Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Self-esteem

"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

"My friends, how desperately do we need to be loved and to love. When Christ said that man does not live by bread alone, he spoke of a hunger. This hunger was no the hunger of the body. It was not the hunger for bread. He spoke of a hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being. He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love. Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed upon our own personalities, and little by little we destroy ourselves. With it we are creative. With it we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others." - Chief Dan George

"Increasing your self-esteem is easy. You simply do good things, and remember that you did them." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good-breeding, to secure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience or reproach from reason." -

"We live in a narrow reality, partly conditioned by our form of perception and partly made by opinions that we have borrowed, to which our self-esteem is fastened. We fight for our opinions, not because we believe them but because they involve the ordinary feeling of oneself. Though we are continually being hurt owing to the narrowness of the reality in which we dwell, we blame life, and do not see the necessity of finding absolutely new standpoints. All ideas that have a transforming power change our sense of reality." - Maurice Nicoll

"Self-inspection - the best cure for self-esteem... By all means sometimes be alone; salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear; dare to look in thy chest, and tumble up and down what thou findest there." - William Wordsworth

"Praise is especially destructive to children, for they readily grasp the fact that praise is based on identification with their actions. Thus, they automatically blame themselves every time they make a mistake. This is the beginning of their lack of Self-Esteem." - L. S. Barksdale

"Since modern man experiences himself both as the seller and as the commodity to be sold on the market, his self-esteem depends on conditions beyond his control. If he is "successful," he is valuable; if he is not "he is worthless."" -

"The strongest single factor in prosperity consciousness is self-esteem: believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it" - Jerry Gillies

"All neurotic symptoms have as their object the task of safeguarding the patient’s self-esteem." -

"Reading to children at night, responding to their smiles, with a smile, returning their vocalizations with one of your own, touching them, holding them – all of these further a child’s brain development and future potential, even in the earliest months. Research demonstrates that the early responsiveness of caring parents sets the tone for future self-esteem, trust, problem solving, ability to communicate successfully and motivation for future learning." - T. Berry Brazelton, fully Thomas Berry Brazelton

"That kind of life is most happy which affords us most opportunities of gaining our own self-esteem… To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all." -

"[Plato's ideal society] guarantees to all people the right to an education that diagnoses and perfects their unique talents, plus a work role that conveys a sense of self-esteem, saving them from the neuroses of megalomania and the lust for power. It forbids privilege and sexism and all other criteria irrelevant to merit. It eliminates conflict of interest from those who hold office and gives the masses a potent checklist they can use to hold their rulers to account. Best of all, it eliminates all traces of "might makes right" and serves as a pattern laid up in heaven to rank actual societies in terms of what corrupts them. Society becomes more corrupt as the struggle for power becomes more brutal." - James R. Flynn, aka Jim Flynn

"In the highest love between man and woman, or parent and child, as the person reaches the ultimates of strength, self-esteem, or individuality, so also does he simultaneously merge with the other, lose self-consciousness, and more or less transcend selfishness. The same can happen in the creative moment, in the profound aesthetic experience, in the insight experience…and others which I have generalized as peak experiences." - Abraham Harold Maslow

"Love is an expression and assertion of self-esteem, a response to one’s own values in the person of another. One gains a profoundly personal, selfish joy fro the mere existence of the person one loves. It is one’s own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns, and derives from love." - Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum

"Be very wary of opinions that flatter your self-esteem." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Prestige involves at least two persons: one to claim it and another to honor the claim… In the status system of a society these claims are organized as rules and expectations which regulate who successfully claims prestige, from whom, in what ways, and on what basis. The level of self-esteem enjoyed by given individuals is more or less set by this status system." -

"The [advertiser’s] formula is: to make people ashamed of last year’s model; to hook up self-esteem itself with the purchasing of this year’s; to create a panic for status, and hence a panic of self-evaluation, and to connect its relief with the consumption of specified commodities." -

"The self-despisers are less intent on their own increase than on the diminution of others. Where self-esteem is unobtainable, envy takes the place of greed." - Eric Hoffer

"All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride." - Eric Hoffer

"What affects us most is the gain and loss not in substance but in self-esteem." - Eric Hoffer

"Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem." - Eric Hoffer

"In my day, we didn't have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned." - Jane Haddam

"Ofttimes nothing profits more than self-esteem, grounded on just and right well managed." - John Milton

"Mindful inquiry can heal low self-esteem, for the simple reason that a low self-estimation is really a wrong calculation, a misperception of reality." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

"The foundation of irreligious criticism is this: man makes religion; religion does not make man. Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet gained himself or has lost himself again... The wretchedness of religion is at once an express of and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the opposed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." - Karl Marx

"Raising the self-esteem of the minority groups is one of the most strategic means for the improvement of inter-group relations." - Kurt Lewin

"There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity." - Nathaniel Branden

"Persons of high self-esteem are not driven to make themselves superior to others; they do not seek to prove their value by measuring themselves against a comparative standard. Their joy is being who they are, not in being better than someone else." - Nathaniel Branden

"In an emotionally healthy person there must be self-love as well as love of others. Lack of self-esteem is probably the most common emotional ailment." - Norman Vincent Peale

"Don’t back down just to keep the peace. Standing up for your beliefs builds self-confidence and self-esteem." - Oprah Winfrey, born Oprah Gail Winfrey

"Natural religion... finds a God who is majestic, but not majestic enough to threaten human self-esteem." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"Addictive spirituality creates dependence in the practitioner (frequently to authoritarian leaders and their communities), an avoidance of personal responsibility, and loss of individuality through social controls, such as fear, guilt, or greed for power or bliss. It also tends to suppress rational inquiry into the teachings. Healthy spirituality, on the other hand, supports the practitioner's freedom, autonomy, self-esteem, and social responsibility. It is based on experience, rather than belief or dogma; it does not create idols out of spiritual teachers; and it empowers students by emphasizing democratic forms of learning and teaching, rather than the authoritarian model that has dominated spiritual life for millennia." - Ronald S. Miller

"Self-esteem is the instrument of our conservation; it resembles the instrument of the perpetuity of the species: it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and it has to be hidden." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"A teacher who tends to lower the self-esteem and confidence of his students should either change this tendency or change professions. One of the most important lessons an educator can convey to students is that they have inherent worth and should strive to utilize their potential." - Zelig Pliskin

"Do not allow another person’s evaluation affect your feelings of self-esteem... Being an honored person is dependent on your behavior towards others and not on other people’s behavior towards you. Why feel any lack of self-worth just because someone acts disrespectfully to you? Keep your focus on your behavior towards others. When someone does not treat you with respect, it is his problem, not yours... Ultimately, it is your mind that decides on how you will consider yourself." - Zelig Pliskin

"Faults a person who has low self-esteem may have are: sensitivity to criticism, over-response to flattery, hypercritical attitude, tendency towards blaming, tendency towards seclusiveness and shyness." - Zelig Pliskin

"Prestige involves at least two persons: one to claim it and another to honor the claim… In the status system of a society these claims are organized as rules and expectations which regulate who successfully claims prestige, from whom, in what ways, and on what basis. The level of self-esteem enjoyed by given individuals is more or less set by this status system." - C. Wright Mills, fully Charles Wright Mills

"The [advertiser’s] formula is: to make people ashamed of last year’s model; to hook up self-esteem itself with the purchasing of this year’s; to create a panic for status, and hence a panic of self-evaluation, and to connect its relief with the consumption of specified commodities." - C. Wright Mills, fully Charles Wright Mills

"She who only finds her self-esteem in others' admiration, begs an alms; Depends on others for her daily food, and is the very servant of her slaves; Tho' oftentimes, in a fantastic hour, o'er men she may a childish pow'r exert, Which not ennobles but degrades her state." - Joanna Baillie

"Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on." - Maxwell Maltz

"If we do have realistic confidence ... if we feel secure within ourselves, we tend to experience the world as open to us and to respond appropriately to challenges and opportunities. Self-esteem empowers, ennergizes, motivates. It inspires us to achieve and allows us to take pleasure and pride in our achievements." - Nathaniel Branden

"Positive self-esteem operates as, in effect, the immune system of the consciousness, providing resistance, strength, and a capacity for regeneration. When self-esteem is low, our resilience in the face of life's adversities is diminished. We crumble before vicissitudes that a healthier sense of self could vanquish. We tend to be more influenced by the desire to avoid pain than to experience joy. Negatives have more power over us than positives." - Nathaniel Branden

"In any culture, subculture, or family in which belief is valued above thought, and self-surrender is valued above self-expression, and conformity is valued above integrity, those who preserve their self-esteem are likely to be heroic exceptions." - Nathaniel Branden

"I wonder how many of the people who profess to believe in the leveling ideas of collectivism and egalitarianism really just believe that they themselves are good for nothing. I mean, how many leftists are animated by a quite reasonable self-loathing? In their hearts they know that they are not going to become scholars or inventors or industrialists or even ordinary good kind people. So they need a way to achieve that smugness for which the left is so justifiably famous. They need a way to achieve self-esteem without merit. Well, there is politics. In an egalitarian world everything will be controlled by politics, and politics requires no merit." - P. J. O'Rourke

"Remain a corporation and retain control if you like, but behave as a servant leader in a partnership." - Sam Walton, fully Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton

"Wit will never make a man rich, but there are places where riches will always make a wit." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight." - Thomas Carlyle

"Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter? Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?" - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman