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There are two meanings of the term self-denial.

The first is common, literal sense; the act of refusing to recognize unpleasant facts even when presented by one's self.[1] This concept has been suggested to be involved in the development and maintenance of various psychopathological conditions[2]Template:Better source, and is generally understood to be a mental process with negative implications.[citation needed].This can be a particular form of the psychological defence of denial

A separate, traditional meaning (also called self-abnegation[3] and self-sacrifice) refers to altruistic abstinence - the willingness to forego personal pleasures or undergo personal trials in the pursuit of the increased good of another.[4] Various religions and cultures take differing views of self-denial, some considering it a positive trait and others considering it a negative one. According to some Christians, self-denial is considered a superhuman virtue only obtainable through Jesus.[5] Some critics of self-denial suggest that self-denial can lead to self-hatred and claim that the self-denial practiced in Judaism has created self-hating Jews.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. self-denial - Wiktionary. Wikimedia. URL accessed on 22 March 2013.
  2. Bäckström, B, Sundin, K (November 2009). The experience of being a middle-aged close relative of a person who has suffered a stroke, 1 year after discharge from a rehabilitation clinic: a qualitative study.. International journal of nursing studies 46 (11): 1475-84.
  3. Arthur I. Waskow (1991). Seasons of our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays, Boston: Beacon Press. URL accessed September 2, 2011.
  4. Tina Besley; Michael A. Peters (2007). Subjectivity & Truth: Foucault, Education, and the Culture of Self, New York: Peter Lang. URL accessed September 2, 2011.
  5. Brian Stewart Hook; Russell R. Reno (2000). Heroism and the Christian Life: Reclaiming Excellence, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. URL accessed September 2, 2011.
  6. David Jan Sorkin (1999). The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840, Detroit: Wayne State University Press. URL accessed September 2, 2011.

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