Jenny is serving Thanksgiving dinner with her family. Her husband asks:
“Jenny, why are you roasting the turkey cut in half?”
“That is how is supposed to be done” she replied, “My mother does it this way, my grandmother does it this way; it is the right way to do it.”
“I don’t know, it is the tradition in my family, maybe symbolizes that we eat too much these days, or to have the leftovers looking beautiful and neat because we never eat more than half.”
Getting curious about the meaning of cutting the turkey in two, Jenny asks her mother why do they have that tradition.
“I don’t know, but it has to mean something important, my mom has done it always that way.”
Now, Jenny’s mother is curious too and asks her mother:
“Mum, why are we cutting the turkey in two?”
“Why are we cutting the turkey in two?”
“It doesn’t fit” the grandmother replays smiling.
“What is that mean? Do we eat too much? Are we too greedy? Not grateful enough? Does it symbolize that others don’t have enough? What is it?”
“All of that is true, but that is not the reason.”
“Then, what is it?”
“I told you, it doesn’t fit. When I was younger, we had a tiny oven, so I had to cut the turkey to fit it in; when we got a bigger oven, I forgot why I’m doing it and just did it that way.”
People around you have limited knowledge and capabilities. Therefore, they are telling you as much as they know or understand. Listening and learning only from a handful of people is limiting your horizon and perspective.
If you have an inferiority complex the chances are that, as a child, you’ve been listening and taking on board the opinion, advice, beliefs, and knowledge of that handful of people that limited your horizon and perspective.
Those people told you “you are not good enough” and you believed them. They said to you “you are weak” and you believed them. They yelled at you “you are not capable” and you believed them. They advised you “you should be like [someone else]” and you believe them. They told you “[ X person] is better than you” and you believed them.
The reality is this:
- What people are saying about you is a subjective opinion limited by their knowledge and power of comprehension
- Ten people have ten different views about you none of which is really you
- Some people see in you only what is convenient for them
- Feeling inferior is something that you learned to feel about yourself and not how you (actually) are
- Whatever you learned, you can unlearn and discover the truth
- You are much more capable than you might think
Embrace who you are and give yourself the chances, the opportunities, and the knowledge to become whoever you want to be; you are much more capable than you might think.
If you have an inferiority complex, it means that you see yourself through the rearview mirror: much smaller than you are. It is time to break that mirror and bring seven years of good luck into your life. Only a tiny fraction of being and feeling lucky is due to chance; the rest is your merit.
Luck is what you create by:
- Liking who you are
- Taking advantage of your knowledge and skills
- Living up to your potential
- Surrounding yourself with people that accept, like, appreciate and love you as you are
- Conquering your fears and moving toward what you want even when you lack the confidence to do it
- Being at the right time in the right place
- Offering compassion and understanding to yourself
- Being open to change
- Believing that no matter what you lack in, you are compensating for it with something else
- Forgiving your former self: it is unfair to judge who you were with the knowledge you have today; you did the best you knew how
There are three main reasons for feeling inferior to others:
First (external reason), comparing yourself to others
Second (external reason), learning from others how to define yourself
Third (internal reason), expecting the impossible from yourself; setting for yourself standards so high that almost no human can reach
How to overcome an inferiority complex:
1. Are you comparing yourself to others?
If I tell you:
stop comparing yourself to others you, most probably, will do it anyway; not because you enjoy tormenting yourself; nor because you might not get that you are unique and precious; nor because, perhaps, you are a very competitive person.
The human mind gives value and worth to people and things by making comparisons and statistics. Therefore, you can’t stop comparing yourself to others; it is the human nature, and it works rather well when you know how to channel and use it the right way.
Use comparison to your advantage
How are you choosing the right dishwasher, car, or house for you? You compare them to whatever else is available. Right?
However, are you comparing a car to a house? Are you comparing the beauty of the night sky to being healthy? Are you comparing your love for your family to your heartache for a hungry child living in a distant country?
There are things that you can’t compare. There are things that you shouldn’t compare. And some things are losing their value if compared the wrong way.
Compare yourself to others as a tool to improve yourself and not to push yourself down.
Take into consideration the whole you! You, with your abilities, past, circumstances, advantages, and disadvantages that life offered you.
Limit your comparison to those things that you want to be better at, things that you can do something about, things that can be useful in some way.
“I’m shorter than most supermodels.” That is a useless and unfair comparison. Is it not? Plus, can you determine in how many other areas apart from height are you better than those people? Not to mention that the height (our example) is not your merit, nor your fault. You see? Useless and unfair!
That is another example of a pointless and unjust comparison unless you have the desire and NEED to discover how can you upgrade your living conditions.
When you are comparing yourself to others, answer these questions before jumping to the conclusion that they are better than you, and you might be surprised to discover that, after all, you are just perfect as you are.
Find out the validity of the thing you are comparing:
- Is it useful in any way?
- Can you learn something out of it? Can you improve your life making that comparison?
- What is it for? What is the purpose?
- How did you get to the level you are today on the subject you’re comparing? How many limitations have you conquered? How many goals have you achieved? How many obstacles have you crossed over? How many resources you didn’t have and yet you did it?
- What/who makes you feel the need to make that comparison?
- Is it fair, considering your past, circumstances, resources, disadvantages, and timing?
As a general rule, any comparison that doesn’t help to make your life better, that doesn’t empower you, that doesn’t teach you something, it’s useless and unfair.
2. Discover and define who you are
If you suffer from the inferiority complex, most likely, you don’t know who you are, and you allow other to define that for you.
Listen, we are not all smart, good-looking and wealthy, but we are all special, unique and deserving of a happy and prosperous life.
Whatever you might lack in, you are compensating for it with something else: if you’re not the most good-looking person in the room, perhaps, you are the smartest; if you’re not the wealthiest person, perhaps, you are the most good-hearted.
Whatever you might lack in, you are compensating for it with something else; never doubt that and never take for granted who and how you are. You have put a lot of effort, work, and dedication into that.
It didn’t just happen for you to be a good person; it didn’t just happen for you to be who you are today and it will not just happen to be who you will be tomorrow.
Discover who you are and give yourself the deserved credit and merit for it because it didn’t just happen out of nowhere; you have worked, suffered, enjoyed, build, improved and overcome many things to be who you are. Is it not?
Define who you are and who you’re not, otherwise, others are doing it for you based on subjective and, many times, uninformed or incomplete information.
Whoever you are, it is good enough. It is good enough and enough to build the future you, to build whoever you want to be.
Maybe you don’t feel that way right now (that you are enough); however, believe what I’m telling you: each of us is enough at each stage of our life to move forward to the next one. Why is that? Wanting more or something different is not the same as not being enough.
Buying a piece of land, for example, is enough to feel financial comfort. If you want to build a house on it, doesn’t mean that your land has no, or at least, the same value.
I’m not going to tell you “just believe in yourself” because these are empty words if you doubt yourself. However, I’m telling you that, regardless of what you believe about yourself, stand up and start walking. Start building on the piece of land you have; start dreaming, set goals and make the steps to get where you want to be.
Stand up and start walking and the belief in yourself will undoubtedly come from the successes you have, the goals you accomplish, the dreams you get to live.
- Are you, really, not enough? Who told you so? Whose voice is telling you that in your head over and over again? Who is living, rent-free, inside of your mind covering your self-image with dirt and lies?
- What do you know well how to do? And how can you improve those skills?
- How many other exciting and fulfilling thing can you accomplish?
- What are your skills and talents used at, the best?
- What are your positive character traits?
Get curious, stand up and start walking. Prove yourself and others that you can, because until you’re trying something, you never know how great you can be (at it).
Did others teach you how to doubt yourself, how to feel inferior to others, how to be overly self-conscious, how to put yourself down? Break free from those teachings, lies, and misjudgments! Break free and define for yourself who you are and who you’re not.
Walk this earth with the self-confidence that no matter what life puts in front of you, you find ways to deal with it (as you’ve done in the past!!!). Value who you are and know that you are enough. Shatter and get out of viewing yourself in the rearview mirror. You are not small; you are not insignificant; you don’t need pity; you deserve admiration, acceptance, love, and respect.
3. Be reasonable about what you expect from yourself
Your self-expectations are setting how satisfied you feel about yourself and your life.
If you set the expectation to change your life overnight, for example, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, and the result might be far from what you dreamed of achieving.
Set reasonable self-expectations. Dream big but set doable self-expectations.
Unfulfilled unrealistic self-expectations can:
- Lower your self-esteem
- Make you feel inferior to others
- Cause you disappointment and distrust in your abilities and skills
- Stop trying again or finishing what you started
- Give even more power to your false belief that you are not good enough
Setting self-expectations is a good thing. It is a driving force and powerful motivation. However, be reasonable about what you expect from yourself.
Overcome your inferiority complex by:
- Use comparisons to grow and improve yourself
- Discover who you are
- Set achievable self-expectations and learn to make the distinction between a process that is not working and you as a person
Remember that feeling inferior to others is something that you learned and not who you are.
Give yourself the chances, the opportunities and the knowledge to prove to yourself how amazing you can be.