It is often said that we, as Ukrainians, collectively suffer from an inferiority complex simply because of our long history of occupation, lack of independence and just simply being persecuted for centuries!

The dictionary describes an inferiority complex as a disorder arising from the conflict between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being humiliated, which again shows up as aggressiveness or a withdrawal into oneself. This sounds interesting, but it can become more complicated. Inferiority can also be viewed as being inferior to another person and may lead to an inability to perform tasks. Inferiority complexes, say psychologists, can lead to a so called superiority complex, whereby a person hides their feelings of inferiority by taking on an image of a person with a very high self-esteem. These types of people project an image of over-confidence, they think that they can do everything, and become defensive when they are confronted with tasks that they cannot do. To save their self-esteem, they like to blame others in the face of failure. Because they themselves think that they are really the best, they cannot and do not fail, as they imagine themselves as being perfect.

Isn’t all this a bit confusing? Well it is complicated, to say the least. To me, it is important to know ourselves, accept ourselves, and just plain be ourselves. Yes, there obviously is a psychological element to all this, but there is a very definite spiritual part as well.

A Christian believes that we are not just junk because God does not make junk. Each and every one of us is loved into being, and exists because of the great love of God for us. We are baptised in Christ, chrismated into Christ and live in Christ within the church. We receive the Holy Eucharist and Jesus Christ lives within us. Our worth or excellence is not something that is there because of something that we do or do not do, it is there as a freely given gift from God. We call this gift “grace.”

I do not want to simplify grave psychological problems, but there is, in the inferiority complex, an element of lying, pride, a refusal to believe that God lives in us and loves us. These are also sins which should be confessed and prayed upon. It is very much a part of Jesus’ teachings that a believer in Christ can cure inferiority complexes by believing that we are all heirs of God, and we have the power in prayer to reach peace. This gives us confidence and victory over our old nature, which we have inherited from Adam and Eve, but which has been overcome by the redemption of Jesus Christ.

God’s love for us is unchanging and eternal, and this should be a comfort for any inferiority ridden Christian.

Inferiority complexes are centred on oneself; Christianity is other-centred, in reality Christ-centred. Going to church has many advantages and this is but one of them.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk