, which may even turn into resentment.

  • Expecting perfection. If you expect perfection from yourself, nothing you do will never be good enough.

  • Judgment. If you are often judging others, chances are that you often feel judged as well. We tend to judge people who remind us of something we feel inferior about.

  • Low self-worth. If you have a low self-concept, you experience low esteem and low confidence. You believe that you are not good enough and will often feel inferior in the presence of others.

For most of us these kinds of feelings are very much situational and occasional. When they pop up, we may brood about them for a while, but then we move on and find other ways to feel secure, engaged, and productive. But when the feelings are chronic, you have what psychologists call an inferiority complex. You are likely to call yourself names, moan about your shortcomings continually, attack and criticize yourself continuously. You have a pervasive feeling of “less than,” and it holds you back personally and professionally.


But you can curb theses unhealthy responses, overcome the distress, rebuild your life, and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Of course, you may discover you need professional counseling if you can’t motivate yourself to get going with change. But most people can take these steps themselves and take a giant leap forward.


End the comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy. You feel inferior because you often compare yourself with others that you perceive as “superior.” There will always be people greater than you in some areas and lesser than you in others. If you focus on comparison, you deny yourself joy.


Expand your knowledge. Work on improving your knowledge in areas that matter to you, and you can choose ignorance in areas you’re not interested in. Just listening, and not adding to something you are not familiar with, is also holding your end of the conversation, and it will not leave you feeling inferior.


Improve your skills in your area. It’s important that you build your skills in your area of work and interest so that you can hold your end in a conversation and give an opinion. If someone criticizes your work for example, if you feel inferior, you will not take the criticism so well.

On the other hand, if you are confident in your skills, you can handle criticism and seek feedback on how you can improve on the mentioned areas.


Work on your goals. Know what you want and work toward it. Brian Tracy says that working on our goals gives us a boost of confidence. You feel better about yourself if you spend time working on improving the quality of your life. The more you work on your goals, the better you feel and the closer you get to your goals, and this increases your confidence.


Improve your appearance. Sometimes you feel as well as you look. Basic grooming can improve your mood and boost your confidence. Work on dressing a bit better, being in shape, eating well and exercising, groom your hair, etc.


Refuse to think of life as a competition. Everyone is on their own unique journey, and we are unique and different. If you take life as a competition, you will always feel the need to compete with others, and, of course, there will always be people doing better than you. The more you weigh your competition, the more inferior you will feel. The only person you need to compete with is yourself.


Unlearn some beliefs. Society may have taught us that people of certain races, color, social status, and the like are superior. As a result, every time you are in their presence, you feel inferior. If you have such beliefs, unlearn them.


Work on self-awareness. Take an honest look at your life, your past and present, your emotions and thoughts, your self-concept and self-identity. When you develop a full understanding of who you are, your strengths and your limitations, you will be so in sync with yourself that no one can bring you down.


Don’t focus on the negatives. If you focus on the negatives and your limitations, you will see all the things that are “wrong” with you. Instead, focus on your strengths. Accept that we all can’t be great at everything, and teach yourself not to feel inferior simply because you are not good in some areas.


Decide to be kind to yourself. Sometimes we are our own enemies when we get inside our heads and constantly criticize ourselves for all our shortcomings. If you wouldn’t want someone calling you dumb and useless, then don’t do that to yourself either. It’s far better to be realistic and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.


You are not inferior. Teach yourself not to feel and act like it.

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