THE INFERIORITY COMPLEX

For fear of humiliation and through the act of self inflicted timidity many people who would have become a source of light  and responsible force to recon with in their community are seen to quieten themselves into a low profiled individuals with relatively little or nothing to contribute to the progress of such community.

This set of people aside being timid often time overestimate other people’s mental and physical capabilities over theirs.

They see themselves as incapable of competing with others even when deep down in their mind they know that there is something they possess that could project them to the frontline, far higher than their equals. They fear criticism, disapproval, and mockery and as thus remain confined in their self constructed shell of inaction.

They indulge in wishful thinking and when it come to reality, are seen to recoil into deep silent that is orchestrated by a rousing conflict between the ”desire” to be recognized and the ”fear” of being humiliation.

They are engulfed by lack of self worth, doubt, and zero confidence with their mind being clouded by uncertainty and as such are easily persuaded to be in agreement of whatever ideas are being delibrated at any point in time as they can’t trust themselves to give a valid opinion. This unconsciously pushes them into aberrant social behaviors characterised by negative feeling that invariably drift them into depression.

The feeling of incompetence, worthlessness, inadequacy, fear of humiliation, and lack of confidence is aptly described as inferiority complex.

It arises as earlier stated from a conflict between the desire to be recognised and appreciated and the apprehension of being humiliated.

However, the above described characteristics of inferiority complex comes into play when it negatively affects the individual. Meaning that there are conditions where feeling inferior can lead to positive development and achievement. This occur when an individual taken into cognizance the feeling of inferiorty is motivated to work strongly and hardly to overcome his weakness. The driving force behind this is the inherent attempt to compensate which invariably result to either spectacular achievement or extreme antisocial behaviors.

What determines whether the feeling of inferiority becomes a motivational factor to better personality or a pathway to deteriorating self worth is the level or degree to which it takes over the individual’s life.

Alfred Adler who pioneered the early work in this field described it thus;

“An inferiority complex is an extremely deep feeling of inferiority that can lead to pessimistic resignation and an assumed inability to overcome difficulties. Unlike a normal feeling of inferiority, which can act as an incentive for achievement, an inferiority complex is an advanced state of discouragement, often resulting in a retreat from difficulties.

This neurosis is caused by an attempt to attain an extremely unrealistic personality ideal, while, at the same time, the belief in one’s own significance has already been severely shaken by a deep-seated sense of inferiority. On the other hand, an inferiority complex can lead to successful overachievement accompanied by self-imposed social ostracism, as the individual is pushed to extremes to overcompensate for their perceived inferiority while believing that others see them only in terms of that inadequacy”.

Inferiority feeling is of two types, which are;

1. Primary inferiority.

2. Secondary inferiority.

A primary inferiority feeling is rooted in the young child’s original experience of weakness, helplessness and dependency. It is then aggravated by comparisons to siblings, older children and adults.

In Adler’s postulation he said that as a result of initial helplessness, an infant feels inferior and attempts to overcome feelings of incompletion by striving for a higher level of development. Feeling inferior, and compensating for that feeling, becomes the dynamic principle of motivation , moving an individual from one level of development to the next.

This striving he said, occurs continuously throughout life, beginning in infancy, as children become aware of their inadequacies, especially when comparing themselves to older children and adults.
Adler described the resulting experience of feeling inferior was as a “minus situation.” These inferiority feelings become the motivation for striving towards what he called “plus situations.”

A secondary inferiority feeling refers to an adult’s experience of being unable to reach an unconscious, compensatory, fictional, final goal of subjective security and success. The perceived distance from that goal leads to a “minus” feeling that could then prompt the recall of the original inferiority feeling. This composite of inferiority feelings could be experienced as overwhelming.

The problem with these feelings of inferiority is that the goal invented to relieve the original, primary feeling of inferiority actually causes the secondary feeling of inferiority. This vicious circle is common in those suffering from neurosis . The secondary inferiority feeling is exacerbated when the individual has adopted an unrealistically high or impossible compensatory goal. In addition to the distress of not achieving this goal, the residue of the original, primary feeling of inferiority may still haunt an adult.

From the forgoing therefore it’s clear that the major difference between the primary inferiority and secondary inferiority is that
While the primary inferiority feeling is rooted in the childhood original experience of weakness, helplessness, and dependency, secondary inferiority feeling results from the adult’s experience of being unable to reach an unconscious, compensatory, fictional, final goal of subjective security and success.

HOW MAY I OVERCOME INFERIORITY COMPLEX ?

This can be achieved in three phases;

Firstly is to confront your feelings. Confronting your feelings means that you must;

  • Try to find the cause of your feelings. Search yourself truly and deeply,what are the reasons behind your inferiority feelings. It could be past traumatic events as rape, torture, abuse, e.t.c
  • Determine who and what you feel inferior to. Be specific and ask yourself questions as; 
  • Do I  feel inferior to attractive people? People with more money? Smarter people? Successful people? Try to go from one of those to a specific name of someone in your life.

When you figure that out, ask yourself how those people or that person isn’t superior to you. Can they sing better than you? Do the have your work ethic? Your caring attitude? Your family values? Are they as cheerful as you?

  • Break down your complex. Start with characteristics that you feel inferior about. Look at them logically, not emotionally. Are your perceived flaws that bad? If the answer is still yes, remember that everyone has traits they would like to improve. 

What you see as a flaw may not be so to someone else. No one may notice your large chin although it’s all you ever think about. You may think your baldness is a flaw, while some people find bald men sexy. You think your shape is not curvy enough but you should know a lot of people fancy it the way it is.

  • Understand that we’re all inferior in some ways. Everyone on earth is inferior to someone in some way. There isn’t one person who has everything. Although someone may be the most beautiful and rich person, there will be someone with more intelligence or more compassion. On the flip side, everyone is superior to others in some way. Everyone is a different combination of positive attributes and flaws. Understanding this concept can help you start to view yourself more realistically.

Secondly, change your thinking pattern.

  • Stop wanting to be like others. Inferiority complexes are rooted in the desire to be just like someone else. They make you want to be someone you’re not. If you try to be someone else, you aren’t being true to yourself. 

Define your true self, be an original and not a photocopy

  • Try not to worry about what others think. Inferiority complexes arise from our constant concern about what others think about us. We oftentimes find problems with ourselves based on if others find us good enough. This isn’t healthy thinking. Stop worrying so much about what others think about you.

  • Focus on your positive attributes. When you feel inferior, you put more emphasis on what you don’t have instead of what you do have. Everyone has positive qualities. Take an honest look at yourself and your life. Make a list of good things about yourself.

  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. People with inferiority complexes spend too much time comparing themselves to everyone around them. If you do this, you will come up with a never ending list of ways people are better than you. You are a unique personality and not in comparison with any body.

  • Don’t think in absolutes. Inferiority complexes make us think that if one thing could change, our lives would be great. We might think, “If only I was 20 pounds smaller, my life would be great” or “If only I had a better job, I’d be happier.” If you achieve these things, they will only provide temporary happiness, because deep down you will still be insecure. 

Material and superficial things, which many inferiority complexes thrive on, won’t magically fix the problem

  • Stop negative talk. Every day, you reinforce your inferiority complex by speaking negatively about yourself. When you say things like, “He doesn’t like me because I’m ugly” or “I won’t get this job because I’m not smart enough,” you are bringing yourself down and writing more negative, untrue beliefs onto your brain.

  • Build self-confidence. As you work through your inferiority complex, you need to start building self-confidence. Start by fixing your mental image of yourself. Inferiority complexes are based on false ideas about ourselves. Try to remind yourself that this image is false and doesn’t portray the reality.

Thirdly you need to making positive steps.

Don’t limit your social interactions. Inferiority complexes can result in you becoming withdrawn, anti-social, and shy. People with these complexes sometimes fear exposing themselves and opening up. You need to push yourself to interact with people. These feelings of inferiority are in your mind. The more you socialize with other people, the more you’ll understand that people aren’t judging you, making fun of you, or putting you down. You can learn to be comfortable and confident around people.

  • Surround yourself with positive people. The people we associate with can have a significant impact on our self-esteem. If you spend your time with negative people who are constantly criticizing, analyzing, and judging others, it will start to affect you. Instead, spend your time with people who are positive.

  • Continue working on yourself. One way to beat the feelings of inferiority is to continuously improve yourself. This can include anything. Work on developing work-related skills, try a new hobby, work on improving a current hobby, set an exercise goal, or start saving for that dream vacation. Work on making your life better and worthwhile.

  • Volunteer. One way to help you get a reality check is to get out and help other people and your community. 

  • Confront your biggest fears . Do the things you fear and the fear of it would disappear. Action is curative to fear