How to Deal with Feelings of Inferiority

A Letter to Those Who Feel “Less Than”

Dear (your name goes here),

Somewhere, along the way (and please don’t worry about the “why” – it’s really not that important), unknowingly, you’ve adopted this unspoken idea that you’re “less than” others. Or, perhaps you have this unsettling sense that you don’t have what it takes to be better than you are.

I know. You’re probably thinking…”you don’t know me…you don’t know what you’re talking about!” Well, if this doesn’t apply to you, then stop reading. EXIT HERE. But you have to admit (if you’re really honest with yourself and if you’re still reading this), that somewhere deep down, you have feelings of self-doubt and inferiority. Why do I say this? Because I see it all the time in clients and in people I meet every day.

Why You May Feel Inferior –

The reason “why” someone feels “less than” isn’t as crucial as the SOLUTION.” Still for this “less than” notion that many adopt, I believe that much of it is cultural or driven by negative childhood experiences to TV and social media nonsense. We continue to feed these feelings of inferiority when we play the “comparison” game – focusing on others and what they appear to have compared to us. In this life, we will always encounter others who are wealthier, better looking, leaner, apparently happier, sexier, smarter, etc. than we are. Fixating on this – hyper-inflames these “less than” feelings of inferiority. We’d all do well to remember this!

Still don’t believe it? Keep reading.

This thought of being “less than” may be subtle or strong for you, but nonetheless, if it’s there – it will undermine your confidence. You may think that it doesn’t matter, that it’s fleeting and harmless. But is it really?

Did you know that this “less than” mindset can creep in and undermine every facet of who you are, and may impact every part of your life?

Believe it or not, this notion, whether big or small, stays tucked away securely in the back of your mind and can further become a crutch – an excuse for not being or doing ……………. (you fill in the blank here). Esoteric, yet pervasive, it can eat away at your joy and slyly rob you of your success.

If this is the case with you, most days may leave you bored and unfulfilled. You may find yourself living for a thrill or only for weekends, high moments and vacations. Or, you may just want to curl up in a ball and withdraw a lot of the time.

Is Feeling Inferior Good or Bad?

While feeling inferior can be good and motivational with regards to making positive change, I find it often to be detrimental, self-sabotaging and an overall kill joy. Again, if this doesn’t apply to you, then feel free to stop reading now. But, take it from me – simply denying it will likely not help. In my experience, a lot of people feel this way, whether they want to admit it or not. I honestly believe that feelings of inferiority are part of being human, though you may be hard pressed to find people who will admit it.

On a personal note, feeling “less than” is something that I have struggled with from an early age. So, just know that as I write this, I do so from a place of experience. Don’t think that I’m on the outside looking in. No, in fact, I’ve wrestled with this notion for much of my life. Perhaps that’s why I see it so easily in others.

Now, let’s find out how to effectively make feeling inferior or “less than” work for you.

How to Make Feelings of Inferiority Work for You

  1. Acknowledge to yourself that you feel “less than.”Like I said before, denial will not make this go away. It sounds trite, but knowledge is power – if you know the truth, the truth will set you free…yaddeeyaddeeyaddee…etc. The point is – knowing yourself can be a powerful tool for change and improvement. As far as I know, driving a car while blindfolded is not a good thing! So goes life. There’s no time like the present to open your eyes and clear the obstructions. Do the necessary thinking and praying about this. If you have feelings of inferiority and you acknowledge them, you’re already taking the first important step for making a positive change.
  2. Realize that a lot of people struggle with feelings of inferiority.I know – again you’re thinking, “So what!,” right? Well, there’s something empowering about being on equal ground. And, when the playing field is level, things become a lot less frightening for us. Realizing that many others out there feel the same as you, takes the sting and fear out of feeling “less than.” And not only that, you’ll have to stop using fear as an excuse for not making more of yourself or getting more out of life – so let’s explore that…
  3. Stop using your fearful “less than” thinking as an excuse!Oh no, you’re not doing that, right? Wrong! If you lead with default thinking such as “I’m not as good as…” or “I can’t do the job as well as…” etc.- what happens to your follow through? Don’t know? Well, I’ll tell you. It gets defeated, sabotaged, sidetracked, excused away, sometimes even blamed on your “inability,” or “lack of” – your “less than” state of existence. If you believe that you’re incapable, unequipped, lacking talent, etc. – then you’ll most likely stay right where you are, or even digress. Starting with a negative perspective creates a losing scenario before anything happens. And let’s face it, even though you may be uncomfortable where you currently find yourself, it’s much easier to surrender to feelings of inferiority and STAY THERE than to buck up and forge your way. So ask yourself – “Am I using my feelings of being ‘less than’ as an excuse?” Trust me here! Understanding this about yourself is important if you’re going to keep moving forward. And let me also state – if you’re using “less than” thinking as an excuse, you’re playing the comparison game. What’s that? Well, I’m glad you asked. The comparison game is when you waste your time and mental energy sizing yourself up to other people. Most will lose at this game. Being a “loser” doesn’t do much for self-confidence – the last time I checked.
  4. Take a small step of faith. Ok, so if you’ve got the above three steps under your belt and taken to heart, then it’s time to MOVE – forward, that is. Empires weren’t built in a day, and neither will you overcome this “less than” complex overnight. But, if you don’t take a step now, you’ll soon find yourself in diapers wondering where the time went. The time for action is right now, today! Planning is important, but so is taking that first step of faith.  If you don’t act, nothing will be different – nothing will change for the better.
  5. Develop a mantra of movement.  Everytime you hear that inner voice that says “I can’t” or even an outer voice that says “You can’t,” immediately replace it with your new “mantra of movement.” A “mantra of movement” is your new default phrase that you say to yourself (out loud) to counteract the negativity, the excuse, the “less than” inferior thinking. It needs to be positive and it needs to be targeted towards your goal of success. What it can NEVER be is negative! I have two phrases that I’ve adopted over the years that particularly relate to my faith in God. They are…

    “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

    “Excellence in all things – All things to God’s glory.”

  6. Observe and record how things change.  Measuring things is a great way to see improvements. It’s always good to chronical your progress over time. One thing I require of clients (for weight loss) is to have them track daily what they eat, as well as record their weight and exercise regimen. Over time, it becomes helpful to look back and see what steps were taken to achieve weight loss and a new level of wellness. This principle can be applied to any scenario in life where success is desired or needed.

I know I could share several more steps for overcoming inferiority. Perhaps my thoughts on the matter may seem simplistic. The important thing though, is not to be paralyzed by feeling “less than.” Whenever I feel “less than,” I practice the above steps and often think of that pearl of scripture that we’ve all seen and know – John 3:16. If that doesn’t help you feel significant, I’m not sure much else can.

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