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Self-Centeredness

  • I saw one of the absolute truths of this world: each person is worrying about himself; no one is worrying about you. He or she is worrying about whether you like him, not whether he likes you. He is worrying about whether he looks prepossessing, not whether you are dressed correctly. He is worrying about whether he appears poised, not whether you are. He is worrying about whether you think well of him, not whether he thinks well of you. The way to be yourself ... is to forget yourself.

  • The next voice you hear will undoubtedly be your own.

  • It was hard to communicate with you. You were always communicating with yourself. The line was busy.

  • 'I thought we talked things out!' 'Yes, and you listened very carefully to every word you had to say.'

  • ... egoism is in general the malady of the aged; ... we become occupied with our own existence in proportion as it ceases to be interesting to others.

  • There are characters which are continually creating collisions and nodes for themselves in dramas which nobody is prepared to act with them.

  • He talked to her of himself, always of himself. Why not? He talked so well!

  • Gordon was his own world, and nothing that concerned anyone else was important to him, and nothing that touched him unimportant.

  • The affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature.

  • That woman ... would use the third-rising of a corpse for her ends.

  • She was one of the most unimportantly wicked women of her time — because she could not let her time alone, and yet could never be a part of it. She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing.

  • She had no tolerance for scenes which were not of her own making ...

  • He was always willing to be the text of his own oratory.

  • The conversation of selfish people is often far more amusing than that of the unselfish, who see things too diffusedly, and who have not, as a rule, the gift of vivid description. Mrs. Palmer was deeply, deeply interested in her own various feelings.

  • Only a very small percentage can regard conditions from any but a selfish point of view or conceive of any but their own shoe-pinch.

  • The only people whose mainspring is not egotism are the dead ...

  • He was talking at the top of his ego ...

  • ... it hath been a long and true observation, that every one had rather speak than listen to what another says; insomuch as for the most part all mankind run from company to company, not to learn, but to talk, and like bells their tongues as the clappers keep a jangling noise all at once, without method or distinction.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • Duchess of Newcastle, epistle, Nature's Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to the Life ()
  • ... Annabel, who frequently confused her dramatic instinct with her emotion, derived not a little pleasure from making a scene.

  • ... Emily heard a great deal of conversation, of which conceit was the canvas, while flattery laid on the colors.

  • We have no patriotism toward posterity; and the selfish amusement of the present always has, and always will, outweigh the important interests of the future ...

  • ... he who seeks pleasure with reference to himself, not others, will ever find that pleasure is only another name for discontent.

    • L.E. Landon,
    • "The Enchantress," The Book of Beauty ()
  • The truth is, we never make for others the allowance we make for ourselves; and we should deny even our own words, could we hear them spoken by another.

  • The lover and the physician are each popular from the same cause — we talk to them of nothing but ourselves ...

  • She invents dramas in which she always stars.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1931, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1931, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • Introspection is a devouring monster.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1936, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • ... she longed to occupy people's fancies, speculations and thoughts.

  • Modern neurosis began with the discoveries of Copernicus. Science made man feel small by showing him that the earth was not the center of the universe.

  • In men this blunder still you find, / All think their little set — mankind.

    • Hannah More,
    • "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • 'Won't that be delightful?' said she, twitching my arm, rather roughly, by way of recalling my attention, which however had seldom wandered.

  • Everywhere there was somewhere and everywhere there they were men women children dogs cows wild pigs little rabbits cats lizards and animals. That is the way it was. And everybody dogs cats sheep rabbits and lizards and children all wanted to tell ... all about themselves.

  • ... no one can return to the place he has left, only to the place it has become. Some subconscious and idiotic ego, he supposed, made one imagine that nothing happened except in the place where one was.

  • It's no wonder human beings are so narcissistic. The way our ears are constructed, we can hear only what is right next to us or else the internal monologue inside.

  • Nothing's done well when it's done out of self-interest.

  • It is possible that an individual may be successful, largely because he conserves all his powers for individual achievement and does not put any of his energy into the training which will give him the ability to act with others. The individual acts promptly, and we are dazzled by his success while only dimly conscious of the inadequacy of his code.

    • Jane Addams,
    • "Industrial Amelioration," Democracy and Social Ethics ()
  • We are so fond of hearing ourselves spoken of, that, be it good or ill, it is still pleasing.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1671, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 1 ()
  • What is a total mind / Fixed in a total state / But that which denies surprise / And thinks itself its fate.

  • Two loves has she and both of them are herself.

  • At times ... one is downright thankful for the self-absorption of other people.

  • He could not read more than a few consecutive sentences in any book or newspaper unless they referred immediately to himself or his interests.

  • People in the world pay little heed to reason where their own interests are involved.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1576, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 1 ()
  • She had a tremendous impatience with other people's ideas — unless those happened to be exactly like hers; even then, often as not, she gave a hurried, almost angry, affirmative, and flew on to emphatic illuminations of her own.

  • No privileged order ever did see the wrongs of its own victims ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech (1867), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 2 ()
  • The trouble with Clare was not only that she wanted to have her cake and eat it too but that she wanted to nibble at the cakes of other folk as well.

    • Nella Larsen,
    • "Passing" (1929), An Intimation of Things Distant ()
  • ... the best thing for everyone concerned ... is what people always say when they have arranged something exclusively to suit themselves.

  • Every man for himself, and the Devil take the hindmost.

  • ... what might once have been called whining is now exalted as a process of asserting selfhood; self-absorption is regarded as a form of self-expression ...

  • Egotism — usually just a case of mistaken nonentity.

  • I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty ... But I am too busy thinking about myself.

  • ... a personality devoted uniquely to its own development absorbs other lives.

    • Georgette Leblanc,
    • 1898, in Janet Flanner, trans., Souvenirs: My Life With Maeterlinck ()
  • You can't see the world through a mirror.

  • You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

  • Self-absorption is different from self-love.