The ability to look upon oneself objectively and without the biases that often accompany such observation.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices


Virtues possibly in tension


How to acquire or strengthen it

Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes

  • “What destroys us most effectively is not a malign fate but our own capacity for self-deception and for degrading our own best self.” —George Eliot (Adam Bede)
  • “In short—to overstate the point only slightly—because people don’t really know why they do what they do, they give explanations of their own behavior that are about as reliable as anyone else’s, and in many circumstances actually less so.” ―Kwame Anthony Appiah
  • “[T]here is scarce any man, how much soever he may despise the character of a flatterer, but will condescend in the meanest manner to flatter himself” ―Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones)
  • “Before all things we must look into ourselves.” ―Seneca
  • “For man is so constituted so that when he knows himself he excels all other things; but when he forgets who he is, he becomes worse than the beasts. It is natural for other living things not to know who they are, but in man such ignorance is vice.” ―Böethius
  • “The more a person analyzes his inner self, the more insignificant he seems to himself. This is the first lesson of wisdom. Let us be humble, and we will become wise. Let us know our weakness, and it will give us power.” — William Ellery Channing
  • “Criticize yourself, but do not feel desperate about it.” ―Epictetus