To be able to deal with the daunting sensation of feeling “lower quality” than others, it’s important to firstly understand the concept itself — or what is referred to in psychology as the “inferiority complex (IC).”
It’s a term that originated by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Alfred Alder who describe it as “a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and feelings of not measuring up to society’s standards.”
It’s often sub-conscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme asocial behavior.
In modern literature, the preferred terminology is “lack of covert self-esteem.” Therefore, if someone has low self-confidence, chances are, they will also suffer from an inferiority complex or vice versa.
A classic example that comes to mind is Napoleon Bonaparte. Troubled by his height (only 5’2”), he counter-balanced in other areas of his life, obsessing about power, control and world domination. Admittedly, he did become one of the greatest military commanders in history, but extreme overcompensation should generally be taken with extreme caution too, as it can lead us to dangerous places.
As for most, a more feasible outcome of such turmoil feelings would simply translate into greater alienation from the world, preference toward solitude, toward thinking over socializing, observing and passiveness over acting.
However, perhaps the most prominent reasons for the IC are comparisons to others and feelings of social inadequacy. By working on these, a person can tremendously improve on their IC.
Additionally, making an effort to expand one’s social network does help tremendously. It may frequently feel exhausting to purposely and actively socialize, but having a support system is very important to healing an ailing confidence. Making friends is a large part of winning over an IC.
Avoid, as much as possible, parallels with others. Although it’s much more challenging than just flipping a switch, many of these may be quite counterproductive.
Focus on yourself and your personal growth. Find a mentor — even a public figure one looks up to — examine why they are successful, what body language they exhibit, gestures, way of speaking… Emulating some of these “success” behaviors will set a good groundwork for nurturing certain “confidence” actions of your own.
Finally, the most important thing is to believe that you are special and unique, although different.
This doesn’t make you less or incomplete. You just have to work a bit on putting some focus on enhancing your social skills a little, on respecting yourself for your wins (no matter how small) and the battles you’ve fought, on overcoming your shyness to let others glimpse into your true personality.
Once you start your journey of self-enhancement, you will also find that the monsters are really not all that scary.