Q&A: Questions and Answers


Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Some people have told me I have an inferiority complex, but as far as I can tell, I’m just inferior. Since I’m not as smart or good-looking or talented as everybody else, what can I do to gain confidence and feel better?

New Era

  • The Lord wants you to be happy and confident.

  • No person is inferior or superior to another.

  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can with what God has given you.

  • Your self-worth and confidence will grow as you live the gospel, serve others, develop your own talents, and seek to feel Heavenly Father’s love.

It sounds as though you are using the world’s way for finding self-worth. That way says, “If I’m better than others in some way, then I can feel better about myself.” This way always fails because everyone can find someone who is smarter, better looking, or more talented.

The solution is to apply the Lord’s standards for gaining confidence and self-worth. Because you are a child of God, you are not inferior or superior to others. “Thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another” (Mosiah 23:7). People may have different talents than you, but you have your own strengths and gifts of the Spirit that you can share.

Heavenly Father wants you to feel better about yourself. In fact, one of the blessings of living the gospel is feeling peace and joy.

While Heavenly Father wants you to be happy, Satan wants you to be miserable. You can see this opposition in Moses’s life. When the devil tempted him, Moses gained strength by praying and remembering that he was a child of God (see Moses 1:13, 24–25).

Like Moses, you are a child of God. Satan wants you to forget that. And he knows you will feel inferior if he can get you to think that you don’t “measure up.” So he wants you to judge yourself by the world’s standards: looks, popularity, intelligence, and so on.

The Lord’s standards are different: “The Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). If your heart is virtuous and loving, “then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). That’s the best kind of confidence.

Try these ways to feel better:

  • As Moses did, pray that the Lord will help you remember that you are His child with an important work to do.

  • Read your patriarchal blessing.

  • Look for the good in yourself.

  • Serve others. Willing service can bring feelings of joy and self-worth.

  • Exercise. Physical activity is great for lifting your mood.

  • Give thanks in prayer.

  • Develop your talents by participating in activities you enjoy.

  • Most important, keep the commandments. That’s the path to happiness.

Feeling good about yourself doesn’t come from being better than someone else. It comes from knowing you are loved of God and doing what He would have you do.

President Ezra Taft Benson

“Self-worth … is best established by a close relationship with God.” “If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgment more than men’s, we will have self-esteem. … “… Christ wants to lift us to where He is.” —President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, 6; “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 6.

Readers

Talents and gifts are given to each one of us by God. The important thing is to have confidence not in ourselves but in Christ, because He gives us the strength and the courage to do all things and helps us to realize how important we are and how great our worth is. Emilie Levert, 20, Lemoyne Ward, Montréal Québec Stake

When I hear about inferiority complexes, it hurts me inside because I think about how it must make our Creator sad to see that we do not like ourselves. We forget too quickly that we are children of God and He loves us the way we are. All of us have different gifts. One person can sing well, and another can give good advice. Ask your friends and family what they like and appreciate about you. Deborah Torke, 17, Neumünster Ward, Neumünster Germany Stake

I pray to Heavenly Father so I can feel better and make my inferiority my strength. I try not to be too concerned about what other people say. I believe that everybody has a gift. We just have to find it by putting every effort into doing so. The best I can do is to live with faith in Christ, trusting in Him. That’s how I can have peace in my heart. Srinakorn Supakote, 18, Korat Branch, Khon Kaen Thailand District

Everyone has weaknesses, so we need to set goals to deal with them. The pamphlet called For the Strength of Youth will help us do so. If we study this pamphlet, we can discover many talents. We must always pray, fast, read the scriptures, attend family home evening, and be sure of ourselves, and then everything will be all right. Nikolay Losev, 17, Nizhegorodsky Tsentralny Branch, Russia Moscow Mission

I know exactly how you feel. I used to feel like someone else was always going to be better, so why should I even try? Two main things helped me stop thinking this way: (1) I started doing service for others. It made me feel special and important. And (2) I developed my talents. Everyone has talents. Always remind yourself that all of us are children of Heavenly Father, who loves us. Lizzie Pecora, 16, Grouse Creek Ward, Oakley Idaho Stake

Think about what is good about you. I’m sure you can find many things. Believe in yourself. When I feel inferior to someone, it’s because I find the weak points in myself and compare them to other people’s strong points. So of course I feel inferior. If I were you, I would not compare myself to other people. Shay Branch, 14, Greeley Fourth Ward, Greeley Colorado Stake

Try reading the scriptures and praying for help. The scriptures are the word of God. If you search them carefully, you will find the answer. God will help you through this trial if you have faith. Joseph Chittock, 12, Catford Ward, London England Wandsworth Stake

I sometimes feel inferior. But I overcome it by always remembering that I am a child of God and He loves me. Then I gain more confidence, and I always feel better. April Flores, 17, Catbalogan First Branch, Catbalogan Philippines District

[photo] Photograph by Christina Smith, posed by models