Suffering From an Inferiority Complex at the Workplace? 7 Powerful Tactics to Get Rid of Them
Inferiority complex in the workplace is best described as
- Feeling worthless to do something you’ve been assigned with
- Refusal to take up new projects for fear of failure due to peer pressure
- Strong negative emotions working for the company
- Low self-esteem when compared to your colleagues
Inferiority complex starts with a single shred of doubt that lingers long enough in your mind to question your existence and your worth every time a task comes up.
People who suffer from low self-confidence will always suffer from feelings of self-loathing when they are as experienced as their co-workers or can even outperform them.
Let’s make a commitment with you that by the end of this guide, you’ll be free from negative thoughts and you’ll feel a tremendous boost of confidence surging from your mind.
WHY INDIVIDUALS HAVE FEELINGS OF INFERIORITY AT THE WORKPLACE
Inferiority complex is quite common in the workplace and it happens to all of us during the first few days or weeks of joining a new company.
It’s quite natural for humans to compare themselves with their peers and self-evaluate their worth to understand exactly where they stand in the employee rankings. Healthy competition is necessary, and it causes us to work harder and helps us achieve our milestones and climb up the company’s ranks quickly.
However, the biggest problem arises when you’re unable to shake off your inferiority complex even after a month or two of joining your company.
This is when you know that it’s no longer a phase but a mental disorder that is a part of your personality.
Activating Your Inner Happiness Mechanism
Dr. K. Kuhathasan the CEO of Cenlead believes that everyone’s self-image is different and every time we express our feelings and emotions to someone we either enhance or diminish our self-image.
He states that every one of us has an inbuilt happiness mechanism that lies dormant within us, we either wake it up every day to make it work for us by improving our life or we let it sleep and we simply hide behind our inferiority mask.
Dr. Kuhathasan strongly believes in getting rid of inferiority complex by visualizing our goals in front of our mirror every day. He suggests facing the mirror and asking yourself 3 important questions and the questions are –
- How can I impress others?
- How can I shine today?
- How can I perform to my fullest?
By answering these questions and repeating it every day to yourself while facing the mirror, you’ll enable your goals and divert your mind into activating the happiness mechanism.
The exercise helps if you have a list of achievements that you’d like to accomplish listed in a numerical order. The higher the priority, the higher the achievement should be located on the list.
Insecurity and Its Negative Effects
Insecurity is one of the biggest negative factors responsible for inferiority complex. Insecurity causes us to forgo opportunities in favor of remaining in the dark as we fear making a mistake will put the light of judgment on us. In turn, insecurity begins to morph into other negative areas such as – jealousy, envy, hatred, aggressiveness, and depression.
Take for example – As a journalist in your company, your boss calls you in with the biggest break of your life. You get to interview the mayor of the city and make your mark in the big wide world of journalism. Instead of feeling excited and jumping up on the offer, you begin to fret and imagine all the blunders you’d commit on live television while interviewing the mayor. These events create a negative barrier causing you to lose a big opportunity. In the end, you refuse and watch haplessly as the job is passed on to your fellow colleague.
As your colleague accepts the offer, you begin to feel the claws of jealousy reach at your throat and become envious of her when you see her ace the interview. You’ll begin to see her as a threat to your job and may begin to unnecessarily pick feuds with her.
Therefore, insecurity causes strong feelings of inferiority to harbor and it’s important to tackle the issue at its earliest stage before you wake up one day and see a toxic garden of passive aggressiveness basking within you.
7 TACTICS TO DO AWAY WITH YOUR INFERIORITY COMPLEX AT WORK
Here’s a short story of a man who suffered inferiority complex and you’ll see that even successful people had to endure the likes of inferiority —
Harland was at the wrong end of sixties with not a penny in his pockets and barely able to meet ends meet. He suffered from social anxiety all through his life and at the ripe age of 65 when life seemed to end for most people, he decided to begin his.
He decided to start a business by selling fried chicken and decided to go door-to-door selling his recipe. To his surprise, people loved his recipe and restaurants were ready to license his product. Harland decided to strike a license agreement with many restaurants in his block and soon came to be known fondly as — Colonel Sanders, owner of the KFC franchise. If you’re blown away by this story, remember that age doesn’t necessarily dictate when you can shake off that stubborn insecurity that manifests within you.
To help you fight off inferiority complex, we’ve prepared 7 various techniques to help you curb your insecurity.
We understand that not everyone shares the same kind of insecurity as the other. Hence, we invite you to try the tactic that best suits your lifestyle.
1. The Distraction Tactic
The distraction tactic is quite straightforward and is all about keeping yourself away from all distractions that are bound to occur in your workplace.
What distractions you ask? Let’s take a few examples.
- You’ve heard a gossip from someone about how everyone is negative about you in the office
- Overthinking an incident involving verbal abuse you received from one of your senior level managers
- Fear of not being able to achieve anything despite giving your best at work
- Worrying about how your physical appearance is at every minute of your work day
- Demonstrating importance on how others perceive you without their actual acknowledgement
All the above examples are quite common in a workplace and afflict the employees with the most inferior mindset of all. Remember, it might be hard to focus on your work when you’re surrounded by unhappy emotions, but these thoughts only fuel your brain to feeling “inadequate” when you’re not.
To best utilize the “distraction technique”, here is a method we recommend you utilize. Let’s call it the “Bridging Your Positivity” technique.
Let’s say you’re distracted by a certain bad incident that happened at the workplace. You’re completely unable to concentrate on your work and can’t help but feel worthless. In this technique, you’ll be required to —
- Close your eyes completely and picture yourself in the incident. Replay the event completely inside your mind. Do it just once
- Once you’ve replayed the entire incident, it’s time to convince yourself that you’re stronger than this than to let someone’s words have their way with you.
- After all, they don’t walk your shoes and have no idea who you’re underneath your professionalism.
- Convince yourself that their words don’t really affect you and think of a beautiful holiday that you’ll be taking the coming summer.
- Distracting yourself from the current negative situation with a future positive outcome is one of the best ways to activate the distraction technique.
- Before you know it, you’ll completely replace the negative situation with a happy one.
- Perform this technique with your eyes closed every time to mentally create a bridge of positivity in your brain every time things get you down.
- We promise, in time, you’ll be shedding off your inferiority complex and will concentrate on more valuable priorities in life.
The “Distraction” tactic is powerful once you master it. In time, you’ll be able to immediately disperse negative memories and replace them with happy ones without you feeling impacted by it.
2. The Gratefulness Tactic
Are you someone that looks at other people’s lives and wishes you had it just as easy as them?
Do you sometimes feel jealous of your work colleague for being well-recognized in the office?
If yes, then the “Gratefulness Tactic” is the right technique for you. Often, we begun to relive our past and wonder what it would be like had we made a certain choice to impact our future.
Our lives would be so much better than today.
But the reality is that no amount of regret is going to change the past, but all the daydreaming will surely impact the future.
In turn, the events that we do in the present will continue to shape our past. The best bet is to make do with the tools we have today and not reach for the past.
Feeling insecure about our present due to the mistakes of our past is quite common and happens all the time. Instead of counting the stars for others, it’s time to begin counting your own stars. Stop comparing your life with those that are fortunate and start comparing with those less fortunate than you.
The homeless, the disabled, and the bankrupt are great examples that come to mind.
Ask yourself are you far worse in your situation and have less tools to work with when compared to the above less fortunate? Of course not.
To start the gratefulness tactic, we begin by performing one new thing every week to show our gratitude to the planet and all the people and animals that live in it.
Here are a few activities to accomplish and you can add your own to the list as you complete them.
- Forgive someone that offended you in the past that you haven’t been talking to
- Help a friend with his problem that you’ve been ignoring for the past month
- Sort out simple home tasks by helping a family member around the home
- Give a hot warm meal to a homeless person and see their bright smile
- Instead of buying a pet from a breeder, choose to adopt a stray animal from the pound. You’ll be saving two lives — the stray and the one that takes its place
- Next time you decide to throw out your leftover food, remember that there is always someone around that needs it more than you. Help them receive it
- Spend an entire day at an orphanage by offering education and time to kids that sorely need someone to talk to
- Perform community service at your nearby community center — feeding the homeless, helping injured animals, clearing litter from beaches, etc.
While at first, you might ponder at how gratitude ties in with inferiority complex but as you begin to open yourself to others you begin to be accepted by society and before you know it, you’ll be off the chains of isolation and misery.
3. The Acceptance Tactic
Don’t we all wish we were in the shoes of Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt to accomplish superhuman feats and bathe in the crowd’s thunderous chants? If you have trouble accepting yourself the way you are, the “Acceptance Tactic” could be your answer to shedding your inferiority complex.
To begin with, let’s begin by summarizing the story of Usain Bolt.
Before all the fame, Bolt was just an ordinary boy born in a village called Trelawny Parish that barely had water and no electricity. He was born in poverty and begin to train from a young age thanks to the motivation of his mother, Jennifer Bolt.
In his own words, Usain Bolt stated that anyone could sprint at his speed if they just put in the required effort to train their body and mind. Now that we’ve heard from his side of the story, we begin to see just how human Usain Bolt really is and how he got to where he is through sheer hard work and commitment, something all of us lack yet complain.
While the other superhuman, Michael Phelps with his 28 Olympic gold medals from over 4 Olympics seems to be god’s own creation, let’s get inside his story.
A 29-year old Michael Phelps was found in an alcoholic state in 2014 by local police. He was slumped and was no longer the golden hero everyone knew him for, instead he was a pale shadow of his former glory. He was arrested on the spot and the press began to send out his infamy to all the four corners of the world. Now, while the average person would take this as the final nail to the coffin, Phelps decided to prove the world wrong by regaining his former shape at the age of 30.
He began to train past his insecurity and inferiority complex. He became focused on the goal to be the fastest swimmer in the world and break his old record. He wanted to hear the crowd chant his name in a deafening roar once again. And that’s exactly what happened in the 2008 Olympics where he won a staggering set of 8 gold medals and destroyed numerous world records that day.
Every champion had to go through an insecure phase, no matter how confident they were in the past. Through these two stories, we wanted to prove to you that insecurity affects even the best metahumans on the planet and that the only reason they shine is because they overcame that through mental training and dedication to their art.
Accepting yourself is the first thing to do. Stop comparing yourself to others and know that you’re unique. Know that the future holds numerous options for you, out of which you get to choose the one that allows you to radiate your raging passion to the world.
Here are a few pointers to accept yourself without clouding your judgment.
- Celebrate your strengths and work on your weakness
- Remember this quote “A fish can’t climb a tree comparing itself to a monkey, just like how a monkey can’t swim like a fish”.
- Don’t allow negative people to talk down your strengths. Avoid toxic individuals.
- Have a support army that you can rely on. Like your family, friends, etc.
- Ensure the inner critic in you stays silent when you perform a challenge in life.
- Remember to reward yourself when you perform a unique feat that no one else can. Example — securing the biggest deal for your company.
- Practice self-compassion and eliminate self-doubt. Doubt is noise for the mind preventing you from doing great things.
- Forgive yourself. You are human, after all.
4. The ”Being-Happy” Tactic
Yes, even clowns feel pain and insecurity behind all that makeup. The smile they demonstrate to the world is just as fake as their face paint. No, we aren’t proposing you to stay happy with a silly smile across your face all the time. That’s not what the “Being-Happy” tactic is all about.
Instead, we invite you to add joy to your life in a natural way and by eliminating all the stress from your life. Sometimes, when our self-esteem hits rock bottom we tend to feel insecure about ourselves. The simplest of tasks can seem like a mammoth accomplishment.
Did your boss just ask you to get him coffee? You are now a nervous wreck. You begin to think how you could fumble and spill the steaming coffee on your boss’s brand-new suit. You’re sure you’ll be fired. Worse! What if no one hires you after a bad recommendation letter from your boss?
This is how insecurity manifests itself in the simplest of tasks.
The root cause for people to remain unhappy and insecure with their job is “Uncertainty”. Many working individuals have no logical reason on why they work every day. When questioned the usual response is “The pay is good, and I have a family to feed”. When someone isn’t happy in their job, a stressful mechanism is triggered.
Working a job, you don’t like only to take home money causes a chain of negative reactions. Instead, if you were to shed off your insecurity and have self-confidence in doing what you love, you’d make the money but also add the happiness factor into your life. This is what the “Being-Happy” tactic is all about
Staying happy isn’t a magical formula and while it’s simple to attain it’s also harder to sustain. Sustaining happiness is just like any other activity that you take up for the first time, remember the first time you tried to ride your bicycle and you fell bruising your knee?
However, a week later and you were able to balance your bike just enough to go down your first lane without a fall. Enjoying happiness is similar when you lead a disciplined life.
By adding these simple quotes into your life, you’ll see just how to manage a happy life and sustain it for a long time.
- Follow your passion not the money bag
- People that love you should love you for what you are and not because of your success
- Don’t postpone problems until it’s too late. Seek a solution immediately
- Rejection can be a stepping stone of success. Work on your weaknesses
- Always count on a backup plan for any of life’s numerous scenarios
- Social skills are a must even if you’re an introvert. Develop just enough to work through a satisfactory conversation
- Traveling is the best experience for the mind to pursue
- Always continue to grow, there is no finite limit for knowledge
- Never hold grudges. They only burden you
- Live for today but also invest in tomorrow
- Say “Thank You” only if you mean it
These are some of the words that many successful, confident, and happy people live by. There isn’t a strict set of rules, but the rule of the thumb is
“Do what makes you happy, as long as you aren’t putting others in harms way”.
Happiness doesn’t have to be a fleeting emotion, it can be captured and preserved with the right tools.
5. The Visualizing Tactic
Our minds are powerful. More powerful than we give them credit for. In fact, without you controlling yourself, many defensive mechanisms are activated to protect your body. Don’t believe us? Let’s look at a list —
- Antibodies being released within us to combat daily illnesses that we don’t even know we have been afflicted with
- A detoxification process that constantly removes toxins within our digestive tract to keep our bellies running in full capacity
- Involuntary yawning causes our body to automatically circulate oxygen to our blood and increase our otherwise low energy levels
- Sweating after a workout to regulate body temperature
- Sneezing causes us to expel millions of germs and other allergens
- Allergies to let us know there is a foreign body causing problems in our body.
The list goes on, but the point is our mind and body are well-connected and even if we physically don’t take care of ourselves, there are certain defensive mechanisms in place that cause our bodies to expel negative forces.
Similarly, for inferiority complex, our mind requires us to practice “Visualization” to give us a new defensive mechanism to activate upon receiving any negative feedback of ourselves.
Visualization helps us connect with our mind and inform us what our strengths and weaknesses are. We can boost our self-esteem by simply boosting ourselves through visualizing a situation and finding an appropriate solution for it.
Still unable to follow us?
Let’s give you a step-by-step visualization technique.
Step 1: Begin by taking a notepad and listing out all the stressful factors of your life. For example — Less income, Health issues, Outstanding Loans. Harassment at office, etc.
Step 2: Ensure you list every single issue without hesitation. Once it’s on paper, take a good hard look at all the issues for a good five minutes.
Step 3: Take a deep breath and begin to find workarounds for each problem. For example — if it’s a bad loan, cut costs and find ways to repay the debt or if it’s harassment at the office, approach your seniors and report the harasser immediately.
Step 4: You’ll begin to feel the burden lighten in your mind once you’ve visualized your solutions on paper. Studies suggest that inferiority complex is directly linked to social anxiety, once you deal with your anxiety, your insecurity begins to disappear.
Step 5: Ensure you visualize every problem in a similar fashion by writing it out on paper first. Remember, there is always a solution to every problem, all you need is a clear mind to find it.
And that’s it. The “Visualization” technique is all about finding an answer to one’s problem instead of lugging around all the mental baggage all day and feeling inferior to the gaze of others.
6. The “Improving Yourself” Tactic
While it’s hard for a person that lacks self-confidence to suddenly just burst out with energy and go prove their worth. It’s also worth mentioning that by striving to be our very best we do away with our inferiority complex for good.
What do we mean by being “the very best version of ourselves”?
Allow us to demonstrate with an example — Let’s say you’ve just begun a new job at a digital advertising firm. Your job as the research analyst is to bring in the hot news for your firm by spending all your day on the internet and making phone calls to some interesting clients. You’d obviously be fearful at your new job.
What if you aren’t worth it and that you get fired without even making it to the first month?
In this negative situation, improving yourself will be your best option. What do you do? Simple, you turn your concentration towards learning the situation and understanding how work gets done in your workplace. Every time a negative thought comes into your head, convince yourself that the greatest entrepreneurs worked in much worse situations and made their way up by improving themselves.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your self-confidence and boost your overall productivity to attain improvisation —
- Stick to the basics at the new job. Don’t try to conduct your work operations based on a YouTube clip of an expert you witnessed last night. That takes years of work. Keep it simple.
- Once you’ve learned the ropes of your company. Find ways to improve your productivity during the first month. Your first month’s impression can be invaluable in suggesting to your senior managers that they made the right call in hiring you.
- Don’t hesitate in asking for help when you’ve got no idea on how to do it. Remember everyone started out new just like you.
- Find a role model immediately, whether in real life or through an autobiography. Every expert has valuable advice to share to their newer compatriots. This advice can save you on valuable time by avoiding mistakes.
- Improvisation takes time. Don’t cut corners to improve productivity, instead increase your efficiency over time. Don’t give a reason for your bosses to find fault in your workings.
Once you’ve followed the above tips, your inferiority complex will begin to diminish, and you’ll begin to appreciate the process of a butterfly morphing out of a cocoon.
7. The “Mind Your Business” Tactic
Inferiority complex in people can cause them to be easily susceptible to criticism by others. In fact, even constructive criticism can set off alarm signals in our brains that cause us to fret and worry and soon wander into an isolated world of depression.
Remember, false flattery will only be the doom for your career. Imagine being congratulated for every screw up you performed in life or being praised for something you fully know you didn’t perform to your fullest. It’s worse than being criticized. According to a study by Madorah E. Smith, the subjects demonstrated more than 700 conflicts of inferiority complex.
The report further suggested that inferiority begins during adolescence and if left untreated would strongly manifest into adulthood and affect work-life balance greatly.
The “Mind Your Business” tactic is a technique that utilizes a closed-minded approach as compared to more open-minded tactics as the previous ones. It’s important for us to practice assertiveness in curbing the menace of inferiority.
Because inferiority-stricken individuals generally find it hard to stand their ground and usually succumb to peer pressure and change their own opinion, they have a hard time accepting themselves in the long run.
Let’s change that by providing a checklist to abide by.
- Learn to say “No” in front of the mirror every day. Then practice it in front of a family member. Soon you’ll find it easier to deny favors for your work colleagues who take you for granted.
- When in doubt, always stand your ground instead of siding with another’s opinion, simply because it’s the general opinion.
- Keep away from office politics. Don’t waste time gossiping and taking sides between one or the other. It’s not what you were hired for.
- If you feel you need to make an impact by yourself. Start by concentrating on your career, the others will follow behind your success.
- If you don’t feel like having lunch with a group, take a timeout and sit by yourself. Don’t feel guilty of being the odd one.
- Don’t let your boss’s words affect you. Realize he was once an employee just like you and was the target of such insults.
- Don’t step on other people’s office turf. Avoid giving a reason for your office colleagues to pick a banter with you.
- Socialize with discretion. Never reveal deep secrets during a break, this could haunt you later.
- Don’t offer advice where it’s not needed. Even if someone asks for it, remain neutral. Remember, never pick sides.
By not being judgmental, you’ll not be a threat to your office mates when an internal war breaks out.
There will be no bounty on your head since you weren’t participating in the gossip. Eliminating most of the noise ensures your inferiority complex remains in check.
The famous words — “People that spend time looking for faults in others, should spend time in correcting their own” works well when dealing with bouts of inferior complex.
FINAL WORDS ON DEALING WITH INSECURITY AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM
The defense for a deep-rooted inferior complex is building up your self-esteem, hence by instilling some confidence into yourself and understanding that every mistake is a part and parcel of life, you’ll be able to accept things on a logical level and be less prone to feeling guilty.
Distance yourself from the negativity of the world and surround yourself with positive people.
When you’re responsible, kind, and approachable, you’ll automatically find yourself in a much better state of mind to not feel insecure all the time.
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