Overcoming Superiority Complex

Superiority-Complex-273x300Superiority complex is an overestimation of self-worth that leads to looking down on those that we consider to be inferior to us; an attitude that – if left unchecked often leads to abuse. Superiority complex is not the same thing as confidently accepting that one has the edge on others in some areas.

True destructive feelings of superiority happen even when we might (objectively) have worse attributes than others but feel somehow better. Superiority complex is an exaggerated but often disguised form of inferiority complex. According to Alfred Adler folks with feelings of superiority carry an exaggerated striving for superiority in which the individual hides their feelings of inferiority. Here are few examples.

According to Hitler, an Aryan – the Germanic man with his pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes – is a supreme form of human, or master race and others (the Untermenschenless as he called them) less than supreme or racially inferior. In his book “Mein Kampf,” (My Struggle) Hitler claims: “… (the Nazi philosophy) by no means believes in an equality of races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will (of God) that dominates this universe.” This attitude consequently fuelled Hitler to kill Jewish Germans in their millions. In an attempt to subdue these ‘inferior’ races Hitler’s Germany sparked World War II that wiped out even more millions of lives and in the process of bringing the world economy into her knees.

From centuries earlier the very supreme thought gave white Europeans and Americans the “bragging right” to enslave and exploit millions of black people for generations. Jay Carrol claimed in his book entitled The Negro A Beast, a Justification of Slavery that black people, while they looked like humans, they were not human and they had no soul. Therefore, since black people are mere soulless beasts, we are told that God gave humans (White people) dominion over the beasts and the beasts are to serve the humans. In their eyes, the white is the superior and the Negro (black people) the inferior.[1]

This theological premise formed the platform of the Western Church doctrine that was used to reassure all the good Christian folk that slavery was not only appropriate, but the will of God.

Superiority complex was both the trigger and the justification for the most appalling atrocities in recent human history – slavery, World Wars, Holocaust, and apartheid.

I know, it’s easy to point fingers at Hitler and co as the epitome of extreme evil, but if the truth is to be told we are all prone to harbor seeds of superiority and, in varying degrees, all of us are guilty of this very crime. So before casting the first stone on other high profile offenders consider how many times each of us has looked down on people that we thought are less fortunate, less able, poorer, bad looking, un academic, or those we perceive as unaccomplished?

When you realise seeds of superiority are trying to take hold use the following thoughts to uproot it;

Get The Facts: The people that you feel superior to might not be as worse as you thought. Before picking your nose in disregard ask yourself, are they really as bad as I think? Go get a close look at yourself and get all the facts. Even if they are in deed inferior in those aspects, remind yourself that they too are (or will be) superior in other equally important aspects. Remember they aren’t a finished product as yet, their creator is still working to perfect them, which mean they can only get better and better. So be mindful not to write off anyone just yet.

No one subscribed to be who they are:  Inherent attributes are not a reflection of worthiness. Who we are naturally is the product of God’s plan that existed before we existed. If we are stronger in some areas is purely by His grace, nothing more nothing less. Our Lord Jesus instructed us to start our prayer with the words, “Our father who is in heaven…” as an acknowledgement that God is our creator loves us equally hence all of us having equal inherent human value. God planned to create each of us the way we are before the foundation of the world. He created others to be stronger or weaker in certain aspects, but that does not mean He loves them more or less.

Dare to be different: No one is a ‘failure’ if they are unmarried at forty (or eighty), or if they don’t have certain things or if they don’t look a certain way, or if they don’t share the same ideology. We must accept our uniqueness and celebrate our differences. Let us proudly accept it’s perfectly indispensable to be imperfect in certain areas of our life for the greater good. Be thankful that always there will be people that are less smart, shorter, poorer or less fortunate than you. But also be humbly aware that you will be better than a host of other people in more ways than one.

Be inspired to be the best You: Superiority complexes thrive on people wanting to be someone they’re not. The best you can be is you because God created you to be you. This does not mean that we have to limit ourselves from getting better by drawing inspiration from others. Being inspired by someone else means assimilating some of his or her traits or means into which you are to help you become the best you. It shouldn’t mean trying to be a superior person bossing them.

We need each other: God does not make or keep that which is worthless. He created us with varying attributes, with others fairing better in certain aspects because He wanted us to fit a unique purpose and be sociable by depending on each other. Need is a relational socket. Our area of need is where others can connect with us socially by meeting our needs. On the other hand strength is a relational plug that can be utilized to draw strengths (meet our needs) by helping others. Humility – the antidote to a superiority complex – helps us to seek and draw strengths from others as we use our strengths to meet their needs.

[1] Carroll, Charles Tempter of Eve; St Louis Missouri: Adamic Publishing Company, 1902, page 255

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