I started to write this weeks newsletter about fear but for some reason I couldn’t finish the article. It was missing the crux, the anchor point, the thing that would make you say ‘wow, that was a great newsletter from Zoe this week’. So, I rattled my brain for the best part of Friday, put the lid down on my laptop and had a Gin and Tonic (OK, maybe more than one).

I then started to feel a bit like a failure. Why couldn’t I write something so simple? Oh, I know, it’s obvious! It’s because I’m not a good enough writer, I’m inferior to most writers/bloggers out there, so why do I even bother?  
I also realized I was also intimidated by my audience, yes, little old you! What would you say when you read my not-so-read-worthy newsletter? I shuddered to think. 

Fast forward 48 hours……

Do you ever walk into a party, a boardroom, heck – even your place of work and feel a since of intimidation? You’re not alone. Possessing an inferiority complex is surprisingly normal and common. According to psychiatrists, an inferiority complex is a feeling of inadequacy based upon either real or imaginary sources. And it just so happens – because our inner critic loves to be our own worst enemy – so much of it is imagined.

By definition, inferiority complex is:
An unrealistic feeling of general inadequacy caused by actual or supposed inferiority in one sphere, sometimes marked by behavior in compensation. — Source:Google Dictionary

Sometimes in life, other people often make us nervous, they make us feel inferior and not good enough. This covers the spectrum from people higher up at work, love interests, people we don’t know at parties, popular people from school or the office, even celebrities.

It is natural to feel like you have something to prove sometimes. Often people we look up to (or those who we just don’t know but seem cool) can bring up feelings we harbor about ourselves that we are not good enough, smart enough or interesting enough. The good news is, you are. We are all equal, my friends – the same way there is no superior animal, ocean or star in the sky.

Whatever your spiritual beliefs, we know that we all came from the same source.  We are all different from one another, too – which means all of us have some unique value and flavor to add to a conversation or social setting (now, if only we really knew and believed this, right)?!

Here are some important truths to remember when your inferiority complex rears it’s ugly head:

1. It’s you, not them.

The fear of others is generated within us, not by the other person. Realizing this is HUGE, it helps us keep things in perspective . We are so quick to jump to judgement when we feel inferior around someone. We can build them up to be super human and think their life is perfect. That they are flawless. That they know everything. The best way to snap out of this is to understand this is created your thoughts. It’s actually nothing to do with them. Your inferiority complex is being generated by you and only you. 

2. Every single human has faults, fears and insecurities.

Jordan Belfort, the infamous Wolf of Wall Street, said in his memoir, “I’m insecure and humble, and I embarrass easily… But I refuse to show it. If I had to choose between embarrassment and death, I’d choose death. So, yeah, I’m a weak, imperfect person.” Even wolves get scared!

Feelings of inferiority plague all of us. It’s a large reason that so many famous people battle addiction. Their feelings of inferiority and imposter syndrome consume them hence seeking unhealthy forms of relief.

What’s imposter syndrome?

“Imposter Syndrome” is what we experience when we feel we don’t deserve our accomplishments. We feel we’ve fooled others into thinking we are capable and attribute our achievements to blind luck or good timing. Our inability to accept our gifts means that we feel like a fraud or an imposter—maybe even waiting to be exposed. It’s a horrible manifestation of the inferiority complex at work.

Most common in high achieving women, imposter syndrome not only prevents us from enjoying success, it also massively limits our current potential. Feeling non-deserving and like a fake, we turn down wonderful new opportunities and creative ideas. Imposter syndrome is the killer of many “what-might-have-beens.”

Does that sound like you? It sure sounds a lot like the excuses I hear all the time (including from myself).

3. Remember that people are just people.

Most people — including famous people — are just people. They put their pants on one leg at a time, they sit on the toilet and do their business, they need to call their Mom and they open the mail and pay bills, just like you and I!

4. Other people are nervous, too.

Hey – you might be intimidating. Ever thought of that? Shyness is misunderstood as aloofness all the time. A friend of mine who appears standoffish confided in me one night at drinks that he is shy and loves it when people interact with him because he is not confident in taking the initiative.

When I shared that he comes across as a little aloof he was surprised as it is the opposite of his intention. Sometimes, if you make the first social move and say hello, you might be eradicating two people’s nerves!

You don’t have to make your mood and vible about your fear and feelings of inferiority. Sometimes the kind and generous thing to do is assume that other people feel the same way that you do. So focus on them. Make them feel comfortable. You’ll put yourself at ease in an instant. And notice your inferiority complex evaporate!5. You are giving power to your ego when you worry and overthink.

Intimidation/nerves is your lower self talking. Or as Arianna Huffington calls it, the “obnoxious roommate in your head… give them an eviction notice!”

Who benefits from an ego mind? No one. When you find yourself in analysis paralysis – when your inferiority complex is bubbling up – something is richer, thinner, more interesting – divert your thoughts. Distract yourself. Even watch TV or call a loving a supportive friend. Don’t stay in that dangerous place! It can be switched in an instant by you whenever you choose something else.

6. Feeling inferior is banished with love and admiration

When we see other people through a lens of love and not fear – our inferiority complex fades, fast. So next time something happens that triggers you – a friend lands a killer job, takes that dream trip to Bali, buys a condo or get engaged sincerely congratulate them. When good stuff happens to other people it just means that it’s possible for you, too! 

Someone else’s success does not take away from yours. You can even learn from others’ achievements. Success for others, when perceived correctly, shows us that getting what we want is achievable for anyone. My friend Alexis’ body was transformed with a barre workout — her colleague joined the studio too and benefited from months of Alexis’ research! If her colleague came from a place of comparison rather than a place of curiosity and openness, she would be closed off to this awesome benefit.

7. Do YOU!

You can always decide to use your energy productively by focusing on what you have, not on what others have. This puts an inferiority complex in it’s place – out of sight and outta mind. Consider – if you envy someone ask yourself, would you want the less desirable parts of their lives too? Probably not. When I can’t sleep, am waiting in line or my subway is delayed I love to think of things that I appreciate about my life in that present moment.  There is so much good in your life when you look for it! You can’t hold feelings of appreciation and inferiority at the same time. So kiss that inferiority complex goodbye!

8. When scared, think: what is the worst that can happen?

You can always decide to use your energy productively by focusing on what you have, not on what others have. This puts an inferiority complex in it’s place – out of sight and outta mind. Consider – if you envy someone ask yourself, would you want the less desirable parts of their lives too? Probably not. When I can’t sleep, am waiting in line or my subway is delayed I love to think of things that I appreciate about my life in that present moment.  There is so much good in your life when you look for it! You can’t hold feelings of appreciation and inferiority at the same time. So kiss that inferiority complex goodbye!

8. When scared, think: what is the worst that can happen?

So what? ‘So what’ is one of the greatest things you can ask yourself in this world. Being exceptional means making yourself vulnerable sometimes. And a huge part of success is just being willing to do things that other people aren’t. That includes putting your inferiority complex in check and taking it all a little less seriously!

Use your energy to remind yourself who you are at your best and highest self?

8. Don’t take life so seriously

Ha. Can you laugh a little more? Nothing banishes feelings of inferiority of self attack then a sense of freakin’ humor.

9. What is the best that can happen?

Ah, this is one of the most awesome questions we can ask ourselves! The possibilities are endless. You might make a new friend, a new career connection or even get a date! The opportunities are abundant when you stop allowing fear and that nagging inferiority complex get the better of us. Assume the power of positive expectation. What if all of your thoughts were directed to only the outcome you wanted? You’d get it!

10. Don’t take anything personally

If  you are ready to experience some freedom, bliss and kick-ass heck yes! power in your life, check out Don Miguel Ruiz and his book, The Four Agreements. Because well, well, well. if you have an inferiority complex, nothing will change your life like this agreement: Take nothing personally.

Friend cancel last minute? Oh well. Job interview unsuccessful? Next. Get blown off by a date? That’s OK, too. Because it’s not about you.

Truth: Nothing other people do is because of you! What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own experience. We also have no idea what is going on with other people when we assume the victim role and feel rejected.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering and worrying. At all. There is a tremendous amount of personal freedom you access when you take nothing personally. It’s like taking the best drug on earth! You’re freeee!!!

11. Have some self compassion

Self compassion is the best form of self help. You can take it from me – a self help junkie. Say you made a mistake – big deal! What did you learn? It’s no reason that your inferiority complex should rear it’s ugly head again. Think: what did I learn? Most slip-ups (which are the vast majority of mistakes) can benefit us by teaching us something. There is no such thing as a life without mistakes, so take something useful from each minor mishap if you can. Can you apologize quickly if you think you maybe did something wrong and find out the truth? Otherwise – just let it go? Chalk it up to being human and focus on the next thing?

12. Lose the perfection illusion

Couldn’t we all just be a little nicer to ourselves? Why do we all have this expectation that we have to do everything perfectly—whether it’s eating healthy all the time or making sure there are zero spelling mistakes in our personal blog posts? Nothing sparks our inferiority complex more than this flawed belief that we need to be perfect somehow.

It’s true! I forgive myself when I make mistakes. Because being human is awesome. Heck—your screw ups may even inspire others (like my spelling mistakes)! Who cares? I love what Sheryl Sandberg says, “Done is better than perfect”. Amen.

13. Master your mind

Consuming uplifting content every day is a huge source of happiness for me.

Self-help books, educational podcasts, inspirational blog posts—how does anyone live without this stuff?!? If I miss a single day I notice it. This helps me live in the present moment, seize my personal power, and drop that inferiority complex. External inspiration also massively feeds internal inspiration. Ready to get started? 

Nothing made the need for this newsletter more clear to me than when not so long ago someone told me that before they met me, they thought I was intimidating. Wait, me? Super friendly, petite, always smiling, girl-from-a-small-town, me? Like our values, the qualities that intimidate vary for everyone. Well here is one universal truth, well put by Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I don’t need to meet you to know that there is nothing inferior about you, my friend.

Zoe x

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About Zoë Dodds

Life, Health, and Fitness Coach

Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.

With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.

Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.

Click here to read more.

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