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I would like to know what the difference is, if any exists, between the expressions

Look within yourself

and

Look at yourself

Don't both refer to using introspection to find out what you think your qualities are?

Thanks.

  • 2
    Yes, they can both be used to mean introspection. It all depends on the rest of the text. Some people might say that "look at yourself" is not as "deep", but that might be wrong. – Lambie May 23 at 16:23
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Look at yourself focuses primarily on physical appearance. For example:

Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately? You look terrible!

Look within yourself focuses primarily on non-physical/intangible qualities or characteristics. For example:

Can you look within yourself to find the courage to continue?


Using these phrases in the opposite contexts sounds strange and unusual to me.

Do note that there are some intangible qualities that can be inferred from physical appearance. For example, someone who is drunk and has vomited on themselves is probably irresponsible. So look at yourself could be used to refer to physical appearance, but that reference is further used to speak about intangible qualities.

Look at yourself! You're a mess! You're so irresponsible!

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