say to oneself

say to (oneself)

1. To vocalize one's thoughts without addressing them to anyone in particular, especially in a lowered voice or in one's mind. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "say" and "to." "You can do this," I said to myself. "You've done it before and you can do it again." I could hear him saying things to himself as I came down the stairs.
2. To form or focus on some particular thought in one's mind. I keep saying to myself that I will start exercising more regularly, but I just keep letting the days slip by. He said to himself that he would never let himself get duped like that again.
See also: say, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

say something to oneself

1. Lit. to mutter something to oneself so that no one else can hear. He said something to himself, but I didn't catch what it was. I said the answer to myself and no one else was supposed to hear it.
2. Fig. to think something to oneself. When I thought of him as a basketball player, I said to myself that he really isn't tall enough. I said a few choice critical remarks to myself when she presented her talk.
See also: say, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
my dear comrades, it will be rather curious to have the earth for our moon, to see it rise on the horizon, to recognize the shape of its continents, and to say to oneself, `There is America, there is Europe;' then to follow it when it is about to lose itself in the sun's rays!
A fasting person may say to oneself, "If I can fast, I can do other difficult things in life." Another psychological benefit for many people is an increase in a sense of belongingness with a group or community.
BORIS: Erm, wow, well, what can one say to oneself?
One may say to oneself: How wasteful it is to go through life hoping to come upon it by chance.
There would be no need to say to oneself "Now I am in Ami Pro and no longer in Freelance ".
It can be comforting to be able to say to oneself, "There is only one proper sexual orientation and I adhere to it."
One can say to oneself that in this effort of cultivation we should rely on what is the best reason--tested by elenchus--can offer, rather than being swayed by public opinion or our own appetites.