7 Signs of Inferiority Complex

Learn to recognise signs of inferiority complex. An inferiority complex is a state whereby you persistently believe and feel that you are not able to measure up to others. It is a sign of low self-esteem. The thought behind an inferiority complex is “I am not good enough”.

“The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge to conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.” – Alfred Adler

overcome signs of inferiority complex low self-esteem


At least 95% of people have at one point or another encounter thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. However, you are said to have an inferiority complex should you constantly compare yourself with others. You see yourself as being in second place or falling short. Consequently, you feel poorly about yourself.

Root Belief of Inferiority Complex: I am Not Good Enough

Most of us are not always so confident about ourselves. In fact, I will consider having a level of uncertainty as “normal”. We can then be motivated to make a change or improve on the areas that we are weaker in. However, the call to make a change should really be something that goes on internally. This is opposed to zealous attempts to win due to the fear of losing out.

There could also be situations whereby we feel that we lack practice, are not as well prepared or not as academically smart as someone else. Our self-doubt does not qualify as an inferiority complex unless we have deep-rooted beliefs about not being good or worthy enough. Where we are driven by our subconscious fears, we can undertake actions or behavior that undermine our wellness.

Despite having zapped many of my limiting beliefs, I still encounter situations, whereby I feel inadequate or not quite up to par. On reflection, I understand that the impetus to compare is an instinct for survival. And it is the ego that has this impetus.

The ego thrives only when it is superior. It needs to compensate with superiority from feelings of inferiority. We get to hear its pesky voice in our head, “not good enough”. In fact, I hear the same voice whenever I am working on writing a new book. When it strikes, I will invariably start to hyperventilate from thoughts of not being good enough as compared to more established authors.

I recall a time when I would also drive my husband crazy with my neurotic behavior; swinging from a hopeful “I am convinced that I have got something to share with this book” to a gloomy “I am just not good enough to write it”. My mind would go on an overdrive. I would be taunted by fears of public rejection, shame and humiliation. Of course, these fears were mostly psychological.

If I were not aware enough, I would have allowed these pangs of insecurity to prevent me from putting out books or any work. I acknowledge that if the same situation were to happen 10 years ago, I believe that I would not be able to write a word for any book at all. I would have been paralyzed into inaction, due to having a serious case of inferiority complex back then.

Signs of Inferiority Complex

What is key is awareness. We shine light into our shadows to dissipate the dark. What is important is to bring awareness on what constitutes as signs of inferiority complex or inadequacy.

1. Heightened Sensitivity to Other People’s Opinions. Are you highly sensitive to what others think and say about you? Do you immediately feel small whenever there is a critical comment about you? Don’t feel confident about yourself?

You often take it to heart what others say. You crumble at the slightest remark about yourself. The alarm bells inside your head go ringing, “You are not good enough”.

2. Social Withdrawal. You dislike being in a crowd because you cannot get rid of the sneaking suspicion that you are not as good as others. You would rather not have others find out the truth about how lousy or insecure you are. You hate any forms of comparison, which could be inevitable if you belong to some kind of a group. You prefer to be left on your own.

3. Fault Finding. You have a trained eye in picking up the faults or imperfections about others. Since you do not already feel good about yourself, you may as well cause others to feel poorly too. Thus, no one in your mind can be superior. In other words, you need to make others feel small so that you can look bigger.

4. Place Own Needs Last. Having an inferiority complex can cause you to put your own needs last. You try to brush them aside. However, you are really wallowing in feelings of unworthiness. Over a long time, you start to accumulate anger.

5. Crave For Flattery. Compliments make you glow with pride. However, when you have an inferiority complex, you are dependent on flattery. You go all out to be nice to everyone, so that you can receive validation. Validation makes you feel good about yourself. Your ego gets hugely inflated.

6. Performance Anxiety. You just hate competition. You don’t like to lose. Losing makes you feel like a failure. You find it hard to get over being second place. Every time you need to perform, you sweat profusely.

7. Procrastination. You cannot seem to get motivated. There is a reason why you are not able to get off the couch. The root belief is that no matter how much you try, you are never going to be good enough. And so you are feeling very unmotivated to get going.

Inferiority Complex: A Case of Perception

Mostly, inferiority complex arises from your perception; rather than what is actually the case. You draw conclusions based on your evaluation of experiences. Very often enough, these evaluations are not facts and likely to be distorted.

Self-doubt plagues you when you have an inferiority complex. Misery sets in. You are likely to undertake compensating behavior so that you can psychologically make up for the difference. Taken to the extreme, an inferiority complex can drive anyone to depression, isolation and suicide.

Fortunately, it is possible to overcome signs of inferiority complex sufficiently to experience greater freedom, happiness and peace. We begin by becoming aware of the belief that is behind our emotional disruptions and outward behaviour. We let go of the thought of “not being good enough” to knowing ourselves as being enough.


Love and Abundance Always,

evelyn lim signature

Life Coach. Energy Healing Practitioner.


Do “like” or “share” this post on social media, if you agree to the importance of creating greater awareness about having healthy self-esteem!


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Share your observations about inferiority complex in the comments below.



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Joan Harrison - April 15, 2013 Reply

“We shine light into our shadows to dissipate the dark” I love that line Evelyn.
I have a friend who is a hugely successful business woman and I was out with her and her family and she disclosed that she did not feel clever enough.
To me from the outside she appears amazing and confident, but there are parts inside of her that feel inadequate. We place these beliefs into our subconscious and there is then a possibility that they will manifest in our lives.
It is good to grow your awareness of yourself, it is then possible to find out where the insecurities stem from.


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Joan,

Thank you for sharing about your friend.

Yes, I have been surprised too. I have friends who appear to be successful and at top management levels but their little secret is that they do not believe that they are not good enough. And I thought I was the only one, at one stage. It’s really our shadow.

By sharing about our own insecurities, we can also begin to realize that we are not the only ones with the root belief. We begin to be aware that we are the ones holding ourselves back. In the process, we also learn to laugh at ourselves πŸ™‚

Love and blessings,


habte Reply:

Hi guys,
I wanted to join your discussion because i feel that i am suffering from a “cycle” of low self esteem. I don’t know how to get rid of it. It is really affecting my normal life. I can’t think of big things: i am simply struggling to be out from the feelings. One thing i know is that i have something good: but it isn’t enough to make me feel good.


Collette - April 16, 2013 Reply

Hi Evelyn just wanted to say how every word you speak in that article was me. I feel emotional as I already know this to be true, I know I have to work on self love, I have all the books and I just cant seem to get beyond it being a short term thing. Then I revert to being angry and cynical and negative and depressed. how I can change my immense inferior complex, when I have been doing this for 30 years. Wreaking my own life. Thank you for the information here its made me think I have to start again ….


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Collette,

I am sorry to hear that you had been experiencing emotional swings, despite your attempts.

To me, they are indicative of healing work that needs to be done. In my case, I experienced real shifts through emotional clearing. Without a shift, I guess I will still be like a yo-yo.

I believe that it is very possible to be happy. If you need further assistance, please email me. I will be happy to help you with more answers.

Love and blessings,


Shah Jihan Reply:

I always think of i am not important among friend and i always feel devalue i want to get myself out of it?


Galen Pearl - April 16, 2013 Reply

For much of my life I felt inferior, but it was hard for other people to see that, or even for me to see it myself, because on the outside I was very adventurous and successful. Once I peeled back the layers, though, I could see it clearly. Now there is no pretense. I’m not trying to impress someone or be somebody else. I’m just me. It’s very liberating.


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Galen,

Thanks for sharing about yourself and your life.

It truly is an unveiling process. When I think back, I cringe at the level of pretense that I put on at one stage.

I continue to be in the process of peeling the layers. Now, I experience no embarrassment to share on my blog that I once experienced bad swings. And may I add: I continue to have my quirks and neurotic behavior.

Yes, I absolutely agree about how liberating it is!

Love and blessings,


Cornel - April 16, 2013 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

I think society places a lot of pressure upon you via what is considered a success in terms of career, finances, looks and so on. There is always the danger that you feel inadequate, not good enough, or a fake even if you are very successful.

Allowing yourself to be less than perfect and trying to be just a better you every day is amazingly liberating. I agree with Galen. πŸ™‚


Steve - April 19, 2013 Reply

You make very good points. I think you’re very right that a little bit of uncertainty is normal. That’s especially true if you’re pushing yourself to try something new. I’m a little like that. I don’t often know how good I am at something. Sometimes I discount my own abilities.

Your second point about fault finding reminded me of someone I know. She’s always looking for other people’s faults. It’s a little annoying too. She’s always looking for things to criticize people over. You’re spot on with your analysis of that. She makes other people inferior just to feel better herself. The problem with this type of person though is I think they often have trouble coming to terms with their problems. It’s a defense mechanism that masks their real feelings.


Natalie - May 15, 2013 Reply

I saw myself with each numbered point I read. Literally everything describes me. I am embarking upon a self love journey and stumbled upon your blog and I am completely obsessed with the quality of your words and how to communicate ways in which I can help myself.
How then can I overcome this complex?? I want to change, help me please.

I wish you all the best with your blog and will be certain to spread your message (and blog address) around to my friends and loved ones.

All the best,



Ashley Pennewill - August 8, 2013 Reply

I for a long time had an inferiority complex, but thankfully my friends and family helped me to move past it. Some days I do feel inferior but I remember this saying that I found “Be-you-tiful” It just helps remind me that I’m me and that is beautiful.


Megan - December 20, 2013 Reply

I have always had a huge lack of self worth, “inferiority complex”… I constantly try to over compensate. I am always putting my own needs last. I depend so much on the approval of others. I have sunk so low, at age 26, I am fighting a drinking problem. I have almost a split personality in that regard because I have been able to, overtime, establish a career and obtain a chunk of an education. I hate myself. I have random bursts of confidence. I have an emotional dependency on alcohol. I have a therapist that helps me deal with it but reading this was very eye opening. Some days, like today, I just feel so depressed. I am trying very hard to stay away from alcohol and around the holidays it’s really hard. I push anything good out of my life and destroy any bonds that might be worth while because I don’t think I deserve to be happy. because I am not good enough. It’s a struggle I have faced my whole life and I KNOW I am not alone it goes so unspoken of. Where can I find more resources and/or books/help about this?


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Megan,

I am sorry to learn that you had been having a challenging time. Energy clearing work can help accelerate your healing process greatly and especially where your problems are deep. An addiction to alcohol is likely to mean that you probably need a fair amount of detox work at all levels – physical, emotional and spiritual.

So if you haven’t tried energy healing, I recommend that you look into it. Energy healing methods include Emotional Freedom Technique, Reiki, Quantum Touch and so on. There are several options to choose from and they are all based on the concept of universal life force or energy.

Do talk to your therapist and explore your options!

I send you both love and light!

With best wishes,


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Daniel DaSilva - March 5, 2015 Reply

I am so grateful for my ex partner with just shared with me that I might suffer of inferiority complex. So I did some research online and found this article, and omg, it’s totally me, I have all sings of this problem.
Any suggestion Any kinda of treatment ( readings, exercise …etc), I hate to scream at others for no reason and later feel like a shit.


Carmen Benson - June 14, 2015 Reply

I am aware that my daughter has suffered from this behavior for
many years. In the beginning of her life I was did not understand
what this behavior was all about. Her Dad continues to this day with his drinking problem and I use to be very co-depended. Over the years I have sought out many therapists and I am good today. My question to anybody
that can give me an answer, is my daughter behavior coming from her
up bringing.


Kumar - November 4, 2015 Reply

I am a gay by sexual orientation. I suffer inferiority complex about my dark colour. Right from the school mostly i was ignored. I wish to suicide. But thinking of my parents, I dont like to do that.


aurgean gonzales - December 8, 2015 Reply

Hi. Yeah what I’ve read a while ago is perfectly me. This feeling of inferiority began when someone called me ” ugly” in front of the crowd. After that day I became so insecure and isolated. I never trust someone not even myself. I always want to be alone. I am trying to feel better and make change but every time I lose everything seems like not working and I think its getting worst.


maryann - December 22, 2015 Reply

Ive always thought I just had anxiety with a little schitzophrenia. All of the areas described sounds like me.


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