By Chinaza Mgbemene
Growing up, I battled with inferiority complex for as much as I could remember because of my legs, right from my primary school days to even my first year in the university. Back then, whenever I was sent on errands, I would always come back crying because my peers would have made mockery of me, leaving me devastated, which would make me to resort to crying to my grandmother who would always comfort me and tell me to tell them that God was not done with creating them; that He could still change the condition of their legs, the naïve me then was always anticipating for that day, so that I could reciprocate, but the day never came.
I remember being denied being a prefect in my SS2 simply because of my legs after I passed the screening. That was enough reason to feel inferior. When I inquired the reason, the response I got made me cry. This eventually made me to shy away from the crowd because the unpleasant reactions I usually get whenever I came late to the Assembly Ground was capable of eating one up.
On a day I came early, a question was asked to which I knew the answer but when I was told to come up and answer, I objected. But after discovering I was the only one who knew the answer I was left with no choice but to mount the assembly ground and answer the question. I think that was when I started gaining strength and feeling confident in myself.
Then after my first and second surgeries in August 2016 and October 2018, respectively, I felt I could then measure up to my peers. There was this feeling of inner peace I felt inside of me. I felt I could do even more than others. I discovered some potentials in me and started working towards them. In all honesty, at times I feel that way but I have a way of dealing with it.
During my Internship last year at the Anambra Broadcasting Service, I met a fellow intern from UNIZIK who was a stammerer. Because of his condition, he would always shy away from the mic such that whenever we were asked to go live on air he would always feel inferior. The day he eventually agreed to go live on air he was encouraged as he had a very nice voice but our supervisor was a bit skeptical because she was scared of being queried by the manager because of his stammering.
After that experience, he stopped coming to work, especially whenever he had a prior knowledge that we would be going live on air, when I tried confronting him to know his reasons, at first he said the course he read, which was English Language and Literary Studies, had no relation with working at the studio. My reaction was that of surprise because the reason he gave was not a tangible one.
He later opened up to me, saying that he usually felt less of himself. Worse still, our supervisor’s reaction gave him a cause to worry that he didn’t want her receiving queries or risking her job because of him. The guy in question is a smoker and I bet one of his reasons for smoking would probably be because of inability to measure up to his peers.
Inferiority complex is a feeling that one is not as good, as important or as intelligent as other people. This feeling is quite inevitable as virtually everyone at certain age and time gets the feeling, but what matters is how you deal with it because if not handled effectively, could jeopardize one’s future.
Sometimes this inferior feeling is usually heightened by our parents, as well as our peers. In the case of parents, this is where comparison sets in. A parent who compares her child with others is gradually paving a way for inferiority complex. For instance, some mothers have this habit of comparing their children’s academic performance with others; most times, their neighbours, who are probably doing better, thereby making theirs feel inferior.
Such mothers may not be aware of the impending danger they are exposing their wards to because such child will want to do everything possible to receive encouragement, even if it means involving in examination malpractice. However, in such situations, what is expected of parents are words of encouragement and admonition, giving the child reasons to work harder and excel.
Also, I have heard people say that parents usually have a favourite child whom they treat differently from others. They give such child preferential treatment most times, neglecting others who are left to feel unwanted. It’s the reason why most times you see children doubting if people call their Parents are truly their biological Parents, leading them to ask their parents some questions.
When such attitudes are portrayed by the mothers, the outcome is usually more grievous because they are assumed to be the closest to the children. A parent should not expect every of their child to behave the same way. Definitely there must be the obedient one, the obstinate one and sometimes the one that seems wayward. What matters is how you treat them because that would consciously or unconsciously, affect their behaviour.
It may seem very hard for a parent to hide her affection for one of their children, especially when such a child is the lovable type. Some parents do this unintentionally though. The other siblings are often left at the mercy of their thoughts and feelings which may end up affecting their Psyche.. Imagine growing up with such mentality which could be disastrous.
In the case of peers, I am a very good example because of my childhood experiences. I became so shy that I couldn’t even talk in class, even when asked a question I knew the answer to. I remember being shouted down by my classmates a couple of times.
My case wasn’t because of intelligence because I was among the best students then, but I guess because of physical appearance, I always felt then they were better than me. I think I know better now. Some friends are not worth keeping; some are there to talk you down and make you see yourself as the problem when you are not. Such friends should be avoided.
I believe everyone has equal rights; whether disabled or not. We all are entitled to life and as such, we all deserve happiness. Being happy always helps us to avoid such inferior feeling sometimes. You would agree with me that most times this feeling comes when we see ourselves not actualizing the goals we set for ourselves.
We feel pained and irrelevant. People in such situations see themselves as being incompetent and this sometimes makes them ask themselves some questions, especially when they see their peers making it. It hurts. I must say.
Everyone has different destines; what matters is how you go about it. So do what makes you happy, be real; never change your personality to impress anyone because no one cares. Try as much as possible to stay away from those people who feel they are better than you, they are just there to make you feel worthless when you deserve better. Strive to be a better version of yourself every day.