“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Inferior feelings are caused by low self-esteem, low self-concept, and low self-worth. We feel inferior to others because we are lacking in confidence and feel as if we don’t match up to the other person. This means inferiority often happens when a comparison is involved.
Feeling inferior can lead to depression. When you feel that you’re not worthy and that you are lesser of a person, of a lesser value and the others don’t care about you, you can fall into a pit of sadness and become depressed. It’s, therefore, crucial to develop coping mechanisms to help you to stop feeling inferior.
As Eleanor Roosevelt puts it, the reason we feel inferior has to do with us and not others. It has to do with how we perceive ourselves. As much as it’s not easy to hear this, others make you feel inferior because you allow them to.
How you react to words and events influence how inferior you feel. So how can you stop feeling inferior, improve your self-concept, self-esteem, and self-worth?
First, let’s look at what makes you feel inferior
1. Caring too much about the opinion of others
If you are constantly thinking about what others think of you, every small comment or gestor will lead you to self-hate and even doubt yourself. You start feeling inferior to the people you feel are constantly judging you.
2. Taking things too personal
If you have a thin skin and you take everything happening around you too personal, you are likely to take offense very quickly. As a result, you will constantly feel as if the whole world is working against you.
Learn not to personalize every comment or event that happens around you. Instead, separate events from yourself and dismiss comments that are not intended for you.
This era of social media increases comparison and you might find yourself a victim. When you see others posting on social media about their happy lives and you start thinking that you are not as happy as they are, you feel inferior.
You forget that people that post on social media don’t post their low moments but their highlights, and you are being unfair to yourself when you compare your normal day with other people’s highlights.
Further, not all the things you see on social media are true. Most people fabricate their photos to show how fabulous their lives are this is not often true.
4. Belief in social ranks
If you believe in social ranks, how you feel inside is influenced by how you perceive your social status to be. If you feel inferior to people of 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 out to resentment.
5. Expecting perfectionism
If you expect perfection from yourself, everything that you do will never be good enough. The more you feel that you are not good enough, the more inferior you will feel. Expecting perfectionism from yourself is being unfair to yourself.
If you are often judging others, chances are that you often feel judged as well. We tend to be more judging to people who remind us of something we feel inferior about.
When you meet others and the first thing that comes to your mind is finding something wrong about them, you think the same thing happens when others meet you. You feel inferior all the time since you assume others judge you at the same rate that you judge them.
7. Low self-worth
Your self-concept influences your personality. 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.
You fail to contribute or to be yourself since you are afraid that others will not appreciate you for who you are. Often, you can find yourself adopting a different persona that will make you feel a bit more confident and the more you add on a fake personality, the more inferior you will feel as you are afraid of being discovered and unveiled.
How to stop feeling inferior
1) Stop with the comparison
Comparison is the thief of joy
You feel inferior because you often compare yourself with others that you perceive as ‘superior’. You, therefore, should learn to stop comparing yourself to others.
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. You will find all the things that are not happening to you but are happening to others.
Are you feeling inferior compared to those successful than you financially? Are you feeling inferior compared to those who have started families but you still haven’t met someone? Are you feeling inferior to people with homes and you can’t see one coming your way soon?
Comparison will always show you of people who are doing better than you. You forget that first, they may be doing well in one area and poorly in other areas.
Secondly, we measure success differently and what makes you happy is different from what makes that person happy. Thirdly, you forget that our paths are crafted differently. Your path is not drawn as that of the next person.
To stop feeling inferior, reduce comparison. Focus on working on yourself and being content with what you have as you work towards the next thing.
2) Expand your knowledge
If you lack confidence in your knowledge, this may lead to feeling inferior. Imagine having a conversation with individuals about certain topics and you wish you knew more in the area but you don’t.
As a result, you feel out of place and inferiority kicks in. you cannot know everything about every topic, but you can focus on expanding your knowledge in areas that interest you.
Work on improving your knowledge in areas that matter to you and you can choose ignorance in areas that are not of your interest. For example, I can hold my end of a conversation on topics such as management, leadership, and psychology.
However, I can’t say much when it comes to football. A conversation that is taking place about football will not make me feel inferior, I will confidently say I am not interested in football and I would rather not comment on the topic.
Declining to talk about something you are not familiar with is also holding your end of the conversation, and it will not leave me feeling inferior.
3) Improve your skills in your area
Improve your skills and expertise in your area. You can feel inferior when others doubt your skills and yet you say you are an expert in a certain 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.
4) Work on your goals
Know what you want and work towards it. In his book, No Excuses, the power of self-discipline, Brian Tracy says that working on our goals gives us a boost of confidence.
You feel better about yourself if you spend your 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.
Inferiority is often a result of low confidence and therefore the more you feel confident, the more you stop feeling inferior.
5) Improve your appearance
I hope this doesn’t sound vain but 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, eat well and exercise, groom your hair, etc. when you are confident that you look good, you will not feel out of place when interacting with others and this boost of confidence will make you stop feeling inferior.
6) Don’t think of life as a competition
You should realize that 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. Try to be a better person than you were yesterday and when you see how much improvement you have made on your life, you will feel much better about yourself and beat that inferiority complex.
7) Unlearn some beliefs
One of the most common reasons we feel inferior is because we have developed some beliefs that people with certain characteristics are superior to others. The society may have taught us that people with 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.
8) Work on your self-awareness
Self-awareness is when you take an honest look at your life and explore your past and present, your emotions and thoughts, your self-concept and self-identity. Self-awareness will help you develop a full understanding of who you are, your strengths and your limitations.
When you are self-aware, you are so in sync with yourself that no one can bring you down. No one can use your shortcomings against you since you are aware of them and you have accepted them.
9) Don’t focus on the negatives
If you focus on the negatives and your limitations, you will see just that, limitations. You will think about all the things that are ‘wrong’ with you. Instead, focus on your strengths.
Constantly remind yourself of your strengths and not obsess about your weaknesses all the time. You may not be so great in one area but you are great in another, take this as a source of pride and allow yourself to feel good about it.
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.
10) Be kind to yourself
Avoid criticizing yourself constantly. Sometimes we are our own enemies when we get inside our heads and constantly criticize ourselves for all the things we have done wrong and all our shortcomings.
Learn to be kinder to yourself. If you wouldn’t want someone calling you dumb and useless, then don’t do that to yourself either.
If you are not where you would like to be and this is making you feel inferior, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, appraise yourself for the far that you have come and appreciate your efforts.
The harder you are on yourself, the more you will feel inferior since you will think others are judging you as harshly as you are judging yourself.