Why Am I So Stupid?- Ways to Stop Feeling like This!

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc

Last updated date : April 05, 2022

You are not alone in this. People feel stupid every now and then in their lives. There are many situations and thoughts that can make us go like ” Why am I so stupid? and get yourself into the ” I feel stupid thinking trap” Maybe you are with a group of people who are discussing a topic that you are not very familiar with, you may feel like you do not have anything valuable to contribute to the conversation. This happens to the best of people and it is very normal to feel like this.

Here is a reminder for you- Just because you feel that you are stupid, doesn’t actually mean that you are stupid. It is okay to feel insecure once in a while. It is impossible to feel that you are the smartest person all the time.

Chapter 1:
Why Do People Get Into the "I Feel Stupid Thinking Trap”?

People often feel like this when they go on to compare themselves to others. When you compare, you are most likely to think why “others” are other than you. This goes on to make you feel jealous and insecure sometimes as well. The first thing that you need to know is that you are not the only person who feels like this. Do you wonder why do you go on to feel ” Why am I so stupid?”

Self Inflicted Ways

Well, people feel stupid for various reasons. It can either be self-infliction or because of the environment. There are many situations where we can feel dumb and incompetent. For example, a child who has not scored well on her maths test, feel that she is not intelligent or just not smart enough. The reason that the child may have got low marks could be due to lack of preparation, test anxiety, stress or even not completely understanding the subject matter.

Hence there are various factors when you look at this situation. One does not become stupid for scoring low marks. It is important to remember that we are always in the process of learning and growing.

Due to the Environment

Sometimes, the people around us can make us feel stupid. Most of the time, it is not intended from their side. It could them criticising, patronising or speaking down on you can really make your self-esteem go flying outside the window. It is true that is not okay to criticise people all the time. But, sometimes, people around you may mean you well. The piece of advice can be taken as constructive criticism and can be very helpful for you.

Hence, there is a thin line between hurtful criticism and helpful criticism. You will probably know which is coming your way and can know the difference and act accordingly. However, making a mistake does not make you dumb or having more to learn about something make you stupid at all. We are all learning and growing as humans to become the best version of ourselves.


Chapter 2:
What Is Imposter Syndrome?

When one feels like they do not deserve their achievements and question their knowledge and skills, it is called Imposter Syndrome. Maybe you have started out on your new job and feel that all your colleagues are very qualified and experienced and you do not feel like you deserve this job. You start feeling that you are a fraud and make yourself believe that your boss made a bad decision hiring you. When you feel stupid and incompetent in such as situation, it can mostly be due to Imposter syndrome.

Thus, you firmly believe that you do not deserve the recognition that you are getting, even though you have performed well. But, the voice, inside your head keeps saying that you are stupid.


Chapter 3:
How Can Feeling Stupid Affect Your Mental Health?

When you often feel stupid it can definitely have an impact on your mental health. In fact, it could be a sign of social anxiety disorder. You may be feeling that people around you may think you are dumb if you say the wrong things. Therefore, you avoid socialising, talking to peers and taking the role of leadership due to fear of judgement and criticism. This makes you feel lonely and isolated from everyone around you.

Low self-esteem and confidence issues are some of the common reasons for feeling stupid and getting into the ” I feel stupid thinking trap”. There can be feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness and being too hard on yourself can cause a lot of stress and anxiety within a person. Also, this makes the person engage in repetitive negative self-talk and strengthens their belief that they are stupid even more. Hence, try to reflect on your beliefs about yourself and maybe check if you have a tendency to compare yourself to others. Remember, we are our own brutal critics!


Chapter 4:
How Can Feeling Stupid Affect Your Physical Health?

Since, feeling stupid has a relation to low confidence, self-esteem, insecurity and self-doubt. You may find yourself experiencing physical symptoms along with it. You may be finding it hard to concentrate, feel very tired, have frequent headaches and experience stomach aches every now and then. These physical symptoms are experienced by quite a lot of people. But, make sure you go meet a health professional if it goes for a long period of time.


Chapter 5:
4 Ways to Stop Feeling Stupid!

Try Journalling
Have you ever tried journaling? If not, you really should give it a shot. When you write down how you feel, it can really be helpful. Also, it gives you some clarity and insight into why you are feeling stupid and how you can stop feeling like this.
Seek Support
It is true, it can be quite embarrassing to accept that you are feeling dumb or stupid. Especially, if you are comparing yourself to people around you. But, remember that you do not feel like this and it is nothing to be ashamed of. The moment your feel that it is something that you cannot handle by yourself, it is great you can reach out to a friend or a family member. Sometimes, when your loved ones listen and hear you out, you will feel much better and light.
Learn How to Comfort Yourself
If you do not have anyone with whom you can tell your feelings, it is okay you can be there for yourself. Try to think how you would want your loved one to comfort you at this point. You might think this is silly. But, try giving yourself a pat on your back, make a list of things that you like about yourself try doing something nice for yourself eg- Have a calming massage, make yourself a wholesome dinner.
Compassionate Self- Talk
Do you give yourself compliments? If not, maybe you should! It might sound silly, but it can really make a difference. Tell things like ” I am smart” ” I am proud of myself”. Try to remind yourself of your strengths and this makes you less focused on your weaknesses. Hence, you should engage in compassionate self-talk. At Espychonline, we have a self-help course on ” Low Self Esteem” to understand and learn how to improve your self-esteem. You may also find it informative and helpful to read up a bit more on ” Thinking Traps- A Guide to Identifying and Escaping Them” or you could read more on ” Worst Case Scenario Thinking – Stop Catastrosphising” to get out of the whole ” I feel stupid thinking trap”.