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Ever look at other people and just feel … small?
No matter what they are doing, you feel like you can’t do it as well as they do. You have had a feeling like you’re a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, and you can only kick your own butt.
In medical terms, it’s known as an inferiority complex, but you just know you feel that “people are better than me.”
This feeling of never being good enough, that everyone else has more, does better, and always succeeds is what’s been holding you back your whole life. You feel like you’re a failure, so you don’t even try.
But just why is this how you see yourself, and can you change your “people are better than me” mentality and succeed at being you? Let’s find out.
What Is the “People Are Better Than Me” Mentality?
The “people are better than me” mentality is an advanced inferiority complex that affects you and makes you feel inadequate in all situations.
Usually, this inferiority is imagined, and you may base your assessment that you’re not as good as others on some physical or surface-level defect, which is usually widely exaggerated.
Seeing others as better than you is more than just being envious or jealous of others. Instead, you actually believe your twisted version of reality, seeing yourself as less than. You end up withdrawing and self-isolating since you feel insufficient.
The result of this withdrawal and inferiority complex is that you end up very lonely and may develop depression and feel unhappy with life at large. It’s your lopsided comparison to others that leaves you feeling blue and left out.
You end up seeing yourself as limited, when you actually have unlimited potential, if you could only believe in yourself. Your mental deficiency mindset causes you to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will fail, and so, you do.
Whether through self-sabotage or due to your lack of self-belief, you end up being weaker than everyone else, less successful, and always last.
Why? Because you choose to see your flaws only, never admitting to your successes and positive qualities as you are already convinced that you suck.
Your inferiority manifests with signs of:
Reasons Why You Believe Others Are Better Than You
Why do you see others as being more capable, better, and just more-everything? There are a few reasons why your self-esteem has holes in it.
Your Past Experiences
When your childhood was traumatic, you were belittled, compared (and found wanting) to others, or you were constantly punished for doing “wrong.” As a result, you may develop a weak self-esteem.
Instead of learning independence and self-sufficiency in your childhood, you were conditioned by your parents and peers to not believe in yourself. They turned you into the small child stuck in life’s time-out-corner.
The result is that you’re timid and withdrawn.
Money and Friends Challenges
When you grew up poor, you learned about going without. The result can be that you began believing you weren’t enough either.
While we’re not our bank balances, not having the same financial standing as your peers can negatively affect your perception of your success.
When you are different from others, have a physical challenge, or perhaps you are just physically self-conscious, you will begin to see yourself as less than. Even your genes can predict your level of self-confidence and self-esteem development.
You Were Dumped
Breakups are hard, but if yours was very messy, you could feel like you were pushed aside for someone better, indicating that you are “not good enough.” The repercussion of this is a dashed sense of self.
When your culture and society expect certain things from you, but you are unable to deliver (because you don’t want to get married, can have kids, or are part of the LGBTQIA+ community), you begin feeling like a failure.
The often unrealistic expectations of our peers and family can leave us feeling shattered.
7 Ways to Overcome the “People Are Better Than Me” Mentality
We should only compete with ourselves to be the best version of who we are, but society thrives on making people compare themselves to others. This comparison can leave you feeling inadequate and “less than” others.
Thankfully, you can overcome the self-depreciating mindset of feeling inferior to others with these ways to not feel like everyone is better than you.
1. Understand Why You Believe Others Are Better Than You & Deal with Your Past
Identifying the root cause(s) of why you believe others are better than you can help you accept it, forgive yourself, and let go. So ask yourself:
You can journal about these questions and answers, and it may take you a few journaling sessions to come to the root causes of your inferiority complex. That’s okay. Take as much time as you need.
Once you know why you feel like you aren’t good enough, accept your past for what it was. Make a conscious decision that you want to start believing in your greatness (because you are great and you are here on earth for a purpose).
2. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts and Find Evidence
When you believe that you are “less than,” your mind is filled with negative self-talk to run you down even more. You are your own worst critic, and unfortunately, we believe what we think about ourselves.
So when you think that your colleague is prettier and smarter than you, you’ll believe it and then act in ways to support that – like helping her go after the promotion you actually want.
It’s time to look out for yourself and reframe your negative thoughts. This starts with knowing when you are talking down to yourself and then finding evidence to support those “claims.” If there’s no evidence, it’s not true.
And don’t go finding (far-fetched “evidence”) just to make it true.
Like with your colleague, why do you think she’s smarter than you? Does she sit and hold your hand and help you finish your work? Or are you actually a capable person who breezes through work tasks (and some challenges are healthy for your brain so don’t zoom in on those and think you “can’t because you’re stupid”)?
No evidence means it’s time to reframe your negative thoughts because they aren’t helping you. Use positive self-talk and support that with evidence. For example, “My coworker is intelligent.
I’m also intelligent (in my own way) and I work hard. It’s okay to ask for help, but I can successfully figure things out.”
3. Accept and Love Yourself
While you’re not perfect, you are you, and you are uniquely wonderful. Loving yourself is one of the best ways to let go of insecurities and just be comfortable in your own skin.
When you feel insecure, you often live a life filled with fear. You’re afraid people will see you as being insufficient and not good enough. Perhaps you worry they will learn that you’re flawed. Guess what – we all are.
Start practicing self-acceptance, and know that your flaws are a part of you and nothing to be ashamed of.
Even if people discover a flaw, will it really be the end of the world? If you stuttered as a kid and still do when you get stressed, this isn’t anything to be ashamed of. So why worry about being “caught out?”
Once you embrace your flaws, you won’t be ruled by them. In your journal, create a list of flaws you think you have.
Next to each, write what you think will happen if people knew you had this flaw. Now write whether this flaw is really shame worthy. Chances are that none of them are.
4. Focus on What You Bring to the Table
Part of learning to love and accept yourself and even reframing negative self-talk is identifying your strengths. You have great power, even if admitting to your strengths doesn’t come naturally to you.
You have worth (always) and you always bring something to the table (or have an opportunity to do so). So make time and journal about your strengths.
You’ll also want to join more activities and hobbies where your strengths can shine to give you a confidence boost. Also work on your weaknesses because you can always improve.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself
It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. Yet, no comparison to someone else can ever be realistic. After all, you don’t truly have all the facts to make a logical comparison.
So, while you think that your neighbors are really successful because they drive a Mercedes, you may not realize that they are vastly in debt and constantly worry about their car being repossessed.
Stop making comparisons to others. Instead, compare yourself to yourself. After all, you can only have all the facts about your own life, never about the lives of others. So any attempt to compare is then flawed too.
Start consciously breaking the comparison habit:
6. Surround Yourself with Loving, Kind, Supportive People
When you are surrounded by negativity, it leaches into you, like a contagious disease or parasite infecting you with a negativity virus.
You’ll find that it’s much easier to think positive thoughts and see yourself as worthy and enough when you are surrounded by people who are good for your mental health.
These folks love you unconditionally, they support you, and they give you a soft and safe haven. They celebrate your successes as if these were theirs, and they feel your failures (or opportunities to learn and grow) as deeply as you do.
7. Spend Time in a New Environment
A change of scenery can do wonders for your mental health.
It gives you a chance to explore a new environment and you can find like-minded individuals who help you break free from negative self-talk and self-defeating prophecies that make you feel like you are less than.
Immerse yourself fully in this new environment and be mindful when your old thinking patterns start to slide backward into negative territory. You are here to gain a new perspective, feel refreshed, and bask in positivity.
While you are in this new environment, consider doing things you’ve never done before, which will renew your confidence. Try:
Final Thoughts about the “People Better Than Me” Mentality
You’ve likely had to do a double take and pause as you reflect on just how amazing and worthy you really are. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and even failures are just chances to rise above and shine. Stop living your life based on comparisons to others.
You are enough as you are – a brilliantly unique and perfectly flawed person who is on their own journey toward personal excellence. There is no need to think “people are better than me” when you are in social circles or at work. People are just people.
So you do you, and be aware of your own sufficiency. Read our guide on building a more positive self-image of yourself to help you get started on your “people are just people” journey. And remember to start talking positively to yourself – your mind is listening.
For more information to help you better prepare to act and solve your problems, be sure to check out these articles: