Inferiority complex is incredibly common among the population. Could you be suffering from it without even knowing?
Most of us can recall a time in our lives when we felt inferior, but if you constantly believe you are not good enough, you might have an inferiority complex.
Certain psychologists believe that feeling inferior is actually a good thing, as it can be motivating:
“The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge to conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.”
Adler reasoned that whenever we see someone achieving more than us, or when we receive criticism, it can motivate and drive us on to be better.
But for some people, an inferiority complex can be absolutely debilitating and can have serious effects on their health and wellbeing.
Here are 8 signs of an inferiority complex:
1. You need constant validation
Are you always asking other people’s opinion about things you’ve done? Or if you have done something, do you then need to be complimented about it?
This could stem from your childhood if you did not receive praise from your parents. At this early stage in your life, pleasing your mother and father would have boosted your self-esteem. But if you were ignored then, when you grow older, you would have to seek out this praise from others.
2. You are overly sensitive to other people’s opinions
Do you get upset when you hear people talking about you? Are you overly sensitive to what others think about you? Do you feel like you cannot stand up for yourself if you hear someone commenting about you? Do you take to heart anything said against you and worry about it for weeks?
We all feel a little upset if someone has said something awful about us, that’s natural. But if you are stressing over the slightest thing, then it could be a sign that you have an inferiority complex.
3. You put your own needs last
If you feel that you are inferior, it is likely that you will always put yourself last when it comes to the pecking order. Because you feel low and not worthy, it seems right to you that others should be above you.
However, never forget that over time, putting yourself last can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.
4. You cannot take constructive criticism
We all need to hear certain things in order for us to be better in our lives, but if the tiniest bit of critique leaves you desperate and low for weeks, then this is definitely a sign things aren’t right.
Healthy criticism is necessary for everyone, and no one should be exempt. But there are people who cringe or shy away from the smallest bit of advice. Think about how you will grow as a person or work colleague if you never receive feedback?
5. You crave flattery
You might not be able to take constructive criticism but boy do you love compliments. Being flattered makes you puff up with joy and for a short while at least you feel better about yourself.
The problems start when you begin to rely on flattery in order to get on with things, as sometimes you just have to carry on without getting heaps of praise for simply doing your job.
6. You procrastinate often
Is it hard for you to start projects or tasks? Do you often put off what you can do tomorrow then tomorrow comes and you still cannot find a way to motivate yourself?
If you are a constant procrastinator, it could be because you fear that whatever you do it won’t be good enough, so why bother even starting?
7. You withdraw from society
Lots of us dislike going out and having to socialise, and for many different reasons. But if you actually withdraw from society, have a think why you do not want to go out.
Is it because you don’t want to hear what others have to say about you, or do you simply know for a fact that you are not good enough? Do you worry that people will find out that you are no good, so you stay indoors so they won’t find out the truth about you? Staying in so that you avoid any comparisons with others is a sign you feel inferior.
8. You find faults with others
Since you know all about your own faults, you feel you have a trained eye when it comes to others. You might also want to find fault with others so that it takes the attention and focus away from you. Because you already don’t feel great about yourself, you don’t really care if others feel rubbish about themselves. And when others feel bad, it can make you feel better.
There is a big difference between feeling inferior and actually being inferior. Consider what your talents or your strengths are and concentrate on those, rather than highlighting whatever weaknesses you think you might have.
Remember, Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”