Theodore had an apparently inexhaustible fund of knowledge about everything, but he imparted this knowledge with a sort of meticulous diffidence that made you feel he was not so much teaching you something new, as reminding you of something which you were already aware of, but which had, for some reason or other, slipped your mind.
I had battled my own demons that day, facing down the thing that imprisoned me since the accident-a scar and the diffidence it created inside of me. But it was just a physical blemish, not something that made me who I am. It took a mentally disturbed murderer who gave me a sneak peak at death to show me that.
But if modesty is interpreted not as diffidence or self-effacingness, but as non-overweening, a realistic assessment of the job to be done and one's ability to do it, then you might say the chief virtue of excellent artists is their modesty... But knowing your limits and going to them isn't arrogance. It's greatness of spirit.
Ursula K. Le Guin
I loved you: and, it may be, from my soul The former love has never gone away, But let it not recall to you my dole; I wish not sadden you in any way. I loved you silently, without hope, fully, In diffidence, in jealousy, in pain; I loved you so tenderly and truly, As let you else be loved by any man.
Every disastrous accident alarms us, and sets us on enquiries concerning the principles whence it arose: Apprehensions spring up with regard to futurity: And the mind, sunk into diffidence, terror, and melancholy, has recourse to every method of appeasing those secret intelligent powers, on whom our fortune is supposed entirely to depend.
A historian tries to understand what happened, why it happened, what was the context, who did what, and what assumptions led them to act as they did. A historian customarily displays a certain diffidence about trying to influence events, knowing that unanticipated developments often lead to unintended consequences.
I did not believe him capable of love. That is an emotion in which tenderness is an essential part, but Strickland had no tenderness either for himself or for others; there is in love a sense of weakness, a desire to protect, an eagerness to do good and to give pleasure--if not unselfishness, at all events a selfishness which marvellously conceals itself; it has in it a certain diffidence.
W. Somerset Maugham
No pains must be spared to wipe out all feeling of diffidence, embarrassment, or shame on the part of those receiving relief; [we] must be one great family of equals. The spiritual welfare of those on relief must receive especial care and be earnestly and prayerfully fostered. A system which gives relief for work or service will go far to reaching these ends.
Heber J. Grant
Nevertheless, he must be cautious in believing and acting, and must not inspire fear of his own accord, and must proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence does not render him incautious, and too much diffidence does not render him intolerant. From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved.
She had left her legs bare, and if he wasn't mistaken, they had a slight sheen. He realized she'd caught him staring when she cleared her throat. 'Are your legs... sparkly?' he managed to ask, feeling the need to explain since he'd been caught leering. 'My body lotion has a little bit of glitter in it, ' she said with a trace of diffidence. She seemed apologetic. For what, he had no idea.
The cruelest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his teeth, and yet come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator. And how many loves have perished because, from pride, or spite, or diffidence, or that unmanly shame which withholds a man from daring to betray emotion, a lover, at the critical point of the relation, has but hung his head and held his tongue?
Robert Louis Stevenson
So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh men invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men's persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name.
Though our castes and institutions are apparently linked with our religion, they are not so. These institutions have been necessary to protect us as a nation, and when this necessity for self-preservation will no more exist, they will die a natural death. But the older I grow, the better I seem to think of these time-honored institutions of India. There was a time when I used to think that many of them were useless and worthless; but the older I grew, the more I seem to feel a diffidence in cursing any one of them, for each one of them is the embodiment of the experience of centuries. A child of but yesterday, destined to die the day after tomorrow, comes to me and asks me to change all my plans; and if I hear the advice of that baby and change all my surroundings according to his ideas, I myself should be a fool, and no one else. Much of the advice that is coming to us from different countries is similar to this. Tell these wiseacres: "I will hear you when you have made a society yourselves. You cannot hold on to one idea for two days, you quarrel and fail; you are born like moths in the spring and die like them in five minutes. You come up like bubbles and burst like bubbles too. First form a stable society like ours. First make laws and institutions that remain undiminished in their power through scores of centuries. Then will be the time to talk on the subject with you, but till then, my friend, you are only a giddy child.