A short definition of Inferiority, by Roberto Assagioli:
We can distinguish two different causes, or groups of causes, of indecision. One, which may be considered “constitutional,” occurs in introverted types who indulge in excessive and sterile self-analysis. They often have an intense sense of inferiority.
Here, an important distinction should be made between a feeling of inferiority or superiority and an inferiority or superiority complex. This word “complex” is used in a rather loose fashion, whereas it should be reserved for serious, even pathological, cases. Everyone has a sense of superiority or inferiority.
This represents no “complex” but is simply an inner attitude that is usually well within the bounds of normality. We are all superior in some things and inferior in others. But the introvert’s general feeling of inferiority, or even his inferiority complex, is usually not justified, because he is frequently intelligent and gifted with aesthetic and moral sensitivity. The Act of Will, p. 165
Inadequacy and Inferiority
The feeling that we are inadequate is another frequent cause of depression. It is a glamour which undermines and limits a great many, and we should remember the “snowballing” tendency of all these glamours. We feel we are inadequate and so we hold back from undertaking something; then we feel that our lives are futile; then despondency and depression deepen.
Lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities is often caused by the tendency to compare ourselves with others, but this is not a rational process. No one is identical, with the same capacities, abilities and qualities, and no one will act in exactly the same way as another. So we
cannot measure our achievements accurately against those of others. People who are less able in some respects have qualities that others may Jack, and all have different limitations. We need to accept ourselves and our abilities -or lack of them-and not mind if we seem to be “outshone”.
If we are using our own “equipment” as best we can, our achievements may be just as great for us as the successes of others which are more spectacular. In a sense it is a form of pride to want to equal or excel those around us, and to feel that we should do so lets in glamours of
A sense of inferiority can become a complex of a crippling nature, restricting us and negativising our potentiality in every way. Fear of failure is one of its chief causes and those with this glamour have to learn not to care so much about results-to do and be their best, but remain emotionally detached from the result of their endeavours. We should not be afraid of failure; it brings experience and can teach us many lessons. It also strengthens and enriches us for future achievements.
A less introspective attitude should also be adopted. Many are apt to look too critically at themselves and constantly pull themselves to pieces. This obviously makes things even more difficult for them and only increases the negative effects of these glamours. There is no need to point out again the value of the techniques of dis-identification and right proportions and of cultivating the opposite. (Meditation for the New Age Year 3)