What is an Inferiority Complex? Your Ultimate Guide

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21 November 2023

7 Mins

What is an Inferiority Complex?

Inferiority complex is a psychological condition where you may constantly feel inadequate, unworthy, or inferior to others. It's a persistent feeling of not measuring up to certain standards, whether you are self-imposed or societal.

People with this condition tend to compare themselves to others and often come up short in their own eyes. You may feel that you are not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, or successful enough. This feeling of inadequacy can be crippling and can negatively affect your self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being.

What is the reason for the Inferiority Complex?

It can have various causes that may stem from both external and internal factors. Let's take a closer look at some of its common causes of inferiority complex:

  • Childhood experiences: Your childhood experiences can have a significant impact on your self-esteem and self-worth. If you were criticized, bullied, or neglected by your parents or peers during your formative years, you may have developed a negative self-image and feelings of inferiority that persist into adulthood.
  • Unrealistic expectations: When you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy. For instance, if you set an impossibly high standard for your performance at work or in your personal life, you may feel like you are constantly falling short, which can lead to a sense of inferiority.
  • Social comparisons: Constantly comparing yourself to others can also contribute to an inferiority complex. In today's social media-driven world, it's easy to see the seemingly perfect lives of others and feel like you don't measure up. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.
  • Traumatic events: Traumatic events such as accidents, abuse, or loss of a loved one can trigger feelings of inferiority. These events can shake your sense of identity and worth, leading to a persistent feeling of being inferior to others.
  • Cultural and societal pressures: Cultural and societal pressures can also result in a feeling of inferiority. For example, certain beauty standards or career expectations can make you feel like you don't measure up, leading to feelings of inferiority.

Experiencing these factors does not necessarily guarantee the development of this condition. Moreover, a person may have multiple contributing factors that lead to this feeling.

What are the signs of Inferiority Complex

The signs and symptoms of inferiority complex can vary from person to person, but there are some common indicators that may suggest you are experiencing this condition. Let's take a closer look at some of its signs and symptoms:

  • Negative self-talk: You tend to engage in negative self-talk, where you constantly criticize themselves and put themselves down. This can take the form of saying things like "I'm not good enough" or "I'll never succeed."
  • Low self-esteem: You tend to have low self-esteem and may feel like you are not worthy of love, respect, or success.
  • Excessive self-criticism: You tend to be overly critical of themselves, and may have unrealistic expectations of themselves. You may hold themselves to impossibly high standards and beat themselves up when you fall short.
  • Social withdrawal: You may withdraw from social situations or avoid activities that you fear will expose their perceived inadequacies.
  • Perfectionism: You may strive for perfection in an attempt to compensate for their feelings of inadequacy. This can lead to a fear of failure and a reluctance to take risks.
  • Jealousy and Envy: You may feel jealous or envious of others who you perceive to be more successful or accomplished than you are.
  • Sensitivity to criticism: You may be particularly sensitive to criticism, and may even take constructive feedback as a personal attack on their worth and abilities.

If these symptoms persist and interfere with daily life, it may be a sign that professional help is needed.

Inferiority Complex treatment

There are various treatments and strategies that can help you overcome this feeling. Let's take a closer look at some of the common approaches:

  • Therapy: Therapy can be an effective treatment for this condition. A therapist can help identify underlying issues and develop strategies to improve self-esteem and overall well-being. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns, or psychodynamic therapy, which explores its roots.
  • Self-Help: Self-help strategies can also be helpful in overcoming this feeling. These may include practicing self-compassion, engaging in positive self-talk, answering quizzes and focusing on personal strengths and achievements.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can help you to become more present and grounded at the moment, listening to music , reducing feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
  • Social support: Building a strong social support system can also be helpful in overcoming inferior thoughts. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can help to reinforce a sense of self-worth and provide encouragement and validation.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression that can be associated with it.

It can take time and effort to cope with this condition, and may require a combination of different strategies. It's essential to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process, as building self-esteem and confidence is a journey. With the right support and tools, you can conquer it and live a fulfilling, confident life.

How to overcome Inferiority Complex

Building self-esteem and confidence is a challenging process, but it can be achieved with the right mindset and strategies. Here are some tips that can help you cope with it:

  • Identify and challenge negative thoughts: Negative thoughts can feed an inferiority complex, so it's crucial to identify and challenge them. Whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, ask yourself if that thought is really true. Try to reframe negative thoughts into more positive, realistic ones.
  • Focus on your strengths: Instead of dwelling on perceived weaknesses or shortcomings, focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Make a list of your achievements, skills, and positive qualities, and refer back to it whenever you need a confidence boost.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has flaws, and that doesn't make you any less valuable or worthy.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Setting realistic, achievable goals can help to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Start small and work your way up, celebrating your successes along the way. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people: Surrounding yourself with people who uplift and support you can help to reinforce positive self-talk and increase confidence. Seek out friends and family members who build you up, and consider joining Now&Me support community or seeking out a therapist for additional support.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health: Taking care of your physical and mental health can help to improve overall well-being and boost confidence. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga.

Expert’s Corner

Here is Now&Me's expert life coach - Akshaya Aiyer, giving us more insight about inferiority complex - Inferiority complex Inferiority complex

Want to learn more? Talk to Akshaya now


Inferiority complex is a common experience that can have a significant impact on your life. However, it is vital to remember that with the right support and strategies, you can overcome these feelings and develop a more positive sense of self-worth. Whether through therapy, self-help strategies, or social support, there are many ways to tackle it and live a more fulfilling life. By recognizing the signs and seeking help when needed, you can take control of your mental health and move towards a brighter future. Now&me helps you do exactly what is needed to deal with inferiority feelings.


A person with an inferiority complex feels a persistent sense of inadequacy and self-doubt. You may have an exaggerated sense of their own flaws or shortcomings and may believe that you are inferior to others in some way.

A tendency to compare yourself unfavorably to others, feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, and a preoccupation with your own perceived flaws or weaknesses. You can talk to an expert online (for free) at Now&Me to understand if you have the symptoms or not.

Feelings of inferiority can exemplify in many ways, such as feeling inadequate at work or in social situations, feeling like you don't measure up to others, or feeling like you don't deserve success or happiness. For example, you may feel like you are not good enough to apply for a certain job or may avoid social situations out of fear of being judged.

While it is not classified as a mental illness, it can be a symptom of other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Dealing with this feeling can involve a combination of therapy, self-help strategies, and social support. Now&Me offers you all these strategies that are helpful in coping with this condition. Therapy can help to identify underlying issues and develop strategies to improve self-esteem and overall well-being. Self-help strategies may include practicing self-compassion, focusing on personal strengths and achievements, and challenging negative thoughts. Building a strong social support system can also be helpful in reinforcing a sense of self-worth and providing encouragement and validation.

Getting rid of this condition is a journey that takes time and effort. It may involve a combination of healing, mindfulness, and joining a community that is exceptionally available at Now&Me. We can help you to defeat your thoughts of inferiority with the help of our experts and community people.

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