I belong to a very small town, which can nearly be called a village if not for the fact that it has better roads and amenities. It is a closed-knit town where everyone knows everyone else, and where a boy cannot think of dating a girl because his parents would get the news within minutes if he goes out with a girl. Of course we still used to chase girls while growing up, but from a distance. We were always scared that some girl’s mother would call our moms and say “aapka ladka meri ladki ko pareshan kar raha hai.” The mere words were enough to get us a beating. So we played footsie with girls with a ten feet pole. 🙂
My childhood friend Gaurav was always flushed with cash and would foot the bill for our chais and samosas. Regretfully, I did not drink beer then; that came much later. His cash was not reason I used to hang around with him; his blue-colored vespa scooter was. He had the scooter even in class tenth, a rarity for a standard tenth student. Come evening, Gaurav would come out all dandy and handsome-looking on his scooter, all set to chase girls. And I would be looking for a break from my studies so was eager for a quick ride. So there we would go- Jai and Veeru- Gaurav driving around looking for girls, and me in the pillion seat enjoying the wind on my tired eyes. Since I was always tardily dressed I had no hopes of any girl giving me a glance anyhow. But I had loads of fun watching Gaurav trying to attract a girl’s attention by passing her twice or thrice, blowing his horn, and such stunts.
There were some things about my friend which started puzzling me over the years. First thing I noticed was his habit of washing his face every couple of hours (that too with some exquisite soap) and wetting his hairs. I would not use the term ‘pathological’ here but to a person like me who walked out of his home right after waking up or from his study table without bothering about washing his face, a person who washed his face every hour seems queer. Since I spent a lot of time in Gaurav’s family, I realized what was happening. Gaurav had a dark complexion. And somewhere because of his mom’s jokes about him being ‘krishan kanhaiya’ he had a thing about his complexion. He tried hard to look fair. He had loads of whitening creams and soaps in his bathroom. And every hour or so he would feel that dirt was making his face look darker. Hence the frequent washing.
The second thing that I noticed was that he would never get down from his scooter while crisscrossing a girl on the road. I would often get infuriated and tell him “Gaurav scooter rok aur jakar baat kar.” But he would never stop the scooter and get down to speak to a girl. The reason, I discovered, was simple- since he was short-heighted he was afraid to walk up to a girl lest she would make fun of his short height. He could never pluck the courage to speak to a girl. All my entreaties fell on deaf ears. “Tu baat nahin karega to kabhi kuchh hoga?” Well, nothing ever happened.
The third unnatural thing I noticed was his irritable behavior every time some criticized him or tried to advice him. He could never take anything negative spoken about him. Come to think of it, he could never take anything said in praises about him either. Well, maybe not so unnatural in a teenager maybe.
“What’s so special about a teenager who wants to look fair and is shy about his height?” you’d ask. Perhaps not much. Everyone harbors some kind of inferiority complex or the other. And given life’s due course, a person comes to terms with his limitations and capacities, ignores his inferiority complex, and achieves an emotional balance in a mature way. But exacerbate this inferiority complex with negative parental attitude, serious taunts at school, and poisonous influences and you have created a socially maladjusted person incapable of meeting demands of life. I saw this happen in this case. Suffice it to say that this maladjusted behavior destroyed a large part of his life years later.
Is being fat, dark-skinned, short, or unfashionable stopping you from being a normal person?
Do you suffer from an inferiority complex about your physical appearance. Do you
- fish for compliments all the time? Want to hear praises for your qualities or things?
- always feel that people are making fun of you behind your back?
- react sensitively to everything said about you, feel offended at friendly jests, or pay excessive attention to little things said about you?
- stay away from competitions where you are tested against others?
- feel unable to take compliments well?
- avoid social gatherings, meetings or debate competitions?
- criticize others around you or be sarcastic, or find fault with others?
Well, you are one more Gaurav in the making. Or you probably already are.
I have often observed that personal remarks about some physical aspects of ours hurt us more than about our social status or mental aptitude. And no wonder if those remarks are made in our childhood, the hurt goes deep and remains buried inside us throughout our lives. So there is a moral for moms- ignore the physical aspects of your kids. Love your child, respect your child, and treat your child as an individual. Do not compare your child with other kids or point out the shortcomings of your child.
Well, what if you already carry the seeds of inferiority complex about your looks or physical stature?
Since inferiority complex is a problem of deep-seated, emotionally toned ideas about one’s self, psychologists consider that it can be eliminated or minimized only by understanding how it originated, why it persists, and then compensating for the inferiority complex by developing other abilities.
Well, once you identify that you are suffering from ‘being-ugly’ complex at any given time, here is what you need to do:
- You Are What you Are: So you think you are fat and ugly? Right. You are fat and ugly. Now deal with it. Start being comfortable with yourself. No, that does not mean going out of the way, dressing outlandishly, and showing others you are cool. Just be comfortable with the way you look and dress. Also, do not go out being sarcastic about smart or beautiful people to prove that you are better than them. I call it “Aishwarya Rai is stupid” syndrome. 🙂
- Get Good at Something: Success breeds confidence. Invest your time in your growth. If you find something that you enjoy and can be good at, you would forget pretty soon about your failings.
- You Are What You Are: Right. You are still fat and ugly. Get on with life. And yes, you can get slim. One part taken care of. 🙂
- Approach People: Well, you are not the life of the party are you? Standing on the sides and watching others steal the show while you are too shy or timid to speak up? Well, go ahead. Talk to people. Approach them. Learn to introduce yourself and make friends. Rest will happen consequently. 🙂
- You Are What You Are: “Yes yes, mr. Sanjeev, I am fat and ugly. But I can get get slimmer and you’d still stay a moron.” Atta Girl!
- Get Good at Skills: Remember that even good-looking people are vying for the same successes in life as you are. But you have an asset that many beautiful people around you don’t have- you do not have the distractions of attractions around you. If you notice carefully, you’d see lots of beautiful people failing in life because they were too distracted with ‘affairs’ at early age to work hard at something. You have more chances of reaching high if you ignore your failings and focus at your career. 🙂
Well, live you life. You all are beautiful in your own ways. Get rid of your inferiority complex! 🙂
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