What Does Pull Yourself Together Mean?

Pull Yourself Together Definition

Definition: To regain self control.

Origin of Pull Yourself Together

This expression dates back to the second half of the 1800s. The exact reasoning behind the origin is unclear. However, there are several other expressions that are related.

Three of these include to fall apart, to be scattered, and to be beside oneself.

These all express the idea that someone who is not in control of oneself is, figuratively speaking, in pieces. Another expression that acts as an antonym is to be put-together. A person who is put-together has a strong composure.

pull oneself together Many sources speculate that the idea of losing control of one’s emotions signals a state of disconnect between the mind and the body. Pull yourself together might come from the idea of pulling your mind back into control of your body.

Examples of Pull Yourself Together

In this conversation, two high-school students are studying for their final exams.

Lisa: There is too much to study! I’ll never be able to learn all of this in time. I’m going to flunk my exams and not be able to go to college!

Annie: Calm down! You’re starting to hyperventilate. I’m worried you’re having a panic attack!

Lisa: I’m too nervous! I can’t stop sobbing.

Annie: You’ve got to pull yourself together! You can do this if you just stay calm and composed.

pull oneself together In the dialogue below, two friends are discussing a difficult time one of them experienced earlier in his life.

Seth: I lost my job, and I’ve been feeling pretty depressed lately.

Jimmy: That happened to me once a few years ago. I got fired, and I started messing up my life even worse. I was so upset about getting fired that I started drinking too much alcohol.

Seth: How did you finally get over it?

Jimmy: I realized I had to pull myself together to take care of my children. If I couldn’t be a good father, I would fail them.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an advice column about relationships.

  • Pull yourself together, forget him and have fun. You never know, maybe one day he’ll realize he just can’t live without you. Until then, go live your life without him. –New York Post

This excerpt is from an article about an actor portraying a politician in a dramatic performance. The historical character must be resolved to inspire his soldiers.

  • Ultimately, Churchill must pull himself together to present the kind of galvanizing D-Day address his countrymen — and the Allied forces — desperately need to hear, and he does so with confidence and uplift. –LA Times


To pull oneself together means to control one’s emotions or actions.