No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve always loved this quote. Read more of my favorite quotes here.
In essence it seems so simple, doesn’t it! It means we should never feel inferior to anyone because we never give our consent but of course human nature is much more complex than that.
Unfortunately we give our consent all the time. We feel inferior much more than we should.
How do we stop feeling inferior? We need techniques to deal with our feelings. What do I mean by a technique?
It’s a plan of action to take when a feeling of inferiority has been triggered. People are different and so are the reasons we feel inferior, so let’s look at a few different techniques you could try. See which ones work for you.
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The logic technique
Good old logic and reasoning. You can’t go past it to sort through a minor annoyance when it comes to feeling interior. Sometimes applying logic can help a great deal.
We know that a piece of information is not true. We look at the facts in an unemotional manner and come to a solid conclusion. Or we know for sure we are right about something (and I don’t mean this in an arrogant sort of way, just that we know our facts are correct).
Granted this one isn’t for the big-ticket inferiority items but logic can definitely help with those moments where we take an honest, objective look at something and can brush it aside as not relevant.
The good news is the better you get at not letting people make you feel inferior – the better you are at applying the logic technique because stuff that used to bother you – won’t bother you anymore! Bravo!
The distraction technique
Again this one is for the more light-weight thoughts of inferiority.
Stop thinking and start doing.
Get in and distract yourself with something productive. Sometimes getting in and getting stuff done and feeling good about ourselves is the best thing to stop us over thinking. Overthinking can trigger feelings of inferiority because we are making the situation worse than it really is by overthinking the crap out of it.
The be grateful technique
This one is very basic but it’s often one we don’t use enough on a day-to-day basis.
Instead of counting other people’s blessing – count your own.
We all have so many things to be grateful for but in the rush and stress of everyday life we gloss right over them. It’s often not till something bad happens and we come out the other end in one piece, that we realize how lucky we are for the bounty that we have.
Don’t wait for something bad to happen to appreciate what you have right now. Practice gratitude every day. When you see someone who appears to have more than you, you’ll be a lot less likely to feel inferior because you appreciate just how blessed you truly are.
The what I’m great at technique
Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pep talk. This is where we need to remind ourselves of our strengths instead of obsessing over our weaknesses.
Okay so we didn’t do so great on the maths/puzzles questions in our job interview test, but we blitzed the spelling and comprehension style questions. Before you start chastising yourself for not being great at math remind yourself of all the things you are GREAT at.
We all can’t be good at everything. We all have areas where we are better at something than others and what a blessing that is. It’d be kind of boring if we all excelled at the same things.
When you are struggling with self-doubt, remember what you are great at. Focus on that and where it can take you. Go your strengths!
The I can fix this technique
We are human and we all make mistakes.
Sometimes your technique for not feeling inferior is to roll up your sleeves and get in and fix something that you screwed up.
No denying the mistake, no blaming someone else. Just fess up, offer a genuine apology, get it fixed or at least minimize the damage.
Related post – Are You Repeating the Same Mistakes?
The stop comparing yourself technique
Often our inferior feelings can be triggered by comparing ourselves to other people.
Basically we feel someone is better than us (prettier, smarter, richer, popular etc) and we start feeling bad about ourselves.
This is when you need to turn the focus back on yourself. Forget about what other people are doing. Focus on what you need to do right this minute to get closer to your goals and dreams. Focus on what is important to you.
A lot of the things we compare ourselves to other people about aren’t the keys to our heart and soul. It’s often stuff that doesn’t matter but because we obsessing over it, it takes on a much bigger importance.
Focus back on yourself and what you want. Get out there and make it happen.
Related post – Don’t Compare Yourself to People on Social Media
The you are wrong about me technique
This is the one where someone thinks they know us but they really don’t (or they don’t know us as well as they think they do).
Whether we like to admit it or not this attitude can come from people who are extremely close to us like family and friends. They may love us (and we them) but they don’t know the inner workings of our hearts and minds. For reasons of their own they may want us to follow their path and take on their opinions.
People will try to slap labels on us. They will pigeon-hole us and downgrade our abilities (sometimes to make themselves feel better).
Don’t fall into this trap. Know who you are. Know that other people are entitled to their opinion but that you are entitled to think to yourself – you are wrong about me – and go about your business.
Related post – Don’t Let Anyone Else Define Your Worth
The who gives a shit technique
The who gives a shit technique asks the question who is the source of what I’m feeling and do I care about their opinion.
Here’s a scenario for you. You are in a bar/restaurant type venue and some drunk guy says something nasty about the way you look (and yes I’ve had this happen and seen it happen).
Suddenly you feel terrible (where 5 minutes ago you were feeling pretty damn good).
Think about the source of the nasty comment. The source is some random drunk guy. Hardly someone to be listening to in the first place because for starters he’s drunk and being obnoxious. Next we need to ask ourselves is this person’s opinion something I am prepared to take on. The answer is a big honking NO. Then we can dismiss the comment as insignificant, forget all about it and get back to enjoying ourselves.
The flip side of this one is that it’s often you who gives a shit.
The reason we sometimes take on board criticism from a random stranger who has no sway in our lives is because it hits an existing nerve. It ignites an insecurity we are already feeling.
Say we are feeling insecure about our body and someone says something nasty about us being overweight. We might already be exercising and eating healthy (but not seeing the results we want yet) so the comment hits a sore spot and we feel bad.
Focus on the fact that you are taking action. You are doing something to get where you want to be and it’s important to acknowledge that. If you haven’t taken any action yet, that’s okay too, plan your first step to get started.
If a comment hits an existing insecurity, focus on what you are going to do to move forward with confidence not on the person being nasty or the comment itself.
This is about you and the way you feel about yourself not about what anyone else thinks.
Related post – Stop Waiting for Acceptance – Accept Yourself
The be kind to yourself technique
Insults and name calling can hurt. No doubt about that.
The problem is sometimes the name calling hits a nerve and instead of being kind to ourselves, we jump on board and add to the nastiness. Our self-talk takes an ugly turn and instead of being our own cheer squad and best buddy – we bully ourselves.
Stop name calling. Start monitoring the way you speak to yourself and start working on improving what that voice in your head is telling you.
Related post – Pay Close Attention to Your Inner Dialogue
The I don’t need to be the same as you technique
This is the one where we feel different.
Sometimes people will try to make us feel inferior, just because we are different.
To hell with that I say – different is beautiful. Different is unique and amazing and colorful.
Use your difference to shine and excel. You don’t need to be the same as anyone else. You just need to be you. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.
Related post – What’s So Great About Being Normal?
The know your worth technique
When it all comes down to it, this is the one that is going to get you through.
You might have been fired, been left brokenhearted, lost your direction or done something stupid. Come to think of it, knowing your own worth could be a major force in stopping you doing something stupid.
This is the one where despite whatever chaos or confusion you are facing, you hold your ground with conviction and wholeheartedly know your worth.
The be happy technique
This one isn’t so much a technique as a way to live your life. This is a way to just be.
I’ll confess I added this point at the last-minute after watching an episode of Marie TV by the amazing Marie Forleo. Her guest was Bonnie Ware the writer of The Top 5 Regrets of Dying. Marie talks with Bonnie about the first two regrets in the interview and you can head over to Bonnie’s site for all five.
As I was reading through these top 5 regrets, the last one – I wish that I had let myself be happier – jumped out at me. Lunged out at me is probably a more accurate description!
I’m working on my first product at the moment and planning my first launch. As a consequence, I’m consumed with work and feeling a lot of stress and pressure. So much so that when I was unwell yesterday and couldn’t work, I was racked with guilt. I felt terrible all day both physically and mentally.
And then I read number 5!! It was a wake up call. It was a wake up call that happiness is a choice and regardless of everything going on (and there’s a lot going on!!) I can choose to be happy. And that’s just what I did.
I’m happy to be writing this post, I’m happy for all the amazing people in my life. I’m happy for my fur child assistant who’s asleep on the floor next to me keeping me company as I type this.
Have a happy day everyone. Remember no handing over your consent. Stop feeling inferior. Be your amazing, talented and happy self for all the world to see!
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