Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Self

"There are two lives to each of us, the life of our actions, and the life of our minds and hearts. History reveals men's deeds and their outward characters, but not themselves. There is a secret self that has its own life, unpenetrated and unguessed." -

"From self alone expect applause." - Marion LeRoy Burton

"The world will always be governed by self-interest: we should not try to stop this: we should try and make the self-interest of cads a little more coincident with that of decent people." - Samuel Butler

"Solitude has but one disadvantage - it is apt to give one too high an opinion of one’s self. In the world we are sure to be often reminded of every known or supposed defect we may have." -

"The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked to himself." -

"The very heart and root of sin is in an independent spirit. We erect the idol self; and not only wish others to worship, but worship ourselves." - Richard Cecil

"Though we best know and cannot deny our imperfections, it is not for us to lose our self-reliance and true manhood." -

"All virtue lies in individual action, in inward energy, in self-determination." - William Ellery Channing

"Courage is always greatest when blended with meekness; intellectual ability is most admirable when it sparkles in the setting of a modest self-distrust; and never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Humility is not a weak and timid quality; it must be carefully distinguished from a groveling spirit. There is such a thing as an honest pride and self-respect. Though we may be servants of all, we should be servile to none." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"The more we sympathize with excellence, the more we go out of self, the more we love, the broader and deeper is our personality." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Your awareness of your self-worth is not a contradiction to the obligation to be humble. Humility is not a lack of awareness of your positive accomplishments and abilities. Only a fool is not aware of what he really is an this is not humility. Humility is the internalized awareness with every fiber of your body that everything, yes everything, you have is not your own. Rather it is a gift from the Almighty who bestowed His kindness on you. The more a person actually feels that what he has is a gift the greater is his humility." - Yehuda Leib Chasman

"Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"The meaning of life is to become inseparably one with God the transcendental Bliss and God the universal Peace. The meaning of life is to achieve unconditional self-giving and a self-giving will... complete faith in oneself and a birthless and deathless faith in God. Life is love... Life needs a dream and a goal... Transcendence is the glorious beginning of human perfection... Who am I? I am my life’s unfinished God-manifestation." - Sri Chinmoy, born Chinmoy Kumar Ghose

"We communicate happiness to others not often by great acts of devotion and self-sacrifice, but by the absence of fault-finding and censure, by being ready to sympathize with their notions and feelings, instead of forcing them to sympathize with ours." - William Newton Clarke

"A thorough miser must possess considerable strength of character to bear the self-denial imposed by his penuriousness. Equal sacrifices, endured voluntarily, in a better cause, would make a saint or a martyr." - William Benton Clulow

"A modern commentator made the observation that there re those who seek knowledge about everything and understand nothing. It is wonder - not mere curiosity - a sense of enchantment, of respect for the mysteries of love for the other, that is essential to the difference between a knowing that is simply a gathering of information and techniques and a knowing that seeks insight and understanding. It is wonder that reveals how intimate is the relationship between knowledge of the other and knowledge of the self, between inwardness and outwardness." - Seymour Cohen, fully Seymour Jay Cohen

"Beautiful is the activity that works for good, and the stillness that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice of the one, and the self-forgetfulness of the other." - Robert Collyer

"The essence of all education is self-discovery and self-control. When education helps an individual to discover his own powers and limitations and, shows him how to get out of his heredity its largest and best possibilities, it will fulfill its real function, when children are taught not merely to know things but particularly to know themselves, not merely how to do things but especially how to compel themselves to do things, they may be said to be really educated. For this sort of education there is demanded rigorous discipline of the powers of observation, of the reason, and especially of the will." - William Congreve

"Optimism and self-pity are the positive and negative poles of modern cowardice." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"We are all serving a life sentence in the dungeon of self." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"With endless patience you shall carry out your duty, and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall lodge in your mind, and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council, in your efforts at lawmaking, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not away the warnings of any others, if they should chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law, which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the earth - the unborn of the future Nation." - Constitution of the Five Nations NULL

"Be your Self, at war with oneself." - Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (also Kumaraswam)

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." - Edward Watke, Jr.

"Even a monotonously undeviating path of self-examination does not necessarily lead to a mountain of self-knowledge." -

"The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency." -

"Life in this world is a very important reality, but it is not the ultimate reality... True growth in this world always calls for a dying to my own sinfulness, individualism and selfishness so that I might come closer to my true self in relationship to all others and to God. Thus, in the end, life and death are not diametrically opposed. Life involves a dying and dying is a way of life." - Charles Curran

"Those who believe in the theory of rebirth would say that we are here because of our past actions. It can also be said that the essence of life is the search for happiness and the fulfillment of one’s desires. All living beings strive to sustain their lives so that they might achieve happiness. As to why the self, wishing for happiness, came into being, Buddhism answers: This self has existed from beginningless time. It has no end but for it to ultimately achieve full enlightenment." -

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." - Declaration of Independence NULL

"A person lacking internal feelings of self-worth feels a need for honor from others. The greater the lack of self-esteem, the greater the need for the validation of one’s self-worth through the approval of others." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"What is sometimes called an act of self-expression might better be termed one of self-exposure; it discloses character - or lack of character - to others. In itself, it is only a spewing forth." - John Dewey

"Three men are my friends - he that loves me, he that hates me and he that is indifferent to me. Who loves me, teaches me tenderness; who hates me, teaches me caution; who is indifferent to me, teaches me self-reliance." - J. E. Dinger

"Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains." - Helen Gahagan Douglas

"When man knows how to live dangerously, he is not afraid to die. When he is not afraid to die, he is, strangely, free to live. When he is free to live, he can become bold, courageous, self-reliant." -

"Personal magnetism is a mixture of rugged Honesty, pulsating Energy, and self-organized Intelligence. I believe, absolutely, that truth is the strongest and most powerful weapon a man can use, whether he is fighting for a reform or fighting for a sale." - Arthur Dunn

"Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is in our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man!" - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us." - Tyron Edwards

"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and sense in which he has attained liberation from the self." - Albert Einstein

"Whatever deprives a man of personal individual motive for self-improvement and robust exertion will not make him free, but on the contrary more servile and in the long run less intelligent, industrious and free, for freedom is a matter of character and will power." - Charles W. Eliot

"Most of us are like snowflakes trying to be like each other, yet knowing full well that no two snowflakes are ever identical. If we were to devote the same amount of energy in trying to discover the true self that lies buried deep within our own nature, we would all work harmoniously with life instead of forever fighting it." -

"There is a great deal of self-will in the world, but very little genuine independence of character." -

"Discouragement is simply the despair of wounded self-love." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Faults will turn to good, provided we use them to our own humiliation, without slackening in the effort to correct ourselves. Discouragement serves no possible purpose; it is simply the despair of wounded self-love. The real way of profiting by the humiliation of one’s own faults is to face them in their true hideousness, without ceasing to hope in God, while hoping nothing from self." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"It is only in beholding and loving God that we can learn forgetfulness of self, measure duly the nothingness which has dazzled us, and accustom ourselves thankfully to decrease beneath that great Majesty which absorbs all things. Love God and you will be humble; love God and you will throw off the love of self; love God and you will love all that He gives you to love for love of Him." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others as by self-examination thoroughly to know our own." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Temptations are a file which rub off much of the rust of self-confidence." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Life was not given for indolent contemplation and study of self, nor for brooding over emotions of piety: actions and actions only determine the worth." - Immanual Hermann Fichte

"Self-love and reason to one end aspire." - J. de Finod

"We live in an age to which self-restraint is hateful. Our emphasis is placed on achievement. Restraint without achievement is nothing, but achievement without restraint is worse." - Ralph Tyler Flewelling