In this 2016 photo taken in Dakar, Senegal, a womale shows up to be beside herself. But it's simply her reflection. However before, "to be alongside yourself" is a prevalent English expression.


Hello and welconcerned another episode of Words and Their Stories.

You are watching: What does it mean to be beside yourself

On this display we define common expressions in American English – wbelow they come from and also just how to use them.

Today we talk about being overcome with emotion, both great and also negative. We have actually a somewhat stvariety expression you deserve to usage to define that situation: “to be beside yourself.”

So, if I say I am beside myself through joy, I am filled through joy! However, I deserve to also be alongside myself via grief, anger, or many various other emovements.

You can usage this expression to talk about others, also. Just adjust the reflexive pronoun. For example, a woman who provides birth deserve to be beside herself via awe and also probably exhaustion. The new father can be alongside himself through awe also.

The expression is advantageous and easy, but strange. It sounds as if someone has end up being two human being. How have the right to you be next to yourself? Being “alongside yourself” is technically impossible.

Some word experts say the expression might come from a belief about magical powers of the soul, or heart. To some, suffering too much emotion — whether good or poor — deserve to make people’s souls leave their bodies. In other words, if a perkid is under great emotional stress and anxiety, the soul and body might actually separate and also stand beside each various other.

Now, let’s talk around intake. In Amerideserve to English, you deserve to simply say “I’m next to myself” to intend you are shocked or very upcollection. For example, if you have actually a negative fight via a close frifinish, you could be alongside yourself. You could scream, create your frifinish an angry letter, or simply go somewright here by yourself and also cry.

Here’s another case. A high institution student uses to several colleges. If they all disapprove her application, she could be alongside herself.

She can remain up all night worrying about what to perform next.

Here is an additional example. If a perchild becomes seriously ill, he might start talking in a means that does not make any kind of feeling. The patient may also start behaving strangely, walking approximately the room -- ago and forth, earlier and also forth. He may think he is seeing someone who is not really tbelow. A medical professional could say, “He is delirious via fever before. He is next to himself.”

We have actually one more expression that is extremely comparable to “being next to yourself.” We deserve to also be out of our minds. We use this expression in the very same means we usage “next to oneself.”

So we can be out of minds with are afraid, via love, with happiness, or with any various other eactivity. And simply favor “next to oneself,” we likewise usage this expression on its very own without a details emotion.

So, if someone says or does something crazy -- prefer finding out exactly how to ride a motorcycle on a dark, rainy night -- you deserve to sindicate say, “She is out of her mind!”

In that instance, you could additionally say the perboy is crazy or has actually lost it (as in their mind).

And that’s all the time we have actually today. But if you join us next week, for an additional Words and Their Stories, we will be beside ourselves through happiness.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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Anna Matteo created this story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor. The song at the finish is Ricky Skaggs singing “I’m Beside Myself.


Words in This Story

awe n. a solid feeling of fear or respect and also wonder

magical adj. incredibly pleasant or exciting

delirious adj. not able to think or soptimal plainly especially because of fever or other illness