Watch out for the Inferiority Complex! These are the Characteristics and How to Overcome Them!

Definition of Inferiority Complex – Feeling insecure or not as good as others is very natural. However, be careful if these feelings make you feel inferior and hesitate to do many things. It could be, you have experienced an inferiority complex.

Inferiority complex , or inferiority complex is a condition where a person thinks that he is lower than the people around him. This situation is similar to someone who has low self-confidence or more often called when people feel down , that is, they feel that the people around them are better than themselves. It’s just that, what is different from someone who feels down , in a state of inferiority complex , a person accepts that he is indeed inferior, or lower than other people.

The feeling is ingrained in his mind and hard to get rid of. Acceptance of this inferiority has a considerable impact on one’s life. This feeling can affect the way a person gets along, the way he lives and also the way he makes important decisions.

This inferior state, if it only infects a person, is only a problem for that person and the people around him. However, it is a problem in itself if many people, or even a nation is infected with this mental condition. If this happens, it is not only individual decisions that are affected by this condition, but also state decisions and policies that are also affected. This can be detrimental to many people, because the state is no longer able to objectively determine what is good and what is not for the nation.

Conditions in which a nation is infected with an inferiority complex have in fact occurred in our country, Indonesia. Many people think that foreign cultures and their nations are superior to us. One example is the rise of Indonesians who have a “hobby” of asking for photos with visiting foreign tourists. Another example is when someone prefers foreign products to local products. This problem, if not handled quickly, of course, can lead to bigger problems.

What is an Inferiority Complex?

The term inferiority complex was introduced by Alfred Adler in 1907 to describe a condition in which a person experiences feelings of inferiority and self-doubt that originate from factors such as real or imagined physical or psychological limitations. This condition can lead to cowardice and shyness, so that the quality of achievement itself is far compared to others.

Inferiority complex is a term to describe intense feelings of weakness and inadequacy in a person. Inferiority complex is more than just a feeling of disappointment and sadness in the face of failure. People who have this tendency always feel that their achievements, abilities, attractiveness, or happiness are insignificant when compared to other people.

Due to their negative self-image, they are often pessimistic and fearful that they will not be able to live up to the expectations of themselves or others. The feeling of not being good enough is a barrier for them to achieve their dreams. Inferiority complex is divided into two types, namely primary inferiority and secondary inferiority. Primary inferiority occurs in childhood, when parents often compare their child with other children.

Children who are often scolded and doubted about their abilities can grow into individuals who feel they have no self-esteem. Meanwhile, secondary inferiority is the inability of adults to achieve goals due to feelings of inferiority they have. Many factors can cause inferiority to emerge in adulthood, including poor body image, difficult economic conditions, and the social environment in which one lives.

Characteristics of the Inferiority Complex

When individuals experience an inferiority complex there are several symptoms they experience, namely low self-esteem, insecurity , inability to achieve a goal, easy to give up, desire to withdraw from social situations, often feel gloomy, and experience anxiety and depression.

According to the theory of Individual Psychology by Alfred Adler it is said that humans are controlled by feelings of less and imperfect which then encourage individuals to compensate for these feelings in many ways to seek perfection, freedom and excellence. In an inferiority complex, all of these feelings tend to be shown through compensation or overreaction driven by the individual’s subconscious to compensate or overreact to something.

Overreaction or overreaction in everyday life, can be seen through the attitude of people who value foreign works too much. Overreaction can also be seen in the form of the existence of people who want to be recognized. For example, when responding to foreign media that upload positive content about Indonesia, people easily give positive reactions that boast.

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On the other hand, when there is criticism, the public does not want to hear it and instead looks for loopholes to bring down the media. Without realizing it, the existence that this society wants to show is actually created to show a lack of self-esteem that is veiled in an inferiority complex .

When a person experiences an inferiority complex continuously, there is a possibility that he will instead experience a superiority complex . It is actually a form of defense mechanism that people use to hide their feelings of inferiority namely, through overcompensation. This overcompensation manifested in bluffing is what is often mistakenly understood as a superiority complex . The difference lies in the false feeling of inferiority expressed in aggressive boasting and in the egocentric genuineness of the superior feeling expressed in intellectual indifference.

Signs of Inferiority Complex

People with inferiority problems show signs of it in different ways. They have feelings of inferiority with specific signs which include:

  • tend to avoid eye contact with other people when talking,
  • have a passive communication style
  • have low motivation and energy,
  • withdrawing from family, friends, and other people,
  • experiencing rapid and unpredictable mood swings (mood swings),
  • constantly seeking validation and praise from others,
  • tendency to overanalyze praise and criticism
  • avoid competitive activities so as not to be compared with others,
  • unable to give praise for himself, as well
  • underestimate one’s achievements and positive qualities.

Sometimes, people who have an inferiority complex like to make other people feel uncomfortable or insecure as a projection of their feelings of inferiority.

How to Overcome Inferiority Complex?

There are times when the tendency for an inferiority complex comes from a mental disorder that you have. To identify the cause, you may need help from professionals such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. If there really is an underlying mental condition, this is what needs to be addressed first in order to reduce the impact of inferiority. Handling can be through therapy or with drugs.

Apart from that, having a psychological consultation is still important, especially if the signs of low self-esteem that you feel are hindering your daily activities. Through consultation sessions, the therapist will evaluate your response and mindset to certain situations. After that, they can dig into the root cause of the response.

In addition, you are also told how to deal effectively with situations that trigger an inferiority complex. You will learn to be more self-respecting. Through approaches such as behavioral and cognitive therapy, for example, negative self-concepts can be transformed into positive views. This will also help you to deny bad thoughts that arise in some situations.

Remember, the most important thing is to understand that every human being has their own uniqueness and strengths. There are some things about you that other people might not have. Don’t be afraid to show that you can do this well.

The Impact of Inferiority on Everyday Life

An inferiority complex is something that can interfere with life if left unchecked. Not only does it damage your relationships with those closest to you, inferiority can trigger you to vent in unhealthy ways.

A 2011 study has shown that prolonged feelings of inferiority can increase the risk of dangerous addiction. An inferior person may turn to consuming alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism that will help him stay out of trouble.

Worrying too much about not looking competent will also distract from your focus on work. Instead of trying to do your best, you are constantly fixated on the results and how your co-workers or superiors think of you.

It is not impossible, later feelings of inferiority will lead to feelings of anxiety or anxiety disorders, difficulty sleeping, and even develop into depression later in life.

The Impact of Inferiority Complex in National Life

The impact of an inferiority complex can occur in the life of the nation and state. A citizen from a developing country may feel inferior to other citizens from a developed country or a country he considers better. The first example that can be criticized is the special response of Indonesian citizens to foreign nationals, especially those from the West. An excessively ‘friendly’ attitude towards foreigners is inseparable from the influence of Western imperialism and colonialism which has long been embedded in the minds of the people.

During the Dutch colonial era, the population was divided into European groups, Bumiputera groups, and Eastern Foreign groups as regulated in the Indische Staatsregeling . As a result of this classification, the natives were in the third group, so it is not surprising that they were often discriminated against by European colonialists, including writings that could be found in several meeting places at that time, such as “Natives and dogs are prohibited from entering.”

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Starting from that, Western colonialism slowly instilled its hegemony over the understanding of the Indonesian people. Local people who feel that they are inferior compared to foreign people slowly begin to believe that standards regarding good things are those that are oriented towards the West, because they themselves doubt their own standards. Such a situation can give birth to local people’s adherence to what they consider ideal, and then manifested in excessive ‘politeness’ towards those who are considered superior.

On a broader issue, an inferiority complex can also make a person hesitate in competing with people they perceive as superior. In concrete terms, a citizen who feels inferior will feel doubtful, inferior, or pessimistic in competing with foreign nationals who are considered superior because they come from developed countries.

This certainly hinders the progress of human resources in a country. An inferiority complex degrades one’s potential to do something. Instead of thinking about what should be done, someone who feels he is inferior is actually too busy thinking about whether he is able to compete or not with someone he considers superior.

As a nation that was once colonized by other nations for hundreds of years, the Indonesian nation has experienced an inferiority complex for hundreds of years as well. This was demonstrated and was the result of the existence of social groups that were introduced during the Dutch colonial period.

The original Indonesian people, who at that time were referred to as the native Indonesians, were prohibited from enjoying the educational facilities that were only provided for Europeans and Foreign Easterners. The feeling that arises from not getting what the other group gets creates a feeling of admiration for the two groups.

Norman Vincent Peale, an American pastor and author known for popularizing positive thinking, offers several suggestions for dealing with the inferiority complex that many people suffer from. In the book The Power of Positive Thinking , Peale invites all of his readers to avoid negative thinking in order to avoid an inferiority complex .

To deal with feelings of inferiority complex , all you have to do is formulate in your mind a successful mental picture of yourself. In the life of the nation and state, Indonesia is a country that is struggling to attract more investors to enter the country. This certainly creates feelings of inferiority among domestic investors. In fact, if you take a closer look, they shouldn’t be afraid or even insecure because they are the ones who know better about the situation in that country.

It is equally important not to feel small compared to foreign investors. Moreover, in his book, Peale also recommends never thinking about failure. By not thinking about a failure does not mean overly confident about a success. Not thinking about failure means having the courage to take steps that are considered right to move forward.

The next step that must be taken is to avoid feeling too much admiration for something. Judging from life in Indonesia, this is what happens very often. One example is the habit of inviting foreigners or better known as Caucasians to take pictures together.

Things like that are common in various tourist areas in Indonesia. Indonesians who tend to have an inferiority complex will have great admiration for people of other nations who have an impact on bringing down their own nation. If this method is carried out, the Indonesian people will be better able to respect their own nation. Admiration for other nations is okay, but don’t overdo it.

It is also important to instill a sense of nationalism in society so that we love and are proud to be Indonesian. We need to know that excessive feelings of love, pride and awe can backfire on our own nation. This excessive feeling of love, awe, and pride is what is often referred to as chauvinism.

Therefore, love and be proud of your country enough. We can indeed admire other nations, but let us not forget that this nation still needs us to develop. Don’t let us become lulled by our admiration for other nations that make us forget our national identity and have feelings of inferiority.