Monday, July 9, 2012

Inferiority or Superiority Complex??

I’d like to start this blog post by saying thank you for coming by each time and making positive contributions to engender thoughts (on this blog and on my fb timeline) and to help pave way for the much desired change we all seek for our world particularly as it concerns black people and particularly a certain species around the Niger area.

I hope you had a refreshing weekend as I did. I have not been able to write in a while due to work activities and family responsibilities but I managed to shake off the lethargy and here it goes:

Inferiority complex is a feeling of inadequacy compared with another person or group of people. According to Wikipedia,
"An inferiority complex, often used to mean low self-esteem, is a feeling of intense insecurity, inferiority or of not measuring up. An inferiority complex can be seen in the negative or "useless" reactions to problems in life. These reactions are useless because they do not solve the problem at hand, but only serve to guard one's self-esteem by avoiding the task or by placing the blame for the failure outside of the individual's control."

Superiority complex on the other hand is a feeling of exaggerated importance/esteem by an individual.

Nigeria being my case study, I have observed that complex underlie some of our problems as a people. Consider our history, the colour of our skin and infact the race (black) have been subjected to discriminations of all sorts. Many of our ancestors were made to feel inadequate, less, unworthy, disadvantaged. This complex was thus passed on down the lineage save for some who refused to accept other people’s definition of who they were as humans. Many symptoms of inferiority complex involves being unable to air one’s view when in the presence of another person especially one with “white skin” (age, intelligence, skill, notwithstanding). This same “black” individual may then afterwards over exaggerate his/her sense of self in dealing with another black person who is younger in age or rank. This is usually done as an attempt to conceal the inferiority complex which the person suffers from.

In Nigeria, you will find people who cannot adequately provide for their own basic needs but who will spend any amount of money they manage to lay hands on to purchase “designer”labels. Some others must buy a particular model of car even if they can’t really afford it. Subjecting oneself to the pressure of society is usually a hidden form of complex.

Complex (inferiority or superiority) is a very deep psychological condition which can affect a person’s social, marital emotional, and work life. Within the Nigerian society, many men feel this complex when they get a female boss because they have been consciously taught to think (and believe) that the female gender is inferior and weak compared to the male. This is usually with no resort to any meaningful basis of comparison such as intelligence, exposure, education, acumen, skills, etc. This can also play out when you find people of wealthy background and those from poor homes. The tendency is for the folks from the wealthy homes to feel superior to the other groups with no consideration for any other factor but for the difference in financial status.

The complex which ordinary citizens feel in relation to their leaders (public office holder that were elected) is one of the worst example. It usually is a summation of the various types of complex the average person suffers from. You can understand this well when you think that citizens believe that the leaders are supposed to “enjoy”and “lord” it over them. The citizens blame God, devil, oyibo and any other third party for bad and corrupt leadership but never themselves. This disease indeed needs curing.

Church members feel inferior to their pastors and their relatives. They assume that the pastor deserves to be “more” while they should content themselves with being less. Same goes for people of other religious beliefs.

Having worked directly with diminutive men, I have observed a special kind of inferiority complex which is largely attributed to the physique of the individual. Many such people tend to display aggression, intolerance, over-bloated sense of importance, special walking style. Maybe the world generally discriminate “indirectly”against people in this class – consider the force (military, Naval, Police) requirements for enrolment, game of basketball and other sports – but I dare say every physical attribute does have its own unique advantage and disadvantage.

To cure this ‘complex”problem, there has to be an understanding of the problem itself by the sufferer. There has to be a willingness to face truth within self. There must also be an acknowledgment of the condition and a willingness to be helped or to do whatever needs to be done to resolve it. Understanding first and foremost that self-discrimination is a recipe for failure in whatever endeavour/discipline/career is key to resolving this condition. A healthy self-image which usually comes from being “skilled” in one thing or doing work which one knows is important is another. Understanding that each individual on earth is unique, different and special and realizing that a seeming flaw is not as bad as it is and that everyone has their own fair share should reassure anyone. Knowing that those special attributes of “me” is key to completing the world’s jigsaw puzzle can help an individual to develop a positive and healthy sense of self.

Adopting and internalizing principles and values which have been demonstrated by many successful people (past and present) will help an individual to get on the path to healthy self-image. And as the proverbs “as a man thinks, so he is” goes, what goes through one’s thought flow is important. A healthy and balanced thought about self can engender a confident outlook in an individual.
Exercise is a good one for the mind. It stimulates good feelings and increase blood flow around the body thereby leaving one with a sense of wellness.

Putting one’s life in proper perspective through inspired words and books can also prove to be very helpful.

I wish I could show you, When you are lonely or in darkness, The astonishing light of your own being. ~Hafiz

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

"Having a low opinion of yourself is not "modesty". It's self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not "egotism". It's a necessary precondition to happiness and success." ~ Bobbe Sommer

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~ Albert Einstein


  1. Good Day Mary, Thanks for such a wonderful blog! I was wondering where you got the quote from Dr. John Henrik Clarke that is your quote of the week? I would like to read the entire speech or lecture or wherever it came from! Thanks so much.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
      Dr. henrik Clarke's quotations are available on the net. But many of the quotes are repeated in his works.
      Here's a link to his books on amazon