Quotations about   self-esteem

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It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 12, ch. 4 [tr. Hays (2002)]
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Alt. trans.:
  • "I have often wondered how each man should love himself more than any other; and yet make less account of his own opinion concerning himself, than of the opinions of others." [tr. Foulis (1742)]
  • "I have often wondered, whence it comes to pass, that although every one loves himself more than he does any other man, he should yet pay a greater regard to the opinion of other people concerning him than to his own." [tr. Graves (1792)]
  • "I have often wondered how it comes to pass that everybody should love themselves best, and yet value their neighbor's opinion about themselves more than their own." [tr. Collier (rev.)]
  • "I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others." [tr. Long (1862)]
  • "How is it that every person loves themselves more than any other person, yet still gives more value to the opinions of others than the opinion they hold of themselves?" [tr. McNeill (2019)]
Added on 20-Oct-20 | Last updated 20-Oct-20
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We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told that we are wrong we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem which is threatened.

James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) American historian and educator
The Mind in the Making, ch. 4 “Rationalizing” (1921)
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Added on 6-Oct-20 | Last updated 6-Oct-20
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I think I am very cold and reserved to people, but I cannot ever realise to myself that anyone loves me. I believe that is partly the reason, or I dare realise it.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
Letter to Rev. J. Keble (27 Aug 1837)
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Added on 26-May-20 | Last updated 26-May-20
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It would be hard to name a more certain sign of poor self-esteem than the need to perceive some other group as inferior.

Nathaniel Branden (b. 1930) Canadian-American psychotherapist, writer (b. Nathan Blumenthal)
The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (1994)
Added on 27-Oct-14 | Last updated 27-Oct-14
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Alcohol is nicissary f’r a man so that now an’ thin he can have a good opinion iv himsilf, ondisturbed be th’ facts.

[Alcohol is necessary for a man so that now and then he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed by the facts.]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
“Mr. Dooley on Alcohol,” Chicago Tribune (26 Apr 1914)
Added on 10-May-13 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
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