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drown in self-pity

To be entirely consumed by sorrow, self-deprecation, or other negative emotions to the point of self-indulgence and/or paralysis. It's hard to help someone who would rather drown in self-pity than find a solution to their problems.
See also: drown

top (one)self

1. To commit suicide. Primarily heard in UK. A: "Did you hear that his father topped himself over the weekend?" B: "Yeah, I can't believe it. Everyone is still in shock."
2. To outdo or outperform one's previous effort(s) or achievement(s). Primarily heard in US. Wow, you've really topped yourself with these cupcakes, Stephen!
See also: top

a shadow of (one's) former self

A person whose personality has changed dramatically to become decreased in vivacity in some way, often following some traumatic event. Ever since Tim was in that accident, he's been a shadow of his former self. She's so quiet now, like a shadow of her former self. Does anyone know what happened to the bubbly girl we once knew?
See also: former, of, shadow

be a law unto (one)self

To do whatever one desires and/or ignore rules and regulations. If you need to delegate, I wouldn't ask Gina—she is a law unto herself, and it's hard to persuade her to do anything she's not interested in. How many times has Jason been arrested now? Geez, he sure is a law unto himself!
See also: law, unto

bear (one)self

To behave in a particular way. I need to bear myself bravely if I want to overcome this fear. I know you guys aren't thrilled about going to Great-Aunt Mildred's, but please try to bear yourselves politely.
See also: bear

deny (one)self

To deprive oneself of something. I'm denying myself desserts right now, while I'm on this diet.
See also: deny

draw (one)self up

1. To stand up straight, as tall as one can. I know you feel self-conscious about being so much taller than everyone else, but please, try to draw yourself up for the group photo.
2. To stand up straight in a show of indignation. After Andrew made those rude comments about me, I drew myself up and stormed out of the office.
See also: draw, up

expose (one)self

To show one's genitals in a public setting. A: "Did you hear that someone got busted for exposing himself at the mall?" B: "No! I'm really glad I stayed home today."
See also: expose

feel (like) (one)self

To feel as one normally does, physically or emotionally. I'm finally starting to feel like myself again after my bout with the flu. Marcy has been struggling with depression lately—I hope she feels herself again soon.
See also: feel

in a class by (one)self

Having no equal. She is the best director in Hollywood right now—she is simply in a class by herself. This new concept car is in a class by itself. It is years ahead of the competition.
See also: class

kill (one)self

1. To commit suicide. Once John realized he had begun to have thoughts of killing himself, he decided to seek help.
2. To bring about one's death by performing a particular action. This phrase can be said when one's life is or could be in danger, but it is often used figuratively. I can hardly breathe—I'm going to kill myself if I go back on the treadmill right now! If they try driving home in this snow, they'll kill themselves—tell them to get a hotel room for the night.
3. To overexert oneself. Don't kill yourself trying to get the report done tonight—it's not due until next week anyway.
See also: kill

outsmart (one)self

To find oneself negatively impacted by the schemes that one undertook for personal gain. I was so successful in overshadowing my competition that the boss is skeptical that I can work as part of a team. I guess I outsmarted myself!

self-made man

One who became successful and/or wealthy through hard work and not by inheritance or help from others. Joe is a self-made man who worked long, hard hours to turn his small business into a large, successful company.
See also: man

shadow of (one's) former self

Someone or something that is now weaker or inferior than previously, often due to negative circumstances. After suffering from a prolonged illness, Sharon was a shadow of her former self. Many of the town's residents moved away, leaving it a shadow of its former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

redeem (one)self

To make amends for one's past misdeeds or shortcomings by doing something positive. Matt's grades were not great at the beginning of the semester, but he's totally redeemed himself and gotten A's on every test since. My sister was mad at me for not spending time with her, so I redeemed myself by getting us tickets to see her favorite band.
See also: redeem

Self-praise is no recommendation.

Prov. If you praise yourself, people will think that you are boastful and will not respect you. After listening to the lawyer brag about his achievements for a solid half hour, I decided I would find someone else to handle my case. Self-praise is no recommendation.

Self-preservation is the first law of nature.

Prov. Every living thing will fight to survive.; It is natural to think of yourself first. When foe's best friend was arrested, Joe pretended not to know him. "Perhaps it wasn't very loyal of me," he thought, "but self-preservation is the first law of nature."
See also: first, law, nature, of

*shadow of oneself

 and *a shadow of itself; *a shadow of one's former self
Fig. someone or something that is not as strong, healthy, full, or lively as before. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) The sick man was a shadow of his former self. The abandoned mansion was merely a shadow of its old self.
See also: of, shadow

a shadow of your/its former self

a smaller, weaker, or less important form of someone or something With most of its best players traded away, the team was reduced to a shadow of its former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

a self-made man

a man who is rich and successful as a result of his own work and not because his family had a lot of money Critchley was a self-made man who learned accounting while working in a brush factory.
See also: man

a shadow of your former self

if you are a shadow of your former self, you are less strong or less powerful than you were in the past He came back to work after 3 months, completely cured of the cancer but a shadow of his former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

shadow of one's self

Also, shadow of one's former or old self . A person, group, or thing that has become weaker in physical or mental capacities or in power or authority. For example, After that long battle with the flu, he was just a shadow of his old self, or This new administration is but a shadow of itself, or The revised constitution is a shadow of its former self. The use of shadow for an emaciated person dates from the late 1500s, and by about 1800 the word began to be used for other kinds of attenuation.
See also: of, shadow

self-propelled sandbag

n. a U.S. Marine. (Persian Gulf War.) Those guys are just self-propelled sandbags. They are fearless.
See also: sandbag