Addressing Inferiority Complex

alone-in-nature

A constant and nagging fear that you are worth less than anyone else is what is generally referred to as an inferiority complex. This could emanate from your physical appearance, your mental acuity, your financial or social status, your personality or sometimes all of the aforementioned. It is a truly unpleasant psychological state of being and affects how you interact not only with others but also with yourself. Most people at some point in their life will have feelings of inferiority but some people have them for year upon year and one shortcoming becomes two and then multiplies to almost every aspect of their personality and life in general.

 

If you explain to others why you feel inferior be it because you are too thin, too fat or too ‘anything’ then usually they will compare you to themselves or just look at the fear objectively and think ‘that’s a silly fear.’ And, we all do it. Many of us have the fear of not ‘fitting in’ with a social group whatever it may be and we outwardly don a mask to cover up the screams inside of us. It’s normal to be nervous or uncomfortable. No one is perfect. I defy you to think that there is anyone in the world who thinks they are perfect as it is impossible. There are of course those who outwardly have the demeanour of being cock-sure and confident about everything they say or do but in others’ eyes they are viewed as self-righteous and arrogant. Ergo, if we continuously concern ourselves with the way others see us we will never win.

 

The trick to overcoming crippling feelings of inferiority however is to ‘accept’ certain factors about yourself if you are not able to achieve an alternative – and who is to say that the alternative would be any sort of improvement anyway? Many of us have a kind of ‘If only I was taller/slimmer/prettier then I would be happy’ attitude – you can maybe alter physique in many ways but it is not necessarily going to make you feel that much better than you do now. I know a woman who has been too fat then had weight issues and got too thin, has had obsessive behaviours in all manner of her life from partners, lifestyle, drugs, alcohol, compulsive self-invoked superstitious rituals and so on. Twenty five years later she still cannot figure out why she has such extremes in her personality (which remain) as there is no obvious reason for any of it. It is just the way it is for her. She self-analyses in the extreme but now, as a result, has begun to more readily ‘accept’ that this is the way she is and attempts to stop over-analysis about trivia and past transgressions with a ‘I never did care about the little things’ approach – to literally to stop her emotional thought dead in its tracks and refuse to allow it entry.

As I mentioned earlier, we all have flaws. It is only when we overtly dramatise a specific flaw or flaws and give them meaning that it results in an inferiority complex. It is the thought that people belittle you for your ineptitude and call you an idiot or are calling you derogatory names about your appearance that force you into feeling miserable and inferior. However, there are a few techniques to help you overcome these feelings. It is your thinking that has led you to this state and thus it is thinking that will be the answer to overcoming such feelings. What you need to do is to fight against the thinking patterns that you have twisted out of shape. You have to restart yourself by realising that your flaws are not as bad as you think and that it or them do not remove all the good qualities you have. Comparing yourself to others and wishing to be the same as them rather than learning from them is pointless. It is coming to realise that an inferiority complex only occurs when you feel bad about the fact that you may be inferior to others in some way.

 

One of the most beneficial systems to help overcome your attitude towards yourself is that of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) whereby you assess your feelings, analyse them and make a dedicated change to your thinking on a step-by-step basis. Try to reduce your emotional thinking. Rather than simply feeling ‘down’ you need to be specific about what areas in life you feel inferior. If it is of a particular group of people to whom you feel inferior then try and list a few of the names of particular people within that group. People who feel inferior to others thrive on trying to be anyone that they aren’t. For example, members within a gym. We look and judge others all the time whether we are male or female. We ‘section’ them into categories and often stereotype certain types of people: the slim, toned, tattoo decorated women may fall into your ‘hmm, independent, mentally strong, determined and don’t mess with me type of women.’ And, the nervous or shy parts of your personality, may yearn to have one or two of what you perceive to be their qualities. Your own assumption is, of course, your perception of them – if you actually know the woman in question you may realise that she is just as insecure as you and, like you, hides it pretty well from other people!

 

Remember that it is you who is making yourself feel inferior by emphasizing what you think others are thinking about you. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘no-one can make you feel inferior without your permission’ which pretty much succinctly sums it up. In other words refuse to allow yourself to become depressed by how you perceive others may be judging you. In order to achieve higher self esteem and to gain confidence is to start to try and love yourself. Easier said than done I hear you say – indeed, many of us with an inferiority complex or depressive tendencies are hardly able to bring ourselves to even like ourselves let alone love ourselves. At some point in life we have either been told or assumed we were just not good enough to do something and have been carrying that heavy baggage throughout life. Take heed from Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress who tumbled alone into the Slough of Despond and was unable to remove the Burden from his back. Whereas Christian needed Help to be lifted out, you need to pull yourself away from your own negativity and shed the burden of worrying about how people view you – feel how much lighter your journey will become as you start to celebrate your own identity and and rejoice in it!

Battling Depression

By Sig Nordal, Jr.

“When uneasy thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a r

Every entrepreneur and businessman that is involved with a complicated, time-sensitive project or mission knows that the stress associated with such undertakings can be enormous. Not only does the success or failure of a given project make or break the entrepreneur himself, but it can also destroy many people around him. Many entrepreneurs and successful business people have dealt with depression and other issues caused by stress, uncertainty, loneliness, hopelessness and similar emotions in their lives.

Depression is a serious issue – very serious. The recent death of Robin Williams has brought the issue of depression to the forefront, and it was unfortunate that depression is getting this attention due to Williams’ unfortunate and untimely death. However, there are many business people and leaders that deal with emotional issues as the pressures at the time can be absolutely overwhelming.

Today, people try to reduce the stress and associated damage by living a healthier lifestyle, but nevertheless the core issues that many carry through their lives are never appropriately dealt with. Many people today have yet to deal with devastating upbringings, difficulties in their personal lives and all the while expected to perform at their best.

Being a leader, being an actor, being in the limelight is not an easy spot to be in, although many want to be there, but I wonder if those actually have the desire to reach the top have mentally prepared themselves for the journey – for when you stand at the top of the mountain, you are alone, completely alone. Depression is a fickle beast – it does not focus upon wealth or success and is unpredictable in whom it decides to attack.

In order to attempt to recover from depression one must take very small steps – indeed, the things that one is advised to do appear hard in themselves (such as going for a walk or spending time with friends). Even thinking about doing such things can be exhausting in itself. Depression cannot be resolved by sheer willpower as it has an annoying tendency to drain you of drive, hope and energy but you do have some control which means that through making positive choices recovery is difficult but not impossible.

You may have limited energy but try to maybe take a short walk around the block. Force yourself to get up, get dressed and just go or pick up the phone and make a call to a friend or loved one. Take it one day at a time. Small accomplishments will gradually build up and, although they seem to be minimal, they will gradually enable you to be more positive at the end of each day. Remember that the more effort you put into recovery the greater the results will be.

When someone feels depressed it can be difficult to reach out. On one hand, your inner self knows that reaching out for support is a positive thing in order to get matters into perspective and yet you find that when you do reach out you are persistently making excuses as to why you cannot follow the advice being given to you. As a result you feel that every time you say anything you are wailing about your misery and think that those around you must be sick and tired of having you moaning. In many cases this is of course true! Rather than constantly reaching out and then saying ‘oh, I can’t do that because…’ say ‘well, that idea is not really feasible but I could try a version of what you are suggesting.’ Such a response makes you feel less negative and your listener to feel that you are trying as hard as you can to overcome certain issues and make steps forward.

Believe it or not, friends and family actually do want to help you so isolating yourself is not going to aid your recovery and reaching out is neither going to be a sign of weakness nor are you going to become a burden. Turn to your trusted family and friends and share what you are going through or alternatively join a support group for depression. Support groups can be very useful as you hear what other people were or are facing that brought them to the same place. When people ‘share’ their stories avoid focusing on the differences (as all stories will have arisen from a huge range of reasons) but concentrate on the similarities in how they feel inside. It could be the intense loneliness even when around other people, it could be a case of where you just have such inertia that you cannot get motivated to do anything at all and just want to go to sleep.

Of course, despite saying willpower cannot in itself overcome depression there is a need to literally force yourself into doing something else the feeling of failure is heightened when one gives up before even trying. Being with friends or around people is key to battling the isolation involved with depression – however, what if you do not have many (or any) friends? Many of us only actually have work colleagues with whom we may well ‘get along’ with but would be fearful of expressing personal issues to. There are on-line support groups that are very useful for those who are not in a position to speak to those they know in ‘real life.’ These groups hold a variety of people so, of course, as in ‘real life’ make sure you are on your guard regarding anything that could identify you or your specific whereabouts – sadly, there are unscrupulous people everywhere so use your common sense.

If you are up to doing so, see if you can join a club for something that interests you – you do not have to be the life and soul of the group as the focus is mainly upon the activity involved be it exercise, art, books or cookery. Another good idea is to volunteer in a local charity shop – not only are you giving your time for the benefit of others but you are meeting different people, sorting through practical (and sometimes bizarre!) goods and, once more, is a way of reducing your isolation. Of course, if there is the availability of a counsellor or member of the clergy to confide in then embrace the opportunity – there is nothing weak about asking for professional help if you feel you cannot cope by yourself or if the depression is getting worse.

Most importantly you need to try and challenge your negative thinking. Not as easy as it sounds. The way you view yourself, the way you perceive other people view you, the various situations you encounter often make you automatically put a negative spin on things. It is almost impossible (even when not depressed) to have happy thoughts about everything. The key is to have balanced thoughts to replace the negative ones. Remember that no-one is perfect so why are you beating yourself up about not having perhaps achieved the ridiculously high standards you had intended? Deal with problems as challenges and do your best in any given circumstance. Many of us are actually good listeners and if we were hearing what we are thinking about ourselves by someone else we would be giving positive encouragement about them. You know yourself better than anybody so be your own best friend – would a best friend be permanently putting you down and saying you were useless?

Try to adopt a healthier living pattern. Eat healthier foods, get enough sleep, exercise and commune with nature thus giving you both fresh air and relaxation from stress. Many people go from one extreme to the other with depression. With food we can binge-eat through boredom or starve ourselves as we have little appetite. Indeed, you will recognise that already with a variety of things if you are depressed. Often excessive exercise, obsession with weight, spending hours on folding clean laundry, spending hours putting things in order, superstitious counting of how many times to check the door is shut properly are all signs of finding things we can control when we feel out of control with our mental health. Regular and sensible exercise decreases lethargy and is a natural anti-depressant as it releases endorphins that actually make you feel better so give it a go! Park your car further away from your destination, get off the bus one or two stops earlier and use the stairs rather than the elevator.

Stress can be one of the causes of depression or as a result of it. Try to identify the things that make you stressed be it relationships, work overload, health problems or just taking on too much. Once you have identified the key things that make you stressed (which in turn worsen depression) do your best to minimise or avoid them. Think of all the things you used to enjoy and still enjoy and put them in a mental ‘self help toolbox.’ It could be watching a funny or action-packed movie, it could be strolling through the park or it could be listening to music. Try to incorporate something you enjoy into each day even if you are actually feeling okay – the more you make time for yourself by doing a pleasurable thing the greater your resilience to depression will be. Above all, be determined that you will win the battle against depression. It is an unwelcome visitor and it’s time it shut the door from the other side and disappeared into the darkness from whence it came.

Fear of Public Speaking

By Sig Nordal, Jr.

Many of us, indeed most of us, are nervous of speaking in public be it for a large crowd of people or a more intimate setting with under ten people concentrating on what we are saying. This could be a presentation, an interview, a speech or even within a meeting. In fact, the more intimate the setting the more nervous we can feel as we are able to see each and every person and their reactions to our words.

Many people suffer from a great deal of stress and anxiety before (and indeed during) such public speaking where they can feel themselves start to sweat, feel their hands or knees shake and their heart pounding. Often the ‘speaker’ can speak too quickly or forget half of what they had intended to say. Such physical nervous and stress responses can be overcome or at least reduced by identifying the causes of your fear and looking at ways to overcome them. Your own worst enemy is your inner critic who is always harsh so ensure that you are realistic in your expectations of how you will perform. Convince your mind through positive thoughts that you are confident about what you will be speaking about as you plan and prepare your presentation or speech.

Many people learn what they will say ‘by rote’ like an actor with a script. Learning ‘by rote’ can have pitfalls as if you forget one line you may create inner panic and thus stumble over your words and forget a great deal more. If interrupted or distracted you can be completely thrown off balance. Imagine, if you would, an actor whose next line is a response to another character’s words – the actor who is confident and ‘unflappable’ can often compensate for the other actor by integrating what the person should have said within their own line. The key to speeches or presentations is to ensure you know exactly what you are going to say and what comes next. A useful tool is to have key words that encompass each verbal paragraph you are going to be speaking about – such could easily be on a notepad rather than separate pieces of card. How many of us have been somewhat distracted within a presentation by a speaker shuffling a deck of key cards as if performing a magic trick? The additional downfall of such key cards is that you will be preoccupied with them and fail to make eye contact. Keep it simple as much of your message falls outside the words you are saying but rather the body language, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice.

Public speaking is always going to heighten one’s adrenalin which you could negatively believe is fear but why not view it positively as excitement? You are to be communicating something – something that you know about and so you are prepared already for questions. Ensure that this is the case. Do not aim for perfection but improvement each time. Make sure that you do thorough research on the topic you are presenting even if it is your own field. Why bother if it is in my field? A good reason is because very few of us know everything. Depending upon your presentation or speech it is certainly worth using the Internet in order to see both sides of any statements you are making. Play ‘devil’s advocate’ with yourself. What’s the upside and what’s the downside of that method or theory? Then you will be fully prepared for any questions.

Useful strategies for nervousness focus upon mental, physical and psychological techniques. Experimenting with a combination of all three can give you a wider ability to reduce fear and nerves. We all require different techniques to achieve a state of calm and in control. The key is to not give up or be daunted by a memory of a previously poor attempt – use where you went wrong in order to grow and improve. Try to ‘mingle’ with the people attending prior to giving your presentation or speech. The more amiable you are towards people face to face the more likely they are to respond to you when you are standing in front of them communicating your well-prepared information. Again, this works in your favour too as they are no longer strangers and you thus become more relaxed when delivering your speech.

The standard formula for a presentation is to inform the audience what you are going to talk about (often using a story that will make people laugh), tell them a few key points (with stories to illustrate the points) and then to recap what you have already said. Avoid cramming in too much information as people can only withhold a certain amount of knowledge received audibly. Also, in this day and age, beware of ‘Death by Powerpoint.’ For many presentations, this is now a very common tool. Think of the times you have been faced with a screen of words watching the back of the speaker’s head as he or she reads it? Not many of us can read and listen simultaneously and we often speed-read the screen feeling ‘put off’ by the speaker! As the speaker, you are not making eye contact with your ‘audience’ and are purely reading out loud as though those in the room are incapable of reading for themselves. Having said that, if you wish to use a Powerpoint then interest can be garnered through visual images that hint at the next thing you are to be speaking about. If you are talking about profit (for want of a better example) a cartoon image of cash (be it dollars, pounds or another currency) with a ‘red tick’ to denote success could work very well to draw in the audience – not to mention it could be a very useful prompt for yourself as to what you are going to be talking about next! If you want to include additional information (or to concisely summarise what you were speaking about) by all means have some prepared ‘handouts’ to distribute at the END of your presentation NOT the beginning as you will lose those who have read it all before you have even cleared your throat!

Think of the presentations you have attended. The most successful are those where the speaker talks to you and not at you. Be genuinely enthusiastic and interested about the subject. You will not be able to please everybody as this would be an irrational fear. Do not worry about a possible few in the room who do not appear to be enthralled but focus upon those you are pleasing and to do your best. To paraphrase Bruce Lee ‘low aim is the crime not failure.’ Most people do not mind if you stumble over your words a couple of times – in fact they probably do not even notice. Tell yourself how prepared you are, remind yourself that you know what you are talking about and you are going to succeed. Keep repeating affirmative thoughts to yourself. If you are fully prepared, relaxed and know your subject you will get the best results. Once you have accumulated successes in various public speaking roles your confidence will improve and your fears will be replaced by fearlessness.

Addressing Inferiority Complex

By Sig Nordal, Jr.

A constant and nagging fear that you are worth less than anyone else is what is generally referred to as an inferiority complex. This could emanate from your physical appearance, your mental acuity, your financial or social status, your personality or sometimes all of the aforementioned. It is a truly unpleasant psychological state of being and affects how you interact not only with others but also with yourself. Most people at some point in their life will have feelings of inferiority but some people have them for year upon year and one shortcoming becomes two and then multiplies to almost every aspect of their personality and life in general.

If you explain to others why you feel inferior be it because you are too thin, too fat or too ‘anything’ then usually they will compare you to themselves or just look at the fear objectively and think ‘that’s a silly fear.’ And, we all do it. Many of us have the fear of not ‘fitting in’ with a social group whatever it may be and we outwardly don a mask to cover up the screams inside of us. It’s normal to be nervous or uncomfortable. No one is perfect. I defy you to think that there is anyone in the world who thinks they are perfect as it is impossible. There are of course those who outwardly have the demeanour of being cock-sure and confident about everything they say or do but in others’ eyes they are viewed as self-righteous and arrogant. Ergo, if we continuously concern ourselves with the way others see us we will never win.

The trick to overcoming crippling feelings of inferiority however is to ‘accept’ certain factors about yourself if you are not able to achieve an alternative – and who is to say that the alternative would be any sort of improvement anyway? Many of us have a kind of ‘If only I was taller/slimmer/prettier then I would be happy’ attitude – you can maybe alter physique in many ways but it is not necessarily going to make you feel that much better than you do now. I know a woman who has been too fat then had weight issues and got too thin, has had obsessive behaviours in all manner of her life from partners, lifestyle, drugs, alcohol, compulsive self-invoked superstitious rituals and so on. Twenty five years later she still cannot figure out why she has such extremes in her personality (which remain) as there is no obvious reason for any of it. It is just the way it is for her. She self-analyses in the extreme but now, as a result, has begun to more readily ‘accept’ that this is the way she is and attempts to stop over-analysis about trivia and past transgressions with a ‘I never did care about the little things’ approach – to literally to stop her emotional thought dead in its tracks and refuse to allow it entry.
As I mentioned earlier, we all have flaws. It is only when we overtly dramatise a specific flaw or flaws and give them meaning that it results in an inferiority complex. It is the thought that people belittle you for your ineptitude and call you an idiot or are calling you derogatory names about your appearance that force you into feeling miserable and inferior. However, there are a few techniques to help you overcome these feelings. It is your thinking that has led you to this state and thus it is thinking that will be the answer to overcoming such feelings. What you need to do is to fight against the thinking patterns that you have twisted out of shape. You have to restart yourself by realising that your flaws are not as bad as you think and that it or them do not remove all the good qualities you have. Comparing yourself to others and wishing to be the same as them rather than learning from them is pointless. It is coming to realise that an inferiority complex only occurs when you feel bad about the fact that you may be inferior to others in some way.

One of the most beneficial systems to help overcome your attitude towards yourself is that of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) whereby you assess your feelings, analyse them and make a dedicated change to your thinking on a step-by-step basis. Try to reduce your emotional thinking. Rather than simply feeling ‘down’ you need to be specific about what areas in life you feel inferior. If it is of a particular group of people to whom you feel inferior then try and list a few of the names of particular people within that group. People who feel inferior to others thrive on trying to be anyone that they aren’t. For example, members within a gym. We look and judge others all the time whether we are male or female. We ‘section’ them into categories and often stereotype certain types of people: the slim, toned, tattoo decorated women may fall into your ‘hmm, independent, mentally strong, determined and don’t mess with me type of women.’ And, the nervous or shy parts of your personality, may yearn to have one or two of what you perceive to be their qualities. Your own assumption is, of course, your perception of them – if you actually know the woman in question you may realise that she is just as insecure as you and, like you, hides it pretty well from other people!

Remember that it is you who is making yourself feel inferior by emphasizing what you think others are thinking about you. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘no-one can make you feel inferior without your permission’ which pretty much succinctly sums it up. In other words refuse to allow yourself to become depressed by how you perceive others may be judging you. In order to achieve higher self esteem and to gain confidence is to start to try and love yourself. Easier said than done I hear you say – indeed, many of us with an inferiority complex or depressive tendencies are hardly able to bring ourselves to even like ourselves let alone love ourselves. At some point in life we have either been told or assumed we were just not good enough to do something and have been carrying that heavy baggage throughout life. Take heed from Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress who tumbled alone into the Slough of Despond and was unable to remove the Burden from his back. Whereas Christian needed Help to be lifted out, you need to pull yourself away from your own negativity and shed the burden of worrying about how people view you – feel how much lighter your journey will become as you start to celebrate your own identity and and rejoice in it!

Dealing with Job Stress

By Sig Nordal, Jr.

Work stress can affect people in different ways both mentally and physically. Doing work that does not fulfill you, being overworked or being under worked and conflict with managers or co-workers can be major causes of stress. As a result some of us are prone to ‘blow their top’ when something insignificant and trivial goes wrong and woe betide those within the vicinity!
Of course, it is perfectly normal to have elements of stress within your life and it can be useful in the short term as it speeds up your heart and focuses your attention. However, over long periods stress can cause insomnia, headaches, lack of concentration and depression (to name a few). The major stress factors in your work life can also affect your private life – ever spent a lot of your time not at work but alone or with family and only thinking of your job?

Stress at work is often caused by the feeling that you are the one not in control of anything. Perhaps you have a deadline that relies upon someone else completing data. You wait and wait, doing other things but clock-watching and wanting to pick up the phone or stomp to their desk and say ‘I need it now!’ The waiting around builds up your stress levels and, by the time you get what you needed to make a start, you are aware that you are going to have to feverishly rush in order to complete your work in time. You manage to meet your deadline but feel resentful, stressed out and dissatisfied with what you completed as it could have been better.

There are also the times when you are instructed to do additional tasks on a long term basis. Invariably, such extra responsibility happens when you have just managed to get yourself into a settled routine and perfected your time management. Panic sets in and stress levels begin to build. One tip for this type of stress is to think of it like money. Many of us remember when we suddenly got a well-paid job and our incomes were higher than before – we adapted and managed to still spend all our salary before payday. Essentially, we all eventually adapt to different routines and expectations at home and at work.
If your job has altered it is possible that you are no longer quite aware of what your duties now encompass and you may have more than one line manager to answer to. Juggling the demands of multiple managers is a difficult time management skill and you may well be unclear on certain aspects of all the duties you are now supposed to perform. Asking something that you fear you should know already and the fear that they will think you dim-witted or incompetent is another source of stress. Just remember, even if your manager may be initially exasperated,, if you phrase your question correctly with the words ‘I just want to clarify….’ they are going to be a lot happier that everyone is clear about what is expected. This is also key to avoiding the stress of lack of communication. Touching base with managers keeps them aware that you know what you are doing and gives both parties the opportunity to mention any niggling worries or thoughts.
When you are stressed try to find something to laugh about – laughing out loud increases blood flow to your organs which helps to reduce stress. Clean up your desk, neaten and straighten clutter and reorganize your folders. Something as relatively tedious and mundane is in fact something you are in control of and it creates a sense of achievement and relaxation. Try sitting down with your feet on the floor, your hands on your legs and breathe slowly and deeply. Concentrate on each breath that you take and be still. Do this for five minutes and you will be surprised how much calmer you feel. Stress hormones such as cortisol are reduced by Vitamin C so why not have some orange or grapefruit juice on standby for such occasions? If you are able to, go for a walk – the exercise, deeper breathing and fresh air all help to clear your head and calm yourself down.

Above all try to retain a positive mental attitude whatever work or life is throwing at you. Laugh in the face of adversity and, rather than getting stressed, celebrate problems that occur as challenges that will not thwart you but will give you the opportunity to grow as a human being.