How To Overcome An Inferiority Complex …That Has Built Up Over The Years
While attempts to be successful (and become a superior individual) can in ways improve your life …they alone cannot eliminate feelings of inferiority.
External achievements (which is what being successful and being a superior individual are) can only paper over the deep issues associated with an inferiority complex …and in time will eventually wear away, leaving only the original set of inferior feelings.
An inferiority complex can never be eliminated by accumulating:
- Or social approval etc
…because these are only external validations. As easy as they come they can ultimately just as easily disappear too …leaving the inferiority complex intact.
Can affirmations fix this problem?
In short – no. Check out my article (Are affirmations just a gimmick?) for a full explanation of this.
You see, the same problem outlined above also applies to the use of affirmations directed at instilling confidence. The affirmation is simply a surface level fix …that does nothing to treat the underlying cause of feeling inadequate and unworthy.
In the short term they can bring a short burst of confidence …but they cannot create a true change in character. In much the same way as painting over a damp patch on a wall is only a superficial fix to the problem.
Ignoring, avoiding, or otherwise not addressing the root causes of an inferiority complex will ultimately lead to depression …as the conscious mind is not in alignment with the underlying emotions. Failing to address deep underlying emotional issues results in only short term solutions and inevitably leads to depression.
Ok, so how can I tackle the root causes?
The first step for dealing with feelings of inferiority is determining the root causes for these feelings.
The roots may be something fairly straightforward such as being called dumb or lazy as a child by an adult (who ironically is the real dumb individual for saying something like this to a child) …or more intangible like experiencing persistent rejection in your childhood.
After you have identified the root causes of your inferiority complex you can take the following steps to overcome it.
- Prevent Unnecessary Negative Self-Talk: Negative self talk basically consists of thoughts and phrases that you frequently say to yourself when confronting adversity. Expressions such as, “This is never going to work,” or “I always screw these things up,” create a pattern that leads to low self-esteem. Break this pattern!
- Don’t Blame Yourself For Others’ Ignorance: Never forget that a negative opinion about you is only as valuable as the person it came from. If a terrible teacher or otherwise sick adult called you worthless as a child it does not make it true in any way. As a child you had no way of knowing which opinions to value and which to ignore. Now as an adult you can take a second look at the opinions that have shaped your self-image for so long. It is likely with an adult’s perspective on things you will see that the negative opinions that have held such weight throughout your life are actually worthless. When you feel their weight on top of you, now you can choose to ignore them and disregard the people they have come from. Continue this cycle whenever they appear and begin to build a virtuous cycle of positive thinking that only gives weight to the opinions you truly value.
- Re-Assess Your Self-Image: Whereas in the example above, your image of others needed to be readjusted, it may also be the case that you need to take time to rethink your self-image. Often over time people’s self-image is so continuously distorted by the negative opinions of others that it no longer reflects the reality of who they are. Taking a step back, just as you did when you examined the people whose opinions affected you, to take a second look at yourself can reveal a real you that you didn’t know existed. If your inferiority complex has been based on a false or exaggerated belief that you are ugly or stupid then a mature and adult assessment of who you are will certainly help to end this inferiority complex.
- Remove Negative Labels That Have Built Up: After you have taken a good clean look at those who have labelled you …the next step is to remove the labels that you had identified with before. These negative labels were used to describe and exaggerate certain negative traits which over time you internalized as being your defining characteristics. Removing these labels to start clean is another step on the road in overcoming negative and inadequate feelings.
- Replace Negative Labels With New Ones: Now, it is time to use the same type of programming that had you internalize and reinforce such negative feelings about yourself to reprogram your thoughts for positivity and confidence. Take your best traits and apply those labels to yourself. Whenever you encounter adversity remember these labels and use them to build a repertoire of positive self-affirming thought patterns. If this process seems difficult to do on your own you may consider seeking the help of an NLP practitioner in person to increase the power of positive suggestion.