The word “inferiority” goes along with the subject of rejection. That’s because a person who suffers rejection has had their sense of self-worth damaged.
When someone who should love you fails to do so, or when someone preys upon your life in some way, using or abusing you to their own pleasure, then your intrinsic personal value has been demeaned. You have been “put down”, devalued and treated as worth less than others.
Loss of Value
We each have incredible value, as people made in the image of God. As descendents of Adam we are “children of God”. Therefore we should be treated as those who deserve respect, love, care, and so on. When we are not treated as having that value we suffer a loss of value.
Our feelings of “loss of value” start by being devalued by others. Being devalued is an abuse of who we are.
When a parent neglects a child, or someone uses another person for their own selfish ends, or our qualities are ignored or discounted, the statement is made that the true value of the person is not there. This can have deep and profound impact on our “soul”, our inner being.
Low Self Esteem
Once we have experienced rejection or loss of value in the eyes of others, we then devalue ourselves in our own eyes. We can even come to despise who we are.
If others, especially our parents or superiors, fail to find the value in us that we believe is there, then we could conclude that we are not really of the value that we hope. We lose confidence in ourselves and our own hopes and perceptions. We discount our value and worth, in comparison to others.
Picturing Loss of Value
I have used price-tags as a simple way to express how people who have been rejected tend to give themselves a very low value compared to others. They see other people as being rich in talent, personality and intrinsic worth. At the same time they see themselves as of inferior value.
Even if the rejected person acts confident and assertive, suggesting their own value and merit among others, they are most likely feeling unsure of their real value. They are very likely afraid of their own lack of value and hoping to bluff people anyway.
A person with low self esteem tends to have unrealistic perceptions of the achievements, abilities and value of other people, especially those who seem confident and successful or who are acclaimed and admired by others. This is because they elevate the value of others in comparison to their own loss of value.
One lovely young lady I assisted years ago really related to my picture of low self worth. She told me that she had once applied for a job for which several dozen other ladies applied. She went through the application and interview process, but had no real expectation of getting the job.
When the employer phoned her to advise that she had won the job she immediately advised them that they must have rung the wrong person. They assured her that she was their choice, but she took some convincing. She could not believe that she could have been the best choice out of so many applicants.
These low expectations often lead people to withdraw from the race and give up various areas of endeavour. Competitive situations only remind them of their failings, and even if they are encouraged by others that they could excel or win in a situation, a rejected person will likely pull out of the race, due to their low expectations of victory.
The term ‘inferiority’ means ‘of lower value’. An inferior product is of lower intrinsic value than a superior product.
These feelings of low self worth and loss of value are feelings of inferiority.
Now, as mentioned earlier, feeling inferior deep on the inside does not mean that people throw in the towel. There are those who press on to be great achievers, yet who carry deep feelings of inferiority. The point here is not that the person projects or lives by those feelings of low self worth, but that they carry them, even secretly, deep in their soul.
The answer to these feelings of low self worth is to be healed by the love of God. Some people try to heal themselves and others who struggle with low self worth, by pumping up their self-image. Such a course tends to pride and self-delusion.
The Bible warns us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We are told to “think soberly”, not with delusional self-aggrandizement. So beware how you try to remedy this low self worth problem.
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
We are not warned against holding too low a value of ourselves. God does not condemn us or warn us about low self-esteem. God does caution against pride, haughtiness of spirit and thinking too highly of our self.
Humility Head Start
If you are struggling with low self worth you at least have this to your advantage, you are likely to be more humble than some. As God heals you and affirms your intrinsic value to Him, don’t let pride displace your acknowledgement of others.
We are to prefer others ahead of ourself, so keep a humble heart toward others, and be willing to bless them with priorities ahead of yourself. You have a head start on humility, so don’t waste it.