The negative thought pattern that constitutes an inferiority complex cannot be solved with a smile and a pep talk. It wasn’t solved when you got a 4.0 or a 4.1 or 4.2 grade point average and it won’t be solved when you weigh 99 pounds either. Realizing your worth as a human requires a complete change in how you view yourself and the world around you.
Recognize the ways your mind distorts your perception. You never see yourself as in the middle of the pack — you are either an epic failure or a wonderful success. You take any feedback from others that could possibly be construed as negative to confirm your conception of yourself. When people compliment you, you assume that they are lying out of pity. You do not trust that others can really feel or care as strongly as you do, and in that way deny their humanity as much as we deny it to yourself. While an inferiority complex can feel extremely emotionally damaging, recognize that it stems from a self-centered view of the world and that it can lead you to hurt others.
Your thoughts have held you hostage for too long. Try to camp out in someone else’s brain: move to another state or country. Move away from everything you’ve ever known — somewhere where there are people who are nothing like the ones you’ve met before. College or hitchhiking around Europe will do in a pinch. Get to know how you come off to others. Work to get their honest opinion of you — and listen. Break from the habit of assuming you know what others think of you.
You will resist making friends with these other minds because you feel like all you have done is love others and that it is time for someone to love you. Recognize that putting everyone else up on a pedestal is not true love — it is only a symptom of your compulsion. While you tell yourself that you care about everyone, in reality you do not invest much emotionally into your relationships because your first ones showed you that affection would not be reciprocated. The reason why you don’t have close relationships is not because you are inadequate or because everyone-else-in-the-universe failed to care — it is because you have not been emotionally prepared to let anyone into your heart.
As much as it hurts, genuinely fall in love with another human being. Not because like everyone-else-in-the-universe this person must be better than you, but because this specific individual make you feel so wonderful that you can no longer imagine your life without him. Forget your quest to be the-most-perfect-person-in-the-universe and instead focus on how to be a better friend to this one person. At first you will have to deliberately work on being friendly, but soon you will no longer be able to stop caring.
Your first love will be exhilarating and terrifying. And while there really is no guarantee that it will be requited, remind yourself that love is never a weakness. There will be pain as your heart thaws after years of being encapsulated in your own self-doubt. Also breathtaking joy.
Then fall in love again. And again. And again. Each time will be a little easier. Eventually, you will even fall in love with yourself.