Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Should Be In: Overcoming an Inferiority Complex

When I post something on a social media website, such as Facebook, I check my notifications consistently to see how many likes, or comments my post has gotten.  After, say, about three days, I look back at that post and see the status of it; I am often disappointed with it.
Later, when I go through my news feed and notice that someone else's post received 100 likes, I immediately compare it to my posts, and think of how inferior I am to that person. Jealousy also starts to take over my emotions, I feel like I should be happy for that person. I mean how exciting is it for 100 people to notice something that you posted, but I still can't help the feeling of inferiority.

Apparently, I am not the only one who struggles with these negative emotions and Facebook, according to an article in Time Magazine: "The scientists studied 600 people who logged time on the social network and discovered that one in three felt worse after visiting the site—especially if they viewed vacation photos."

So where do we get these emotions?
Well according to Rajeshwari N. Kenchappanavar's article: Relationship between Inferiority complex and Frustration in Adolescents,
"Inferiority complex arises when a person finds himself in a situation where his abilities and attitudes are denigrated or rejected by other people [3]. Inferiority complex is a magnification of natural feelings of inferiority and results when strivings to overcome inferiority are greatly hindered. Anything in the individual that is below the average, that provokes unfavourable comment or gives him a feeling of impotency or ineptitude leads to inferiority complex"

An inferiority complex resulting from Facebook could be a subconscious feeling of rejection when people didn't click "like" on your status.  It's not that they are publicly or purposely rejecting you, but subconsciously it feels like they are. Now, most of us probably aren't severely plagued with an inferiority complex, however, we can still see where these feelings can come from.

So how can we help ourselves stop the cycle of the inferiority complex?

This is from an article from the American Psychological Association, it seems that we can help ourselves by not focusing on ourselves, but on a higher goal.  
"We really think that if people could adopt goals not focused on their own self-esteem but on something larger than their self--such as what they can create or contribute to others--than they would be less susceptible" to some of the negative effects of pursuing self-esteem, Crocker says. "It's about having a goal that is bigger than the self.""
I feel like this could mean working towards your calling in life, or something as simple as doing a good deed. 

Here are three ways to help you stop the cycle of inferiority and start focusing on positive attributes of yourself and others.

1.) Prayer.  When I start comparing myself to another person, praying helps me clear my mind and gives me a feeling of satisfaction. 
First, I thank God for the person that I am feeling the negative emotions toward, and thank Him for the things He as gifted them with or has given to them.
Second, I thank him for three positive things/gifts that he has given to me.
Third, I ask for the feelings of worthlessness and insecurity to be taken away. 

2.) Love yourself, love others.
Take some "you" time, it could be something as simple as looking in the mirror and complimenting yourself on an feature of yourself.  For example, "Your eyes look amazing with the shirt you have on" stuff like that, but don't turn into Narcissus! ;)  However, nothing can be more satisfying than volunteering somewhere!  It helps your community and yourself become better and grow.

3.) And finally decide not to let these negative thoughts make you feel inferior.  As Elinor Roosevelt once said: "No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent"   

~ Anna

Here are the links to the sites I referenced above:
Time Magazine
Rajeshwari N. Kenchappanavar's article
American Psychological Association

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