In order to judge of the inside of others, study your own; for men in general are very much alike, and though one has one prevailing passion, and another has another, yet their operations are much the same; and whatever engages or disgusts, pleases, or offends you in others will engage, disgust, please or offend others in you.
The superior man will watch over himself when he is alone. He examines his heart that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause of dissatisfaction with himself.
Think not rightly to examine yourself by looking only to your own inner motives and feelings, which are the hardest of all things to analyze if looked at in the abstract, and apart from outward actions. But ask, "Do I believe all that God teaches, and endeavor to do all that God commands?" For in this is the evidence of true love to him.
It belongs to every large nature, when it is not under the immediate power of some strong unquestioning emotion, to suspect itself, and doubt the truth of its own impressions, conscious of possibilities beyond its own horizon.
Never let us be discouraged with ourselves. It is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.
If any speak ill of thee, fly home to thy own conscience and examine thy heart. If thou art guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction.
When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.
How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then shalt thou know what is in thee.
I study myself more than any other subject; it is my metaphysic, and my physic.
Let not sleep fall upon thy eyes till thou hast thrice reviewed the transactions of the past day. Where have I turned aside from rectitude? What have I been doing? What have I left undone, which I ought to have done? Begin thus from the first act, and proceed; and, in conclusion, at the ill which thou hast done, be troubled, and rejoice for the good.
If thou seest anything in thyself which may make thee proud, look a little further and thou shalt find enough to humble thee; if thou be wise, view the peacock's feathers with his feet, and weigh thy best parts with thy imperfections.
Inspect the neighborhood of thy life; every shelf, every nook of thine abode.
We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? what passions opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against, whom I know most faults.
Go to your bosom, knock there and ask your heart what it doth know that is like my brother's fault; if it confess a natural guiltiness, such as his is, let it not sound a thought upon your tongue against my brother.
Observe thyself as thy greatest enemy would do, so shalt thou be thy greatest friend.
In self-examination, take no account of yourself by your thoughts and resolutions in the days of religion and solemnity, but examine how it is with you in the days of ordinary conversation and in the circumstances of secular employment.
Of all exercises there are none of so much importance, or so immediately our concern, as those which let us into the knowledge of our own nature. Others may exercise the understanding or amuse the imagination; but these only can improve the heart and form the human mind to wisdom.
Though not always called upon to condemn ourselves, it is always safe to suspect ourselves.
Never lose sight of this important truth, that no one can be truly great until he has gained a knowledge of himself, a knowledge which can only be acquired by occasional retirement.