Inferiority definition

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Inferiority definition

When trying to define the word inferiority many people confuse it with inferiority complex.
While Inferiority complex is a psychological disorder that some people develop ,which makes them think that they are worthless or of no use, inferiority is a normal feeling experienced by all humans.

Inferiority feelings are the feelings normal human beings get when they find themselves surrounded by people who are more capable than them.

For example it's quite common for a child to feel inferior as a result of being surrounded by stronger and more capable adults. Now if that child learned from those adults and developed his own life skills then his inferiority feelings will disappear.

Thus we can define inferiority as the feelings you get when you find yourself with people who are more capable than you. It's so normal for example to feel inferior when you find that a friend is more resourceful than you.

Another definition of inferiority

The fact that most people don't get is that it's quite OK to feel inferior as long as these feelings motivate you to do something useful. In fact any person who achieved anything in life did it because he felt inferior in a way or another.

Some people became very rich because they felt inferior and insecure as a result of having no money. Some people became famous athletes or famous sport champions just because they felt inferior as a result of being physically weak compared to others.

It's important to note that this inferiority could be a perceived inferiority and not a real one. In other words a totally normal person might mistakenly believe that he lacks something and as a result feel inferior to others even though he is fine.

So inferiority is not a bad thing, in fact it's a very powerful emotion that can motivate a person to improve himself.

This can lead us to another definition of inferiority which is: a feeling that someone gets that motivates them to strive for the things that they lack.

When does inferiority turn into an inferiority complex

When the person starts to think that he is worthless instead of just believing that he lacks something then an inferiority complex usually develops.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that it's OK to feel inferior as long as you understand that this inferiority is temporary but if you thought that you are inferior because of being yourself then you have developed an inferiority complex.

For example if someone thinks that he is inferior because he is black then this shows that the person has developed an inferiority complex.

Secondary inferiority is the the term used to describe the inferiority feelings a person gets when something happens that reminds him of his original inferiority feelings.

Alfred Alder , who was a leading psychologist, said that all children feel inferior during childhood because of their perceived weakness. The children who manage to develop well in a healthy environment manage to get over this inferiority.

The ones who fail to do so on the other hand are the ones who end up feeling inferior as adults. Adler meant that inferiority complex happens when a person fails to get over his original feelings of inferiority that is experienced during his childhood.

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