Quotations about:
    self-love


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No man is great if he thinks he is.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Daily Telegrams” column (1929-03-01)
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Added on 11-Jan-24 | Last updated 11-Jan-24
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I am a recovering narcissist. I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it. It is actually drearier than self-love; it is unrequited self-love.

Emil Levine
Emily Levine (1944-2019) American humorist, writer, actress, speaker
“A Theory of Everything,” TED Talk, Monterey, California (Feb 2002)
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Added on 9-Dec-22 | Last updated 9-Dec-22
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I have begun in old age to understand just how oddly we are all put together. We are so proud of our autonomy that we seldom if ever realize how generous we are to ourselves, and just how stingy with others. One of the booby traps of freedom — which is bordered on all sides by isolation — is that we think so well of ourselves. I now see that I have helped myself to the best cuts at life’s banquet.

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) Canadian-American writer
“Ralph Ellison in Tivoli” (1998)
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Originally printed in News from the Republic of Letters, No. 3 (1998). Reprinted in the Los Angeles Times (10 May 1998).
 
Added on 5-Oct-22 | Last updated 5-Oct-22
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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 (AD 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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The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you but yourself.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Venus Envy, ch. 15 (1993)
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Often paraphrased in the present tense: "The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself."
 
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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Wisdom is corrupted by ambition, even when the quality of the ambition is intellectual. For ambition, even of this quality, is but a form of self-love ….

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
Notes from Life, “Wisdom” (1847)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now — when?

Hillel (1st C. BC-1st C. AD) Jewish sage, rabbi
Talmud, Mishnah, “Pirkay Avot [Chapters of the Fathers],” Aboth 1:14 [tr. Rosten (1972)]
 
Added on 2-Aug-16 | Last updated 2-Aug-16
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God help my neighbors if I loved them as I love myself.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, # 64 (2001)
 
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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We cease loving ourselves if no one loves us.

[On cesse de s’aimer si quelqu’un ne nous aime.]

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Sophie, or The Secret Sentiments [Sophie, ou les sentiments secrets], Act 2, sc. 8 (1790)
 
Added on 8-Dec-15 | Last updated 8-Dec-15
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Self-love is often rather arrogant than blind; it does not hide our faults from ourselves, but persuades us that they escape the notice of others, and disposes us to resent censures lest we should confess them to be just.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #155 (10 Sep 1751)
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Added on 23-May-14 | Last updated 26-Jun-22
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The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 100 (1955)
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Added on 8-Jan-14 | Last updated 23-Jun-22
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He who don’t luv himself vents hiz spleen bi hating everyboddy else.

[He who doesn’t love himself vents his spleen by hating everybody else.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Variety,” “Bread and Butter” (1874)
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Added on 18-Dec-13 | Last updated 15-Dec-23
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The first great step is to like yourself enough to pick someone who likes you, too.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Jane O’Reilly, Ms., “View from the Bed” (Apr 1973)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Apr-14
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He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English poet and critic
Aids to Reflection (1825)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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