Welcome to my blog “Anna’s Styles”. Thank you for visiting and reading my blog posts. If you are new here, this is my safe space for sharing my experiences and thoughts. You are welcome to discuss and interact with me and other readers.
Today, I will be writing on “Inferiority Complex”. Particularly, how I overcame my inferiority complex.
What Is the Inferiority Complex?
In psychology, an inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others. For me, it is a constant feeling that I am not as good, as intelligent, or attractive as other people. Inferiority complex can take many forms; academic, personality, physical, mental, and financial inferiority complex. Whatever form, it is that constant whisper at the back of your mind that you are not as good as others or can never have what they have. It is not the same as noticing that someone is better than you, because we all meet people who are better than us. It is how you respond to the feelings of seeing someone better than you. Do you feel motivated? Or do you feel worthless? Do you feel inspired? Or do you feel inferior and inadequate?
When Did My Inferiority Complex Begin?
In the early stages of my life, I received little attention from my parents(I have never blamed them for that). My mother was a student(a freshman studying pharmacy) and my dad lived in another state. We had financial problems and it was tough for us. Because of this, I didn’t have most of the things that my friends had. One particular incident that sparked this constant feeling of inadequacy happened in 3rd grade. MY MUM SHAVED MY HAIR. I arrived at school with a bald head. All of my classmates made fun of me. I was the only girl in class with a shaved head. For weeks, I spent time alone in class during breaks because I felt ugly and different.
It is extremely hard to recall my childhood events. However, I can remember that my mother told me at a certain time that I had an inferiority complex. I would always compare everything given to me with others. Was my toy big enough? Did my parents get me the best dress? If I didn’t have the best things, I would not be happy with whatever I had.
When I got to high school, my inferiority complex got the best of me. I was in a gifted school. A highly selective school for gifted and talented students in Nigeria. Yet, I sucked at maths. It seemed like I didn’t fit in or I wasn’t good enough to be there. And again, my mom shaved my hair in 7th grade. To make matters worse, I was bullied and body shamed by my classmates. I didn’t feel pretty, smart, or worthy. I felt like I was intellectually, physically, and socially inferior to my friends.
This caused the slightest criticism to affect me greatly. I couldn’t take no for an answer. I wanted everything I did to be perfect. I believe that my dedication to certain things in high school was a result of my inferiority complex. I became a perfectionist. I had one ultimate goal. To be better than everyone. And this is the worst mentality anyone can have. I hid the real me from my friends and the world, in an attempt to fit in and be like everyone else. I thought of myself as an unacceptable and unworthy person. Seeing people happy made me feel more miserable because I wasn’t happy and I knew it. But I also didn’t know how to be happy.
I would study ahead of all my teachers and lessons. In class, I would spend an incredible amount of time showing off to everyone that I knew everything about the topic. My goal was to make everyone feel like I was better than them. Whatever I did, I worked beyond hard to be the best. If I wasn’t the best, I felt like I did nothing. I put in my best for most of my activities, but not for passion. I simply wanted to be better than everyone else.
When Did I Realize I Needed Help?
In tenth grade, I participated in a debate competition between the 104 Unity Schools In Nigeria. It lasted for one year. During the time we were practicing for this competition, I made friends with people and bonded with some of them. I discovered within a short time that I loved our team spirit. It made me happy to work together with them. I didn’t want to be the best. I wanted US to be the best. By contributing and sharing ideas, I understood that I didn’t always have to be alone or do things alone. When the time for the chief speaker was selected, I was selected to lead a team of six. That particular incident changed me. I was shocked. My team believed I was the best. They thought I was capable of leading them to victory. I know it’s sort of wrong, but their approval of me made me realize that I was better than I thought. Eventually, we emerged 4th out of 104 schools. Everyone praised us. I was recognized, but not as the girl who sucked in maths, but as the girl who led her team to victory. This period of my life sparked a better understanding of life. I recognized that I was good enough. And by doing the things I loved, I would be happy. I acknowledged that I needed help, and began to work towards it.
How Did I Overcome My Inferiority Complex?
- Identifying The Things That Triggered My Inferiority Complex: The first step I took towards overcoming my inferiority complex was identifying the things that made me feel inferior. Maths, my looks, my grades, my family, and my finances. I made a complete list of these things.
- I Turned To Books: I have always found a way to deal with my problems through books. I read Social Anxiety: 7 Easy Ways To Overcome Your Inferiority Complex Today. This book provided insights into what an inferiority complex looks like and how it develops. I found most of the things written in this book to be true. From each chapter, I was able to create an inferiority complex challenge. I began this challenge in late 2019.
- I Began To Make Fewer Comparisons: I knew what triggered my inferiority complex. I was constantly comparing myself to people. Did they look prettier than me? Did they pass the maths test that I failed? I used to constantly overburden myself with these questions. I decided to make fewer comparisons. Some incidents helped me to understand that everyone was on their path. I couldn’t be everyone. And equally, my classmates could not be me. We had our differences, and the things that I hated about myself, were the things that made me unique from everyone else.
- I Practiced Gratitude: I have been previously criticizing myself. It was time for a change. I was determined to find the things that I was good at. Surprisingly, I discovered I was great at many things. I was an athlete(the only asthmatic student on the team), I was good at writing, I was good at biology, and excelled in English classes. I was called for several school competitions and I was voted for class representative. I began to appreciate the things that I did, acknowledging that several people in school could not do them. I began to enjoy doing these things and focused more on making myself proud than others.
- I Began To Challenge My Mind: There is something that always happens in your mind if you have an inferiority complex. I call it “A mind challenge.” Even when you don’t notice things, your mind does that for you. Your mind will constantly remind you that you are not good enough. Even while I was working on myself, I was dealing with my mind. It was a fierce challenge. It was extremely hard to look at myself in the mirror and offer myself positive affirmations. I would give in to my mind sometimes, but on some days, I wouldn’t. It was a constant battle of yes or no, good or bad, pretty or ugly, right or wrong, worthy or unworthy. Trust me, if you are at this phase, don’t give up. It is the hardest part of dealing with an Inferiority complex. The next point helps you deal with your mind completely.
- I Accepted My Flaws: My mind was bent on reminding me about my flaws and how I sucked. Then, I accepted everything. I accepted that I had flaws, but they didn’t make me unacceptable. I agreed that I sucked, but I also agreed that many more people in this world sucked. I accepted that I wasn’t so good at maths, but I was good at English. I agreed that my parents couldn’t afford most things, but they were able to send me to a gifted school. I accepted my flaws and embraced them. I accepted that nobody was perfect. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “Wow, you have come a long way!”
Once I had successfully accepted myself, I discovered how lucky I was. I became inspired by my own story. I realized how hard I have worked to be a better person and I decided to dedicate my time to helping other people. I wished to enable them to soar above their constant self-disapproval. And as I publish this post today, I hope that it will help someone out there.
There’s nothing wrong with you. You need to understand that everyone in this world is inferior in one way or the other. You are beautiful, special, and wonderful. You need to appreciate the things you have. You need to identify your strengths and focus on developing them. Your weaknesses and strengths make you unique. There would be no you without them. Trying to change or presenting a false side of yourself to people will not help you become better. It would crush your mind instead.
Stay away from people that constantly remind you that you are not good enough. Such people are bitter and often feel better about themselves by belittling others. Give yourself a chance. Don’t forget that you are superior to several people in many aspects. The inferiority you feel is made up in your head. Go out and enjoy the things you love.
The feeling of inferiority and superiority are the same. They both come from fear. So when someone is trying to make you feel inferior about yourself, you need to understand that they are scared of your abilities. Secretly, they wish to be you. You may not be the prettiest, smartest, or strongest, but don’t pretend to be someone you are. That is the first step towards an unhappy life.
Finally, I want you to know this. NOBODY IS SUPERIOR. NOBODY IS INFERIOR. BUT NOBODY IS EQUAL EITHER. PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY UNIQUE, AND INCOMPARABLE. YOU ARE YOU. I AM I.