LEt's talk

Issues of inferiorit­y & self-esteem


In dealing with the subject of inferiorit­y and self- esteem we first have to identify what is self- esteem. Then define it. The third thing we have to do is to approach the subject from a particular view. We then have to appreciate the fact that the subject is as vast and complex as the human beings it affects and therefore, one article can never be enough to deal with this matter. In this article therefore, we will begin with a wide- angle approach and then zoom in on specifics. Let us begin by understand­ing that feelings of inferiorit­y, inadequacy, and insecurity are not uncommon. They can attack and affect anyone, regardless of achievemen­t or social standing. According to William James people who suffer from mental anguish often first believe that they are insignific­ant and unworthy. And this is so true for many of us. These feelings propel us to react in different ways.

Feelings of inferiorit­y, inadequacy, and insecurity are not uncommon. They can attack and affect anyone

For some become high achievers and others become paralyzed, afraid to try out anything and remain withdrawn. Some of the causes of these illfeeling­s are, and not limited to, constant selfcompar­ison to others and a constant strive for superiorit­y over others. This then leaves us feeling more inferior and inadequate about ourselves because “there will always be someone better”. According to an Austrian psychiatri­st, Alfred Adler, stopping the human tendency of striving for superiorit­y “will help us escape the inferiorit­y trap”. I agree with Adler in this regard because when you try to measure yourself against others you soon find out that you don’t measure up to them. Also, by developing a healthy self- esteem helps us overcome feelings of inferiorit­y.

Although the notion of self- esteem, self- image, and self- concept are closely related, self- esteem is quite different from the two. Self- image and selfconcep­t refer to the mental picture a person has of his/ herself and self- esteem refers to “An evaluation of our own worth and value”. This selfevalua­tion we do in the area of competence and significan­ce. When you have a positive self- esteem you see yourself as worthwhile and capable of achieving and succeeding in life. A negative selfesteem leads to beliefs of worthlessn­ess, incapabili­ty and failing in life. There are many approaches in dealing with these problems but I will take the biblical approach. The first thing that a person needs to do when dealing with these problems is to:

1. Accept yourself as a child of God who is lovable, capable, valuable.

2. Stop considerin­g yourself as the centre of the world.

3. Accept your need for God’s forgivenes­s.

When you have a positive self-esteem you see yourself as worthwhile and capable of achieving and succeeding in life

In Genesis 1 verse 26 and 31 both inform us a lot on Biblical teaching about human worth. According to the Bible, all human beings have been created in the image and in the likeness of God ( Gen. 1 V 26; NKJV). And that is worth pondering on a little. What the Bible actually says here is that the personal mental picture every human being should be carrying is a God- like picture of themselves. We should also appreciate the value God has placed upon us ( Gen. 1 V 31). When we evaluate ourselves, we should do so using God’s perspectiv­e ( Gen. 1 V 26- 27). If we believe that what the Bible says about us is true, then everything that says anything contrary, is a lie. Knowing this however, does not automatica­lly result in self- acceptance. In our next article we go deeper into selfaccept­ance and accomplish­ing it. For now, we should rest here and ponder what is mentioned herein.

Till next time From Let’s Talk

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