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Inferiority Complex

“A Ford trying to be a Cadillac is absurd. But if a Ford accepts itself, it can be just as durable as a Cadillac, and it can take many turns that a Cadillac can’t even make, and park in many places that a Cadillac could never get in and take off with a speed that a Cadillac could never take off with. And in life, some people are Cadillacs, and other people are Fords.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

When in college, Martin Luther King Jr. discovered that he wasn’t as good at statistics as his friend. He took three hours to do sums which his friend completed in just one hour. This led to him developing an inferiority complex.

Later, looking back, he explained two common ways in which people try to deal with an inferiority complex:

1) Belittling Other People: They may find themselves constantly trying to pull others down, by insulting or criticizing them. This gives a false sense of satisfaction and superiority.
2) The Smokescreen Method: They may find themselves constantly bragging about what they have, such as their wealth, education or talents. This smokescreen of superiority, put up for the benefit of others, gives some temporary relief from a nagging sense of inferiority.

Many of us develop an inferiority complex that may have its origins in our physical appearance, lack of a particular skill or something else along these lines. But both the aforementioned methods of dealing with it are toxic. How then do we overcome an inferiority complex in a healthy manner?

It can only be overcome by developing a robust sense of identity. The Bible gives us an excellent starting point for this, when it says that each of us is God’s masterpiece, created uniquely for beautiful purposes. Moreover, we are also told that we don’t have to figure out this purpose by ourselves; we can put our confidence in God: “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before our God, not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our confidence comes from God.” So why try to be someone else, when we can thrive within the unique identity which God has given us, by putting our trust in Him?

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