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Overcome Inferiority Complex


Guest articles > Overcome Inferiority Complex


by: Prakash Sutradhar


[For this article I have talked with more than 100 random peoples about their inferiority feelings. I won't mention any name but I will do share their experiences.]

  • He was a successful and intelligent person who has got lots of loving friends but whenever someone asks him about his caste he feels bad because he belongs to a lower caste.
  • She belongs to higher caste but whenever she confronts other girls she feels bad because she doesn't have fair skin.
  • She has fair skin and she is beautiful but whenever she meets someone who is rich she feels bad because she could not manage to become rich.
  • He is rich and whenever someone asks him about his qualification, he feels bad because he doesn't have that much education.
  • He is qualified, rich but whenever he sees loving couples he feels bad because he doesn't have a intimate relationship.
  • The list goes on .. all of them are experiencing inferiority complexes.

An inferiority complex, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. It is a set of beliefs about myself that I am always inferior or little less than the people around me. It is often subconscious and most of the time the person never knows why he is feeling inferior but he just feels that he lacks something.

Inferiority vs Inferiority Complex

Feeling inferior is good as it motivates the person to achieve success and it forces us to put our best effort to overcome that feeling of inferiority and often it leads to high achievement. Lets say someone is not good at studies and he feels inferior for that. In that case that person will give his best effort to achieve something which will compensate for that inferiority feeling, say he may perform well in sports or music or painting.
But if that inferiority feeling becomes overwhelming and takes control of your life then it turns into inferiority complex. In inferiority complex person feels that he is not worthy, his self-esteem becomes low, he start comparing himself/herself with others in unfavorable way, he always finds something in others which is better than him/her, for that person it takes long time to feel positive about them. Inferiority complex restricts us to live with our full potential.

High achievement or Superiority Complex

As I said above when a person develops the feeling of inferiority he then tries his best to compensate it, it may result into high achievement because of that inferiority feeling.
There are many high achievers who in the childhood felt inferior for many reasons and that inferiority feeling forced them to achieve extraordinary things. Bollywood celebrity Hrithik Roshan used to stammer in the childhood and for that he felt inferior to others. As a result he became shy and introvert. Another celebrity Tom Cruise had inferiority feeling in the childhood. But that inferiority feeling never took control of their life rather they conquered it using the strengths they had. They never focused on their weaknesses and it lead them to high achievement.

But this does not happen always, if that inferiority complex feeling lasts for longer period of time, then it might changes into superiority complex. Superiority complex is nothing but an exaggerated form of inferiority complex. When a person develops too much of inferiority complex, then it turns into superiority complex. In superiority complex people try to make others feel inferior by acting superior to them. Being superior they compensate for their inner feeling of inferior. From outside they seem superior but from inside they are actually feeling inferior. They might become arrogant and aggressive, they may start self praising in front of others or they might start seeking attention of others. They are doing all these just to regain their lost self confidence. Lets say someone in the childhood felt inferior to others because of being poor. That person tried his best to become rich and every time he failed and remained poor. When he is grown up he started hating rich people and he always tries to put down whoever is richer than him. He started blaming rich people for the problems in the society. He does not know why his attitude is harsh towards rich people but truth is he is doing this because he has inferiority complex from the rich people.

Root cause of Inferiority Complex

If anyone wants to overcome his/her inferiority complex then one must find out from where inferiority complex come.

It is often rooted in the childhood and a few reasons are

  1. Physical defects : When someone is physically different than others, uneven body shape, different skin colors, physically handicapped or any other body defects, he/she starts feeling inferior to others whoever is normal. I know someone who feels inferiority complex for his short height.
  2. Parental Attitude: In the childhood when parents criticize their child, or when they are compared with others in negative way they develop inferiority feeling. Not having enough appreciations in the childhood also restricts the person to see the good things in his life.
  3. Unmet Need: Everyone has certain needs and desire and many of them are not fulfilled for many reasons, it then lead to the feeling of inferiority. If someone always wanted to become popular but couldn't then he might develop inferiority complex in the unconscious way.
  4. Social Discrimination: When people belong to certain social groups based on the religion, race, color, caste which are considered lower in status in the society then they might develop feeling of inferiority. I know someone who has the obsession of marrying Brahmin (higher caste in Indian society) person only. It is because that person has developed inferiority complex of belonging to a lower class in the society.
  5. Mental Limitation: When unfavorable comparison are made with the superior achievements of others they might develop inferiority feeling and also when people keep unrealistic expectations on themselves which are difficult to achieve for them.

If we show in a diagram it is


                                                       --------- Achievement
Root cause -----> Inferiority feeling --- |
                                                        --------- Inferiority Complex------> Superiority Complex

How to overcome Inferiority Complex

Once you know the root cause of your inferiority complex then it is the time to overcome it. There are a few steps which will easily help in getting rid of inferiority complex

  1. Maintain a self diary: where you write down your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has different qualities and capabilities and one must know them. Inferiority complex is the result of feeling that we lack something and finding out where you lack and where you have the capabilities is first step in eliminating inferiority complex.
  2. Compensation: This is the stage where you will focus on your strengths and work on the areas where you can actually do well. This will help you in regaining your self worth and eliminate the feeling of inferiority. Lets say you feel that you are not good looking. Now knowing that you can develop your strengths in other areas and achieving success will compensate. Lets say you may become good singer or painter or business person or anything where you can do well. If you do so automatically after sometime you will start feeling good about yourself and inferiority complex will go away from your life.
  3. Awareness: It is very much important, you must always be aware of yourself so that you can see the real picture and you'll never fall in the trap of unfavorable comparison with others. You should always remember that everyone is different, we all have our strength and weaknesses. Often criticism triggers the feeling of inferiority but if you are always aware of what is happening inside of your mind then you won't give that much importance to what others say about you.
  4. Connection: You must have one strong connection which will give you the feeling of your importance. It may be your parents or your brothers or your sisters or your friend or your wife or anyone. A good relationship will always appreciate you for what you are, they will show you your strength, they will give you the feeling of being loved, cared and ultimately your importance as a human being.
  5. Spiritually Grounded: And finally, try as much as be connected with the soul inside you, the real you, the supreme power, ocean of peace, mountain of energy, sky of knowledge, immortal part of you. It will always give you the strength and courage. This way you'll develop the habit of self love, love for others, compassion and empathy.

Last but not the least

Ideally we should never feel inferior to anyone in anyway, we all are different and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all have different purpose in life and we should never compare ourself with others. But that doesn't happen, we live in a world where money, power, beauty, success are worshiped and we everyday encounter many triggers which raises question on our worthiness, our existence and purpose of living. From there it starts the feeling of inferiority complex. Knowing yourself fully will help you. Knowing that there is no reality, you only see what you feel and you only feel what you believe.


Prakash Sutradhar is an executive officer under Govt. of India.

Contributor: Prakash Sutradhar

Published here on: 16-Mar-14

Classification: Development



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