There is a marked difference between a superiority complex and high self esteem. If you have high self esteem, you are lucky to be able to enjoy a far more balanced perspective about the world and your place in it, than if you had a superiority complex.
People who have a superiority complex act as though they are better than other people. They look down upon others, and use every opportunity possible to attempt to elevate themselves further, and denigrate any one else they come in contact with.
If they had high self esteem, instead of a superiority complex, they would be confident about themselves and their abilities and skills, but they wouldn't automatically assume they were more intelligent, better looking , more prosperous or in any way, a better person than people they met.
The secret about a superiority complex is that it hides beneath it a lack of confidence. Someone who has the complex, will have learned how to create the illusion of being superior, by using methods which put other people down, thus making themselves look better in comparison.
They are likely to feel lonely, as they alienate most other people they meet. Their friends, will most likely be people who have fallen for their game, or who are desperate to be superior too.
To have a high self esteem a person need not be cocky or over confident. High self esteem is a term used to describe someone who knows their value and worth. This is rare to discover, as most of the population suffer from low self esteem, as doe's a person with a superiority complex.
Low self esteem can manifest itself in an individual as a nagging voice in their mind, which tells them they are not good enough, even when they are. Those with high self esteem are more likely to have a mind voice which tells them they are fine just as they are, and have the ability to succeed. A person with a superiority complex, may have an inner voice which tells them the world is a dangerous place, and that to protect themselves, they must emotionally flatten others around them, and keep rising to the surface themselves.
Fear drives a superiority complex, whereas a healthy attitude propels high self esteem. The fear spoken of, pushes a person with a superiority complex to use harsh words against others, and to use defense as a means of communication. A person with high self esteem, can recognise the good in others, and not feel threatened when in the presence of people who are talented and bright.
Anyone with a superiority complex, feels threatened much of the time. They only feel less on edge, when it is clear they have elevated themselves sufficiently to avoid being put down themselves. ironically, the higher you place yourself, the further you have to fall. Because of this, people with a superiority complex frequently feel themselves slipping, and are terrified of being found out, so they prevent themselves from becoming close to others, so they can keep their secret and defence in tact.