It is easy to assume that this problem is not as big as we make it seem, and that you can encourage someone with an inferiority complex to just drop it and move ahead. The problem lies in convincing them that their problem exists in their mind only. Remember, they are already convinced about their parallel reality. If it were so simple to convince them by saying, “Just stop thinking you’re inferior because you’re not,” then billions of people would have been saved from being trapped in any complex. The fact is inferiority complex is a deep-seated psychological issue affecting the society and devouring lives.
Some people believe that positive thinking can cure it all; it may even provide temporary relief. After a period however, the deep-rooted tendencies of thinking and behaving in a ‘complex’ way will emerge again. In the end, the willpower will be exhausted and positive thinking will only result in frustration with the failed attempts. The reason behind this failure is that our creative imagination is always stronger than our willpower. One may ‘think’ that he should face a situation confidently, but if he doesn’t imagine himself achieving it, he may not be able to do so successfully. Thus, in a clash between willpower and creative imagination, the latter is bound to win. Creative imagination, which consists of images and feelings, will always conquer willpower.
Say, a person is trained to imagine positively. Even then, he or she will have to first deal with the impact of conditioning of their formative years. Conditioning is responsible for molding an individual’s attitude towards and ability to deal with criticism and failure. This attitude in turn dictates whether a person will compromise with a belief system that feels inferior or rise above the circumstances. Conditioning includes what sort of failures a person has met and how he or she has been criticized. However, it can always be counter-balanced or perhaps even aggravated by the creative imagination aspect, which is a more powerful influence.
You should always remember that criticism and failure always bang on the door of success. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with criticism and failure, we let them control us. Most of us rent out the space in our mind to these two burglars and let them steal the mental goods we possess. This in turn can bring more criticism, both from the self or others, and failure, which can de-motivate us, resulting in more failure. As a result, we start losing belief in ourselves and start compromising with our actions, and purposely perform in a way that is inferior to others.
How do we stop criticism and failure from controlling our mind? Simple, by not associating ourselves with our actions! Inferiority arises when doing becomes being. When you associate what you do with what you are, you begin to label yourself. For example, suppose you perform poorly in a particular shot and the director makes it clear to you that he isn’t happy with the shot. Now, if you start believing that because a particular shot turned out poorly, you are a poor actor, you are labeling yourself unfairly. Additionally, it won’t do you any good and will plant a seed or strengthen your inferiority complex. Instead, separate your doing from your personality. Think of the incident as ‘The shot didn’t turn out well,’ or ‘If I try harder the next time, it may look okay.’ Dissociate yourself from the shot. Don’t judge yourself by one particular shot.
Criticism and failure are important milestones on the journey to learning anything. The conditioning aspect of inferiority will always exist. So, don’t expect to escape failure, criticism, or to have all your humanly characteristics as being better than average in order to overcome the inferiority complex. Instead, learn from failures and move on with a focused attitude.
Everyone has critics as long as they are not mediocre. We know from history and our own experiences that anyone who has achieved anything notable or is successful in what he undertakes, receives criticism sooner or later. The only way to escape criticism is to find a dark corner to hide, and just aspire to be a Nobody. As explained in the words of Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Living with criticism is easier said than done. How do you use the criticism you receive? If you interpret it as your unworthiness, it will only compound your feelings of inferiority, shame, and failure. So, it’s best to avoid taking it personally. Instead, analyze the criticism to find out if it is just and constructive. Then use it as a reference point to adjust the course of your development.
There could be various agendas of people who criticize you. It could be because they:
- Want to improve you
- Want to release their frustration
- Have their own problems
You can use feelings of inferiority, just like criticism, to grow and develop yourself. Sometimes criticism can even act as a pointer of the life’s progress.