I want to say that the person himself/herself should be the first supporter of himself/herself. I came up with two different ways of saying that, and I want to know if they are all correct, and which one presents the best version.

  1. You are your self first supporter.

  2. You are the first supporter for yourself.

I prefer the first one as it sounds idiomatic, but I don't want the "your self" part to get confused with "yourself" when spoken loudly. So is there another word I can substitute "self" with?


I want "support" to be about all the psychological aspects of the human being, not financial support for example. In other words, you would say that phrase to encourage someone in achieving his/her dreams and goals, to keep fighting in life (not literally), to overcome challenges, and so on.

By "first" I mean that you should support yourself before others do.

  • 3
    I don't really understand what you're trying to get across. You should rely on yourself as much as you possibly can before asking others for help? You can't count on anyone else like you can yourself? You need to believe in yourself before others will? Both "support" and "first" could mean a lot of things in this context, so it's hard to suggest an alternative.
    – Kat
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 14:46
  • 3
    "First supporter" sounds pretty strange to me. It sounds like a semi-official title or technical term, reminiscent of "first responder." I'd say "biggest supporter" instead. First means the one that came before others, but doesn't necessarily mean most significant or important.
    – barbecue
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 17:07

8 Answers 8


Your first sentence is not grammatical English, so it will not sound natural to any native speaker. The reason is that 'self' is the indirect object of first supporter, but your sentence doesn't indicate the relationship. You would have to say

You are your own first supporter

Your second sentence fixes this problem by explaining that you are the first supporter of yourself. There is functionally no difference between 'your self' and 'yourself' in this case. They mean the same thing.

But neither sentence can be used by itself without sounding strange, because the phrase 'first supporter' is not a common phrase in native English. It's confusing because we don't know what is meant by the word 'first'. Does it mean you are the earliest one, the one that comes before the others sequentially? Or does it mean you're the most important one of all your supporters?

Also, the word 'supporter' is not usually used in a general way. It needs a context. A person might have supporters at work, or political supporters, but not just 'supporters'.

Your question says that you want to say a person 'should be' the first supporter of their self, but your suggestions use the verb 'are'. 'Are' doesn't mean the same as 'should be'. If you want to say that someone 'should be' their own supporter then use an imperative word like 'be'.

Be your own first supporter

The idiomatic phrase that comes to my mind for saying the same thing is

Be your own best friend

You could also say

Support yourself first

This could be understood in several ways, depending on what the word 'first' is referring to. You would have to clarify what 'first' means by adding context.

support yourself before you support others
support yourself before you do something else
support yourself before others support you

  • You mentioned that my second example goes with the preposition of, so does that mean for is incorrect? What I mean by "first" is as in your last suggestion, which is in other words: You should be the first one to support yourself before expecting others to support you. And I actually want the supporting matter to be in general. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 8:20
  • Yeah, I came to the question just to see what was meant. Doesn’t make sense.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:32
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    @TasneemZH I wouldn't say 'for' is incorrect, but people normally say 'supporter of somebody or something' or 'support for somebody or something'. You can also say 'I"m here in support of...', or 'I'm doing this in support of...'. The way you said it in your comment sounds completely natural. Here you've used 'support' as a verb, which sounds fine used in general terms. There's an aphorism from Greek myth that we use to say something similar: 'The gods help him who helps himself'.
    – dwilli
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:46
  1. "You are your own biggest fan."

This would be an informal way of saying the same thing. It could be used positively or negatively. If used in a negative sense, it is stating sarcastically that the person thinks too much of himself.

Here's a link to an Internet search showing how similar sayings are used in a self-affirming sense: Link to search results

  • Thanks for the suggestion, but would "fan" mean "supporter" literally? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:59
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    @TasneemZH -- Yes. Collins' dictionary lists this meaning as its first definition of "fan". I don't think this meaning was the original meaning of the word, though.
    – Jasper
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:11
  • 2
    'Fan' usually means a supporter of somebody famous, like a performer or athlete, or a supporter of an athletic team. It can be used for something a person is interested in, like 'I'm a fan of movies'.
    – dwilli
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 22:31
  • 3
    @TasneemZH "Fan" is short for "fanatic," which is word that describes a very strong supporter. These days, fanatic usually has a negative connotation, but fan does not.
    – Michael W.
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 5:11
  • I believe the OP means "supporter" in the sense of a provider of support, such as a parent, friend, or mentor. I wish I could think of a noun to suggest that would convey this concept more clearly. Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 19:58

Statements like this typically use your own X:

  1. You are your own first supporter.


  1. You are your self first supporter

sounds awkward. Self is not used as a modifier very often except as part of fixed phrases like self service.

  • Such a great suggestion! Thank you. Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:57
  • 9
    Downvoted because I think this suggestion still sounds awkward. I can't imagine a native speaker ever saying this. First Supporter sounds like the name of a cop show or something, lol.
    – user91988
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:46
  • 1
    I believe the OP is not using self as a modifier, but is rather trying to say "yourself's". Now if only there was such a construct...
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 8:07
  • 2
    @MrLister There is: "your own".
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:16
  • @wizzwizz4 Which was mentioned in Lawrence's answer, so I didn't need to mention it again.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:25

Here is a rhetorical question that makes the original poster's point:

  1. If you don't believe in yourself, who will?
  • By numbering the examples, you are a genius. Thanks for your answer. (Did I phrase it correctly by the way?) Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:56
  • 1
    @TasneemZH -- Your comment would make a good question.
    – Jasper
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:09
  • If that's the case, then I will save it for another time. Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:35
  • I have asked it here. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 15:15

Maybe something as simple as (this is very common)

Believe in yourself.

A popular proverb is

The Lord helps those who help themselves.

It is sometimes said that

You can't find love until you love yourself.

Or if you want something a bit more pessimistic:

The only person you can rely on is you/yourself.

  • Very nice proverbs; thanks. But isn't there something that includes the word "support" explicitly? Or could that "believe in" has the same meaning as "support"? Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 10:41
  • 1
    "Believe in yourself" means be confident, think highly of yourself and your potential.
    – Artelius
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 15:06
  • Not quite the meaning I want to convey... But I appreciate it nonetheless. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 15:15

To capture what I think you are trying to emphasize, I would say:

You yourself are your own first supporter.


The only way I'd use self in such a sentence is this: Your first supporter is yourself. As others have said, your own supporter is more usual.


What is a more proper way to say, “You are your self first supporter”?

"self first" uses two words to modify "supporter." The words must be grouped by using quotation marks. (Most, if not all, compound adjectives are grouped by using a hyphen.)

You are your "self first" supporter.

I've found that making a sentence simpler works best. In your case, try:

I support myself first.


Tom supports himself first.


  • 1
    Your first suggestion (with quotation marks) sounds totally unnatural and wrong. "Self first" isn't really a meaningful adjectival phrase.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 5:57
  • This is the same as what Grammarly suggests. I didn't go with its suggestion as I found the sentence odd. As for I support myself first, I think it is reasonable and correct, but I want it to sound a bit more idiomatic as a way of encouraging others to support themselves rather than stating that plainly. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 8:11
  • @V2Blast You're correct, if I was using "self first" as an adjective phrase. I was trying to use it to indicate that I was quoting the OP and that I was using the same wording. You could also take the quoted segment to mean that I was describing a concept whose wording was kept together by quotes. Anyway, you put together a good reply.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 20:28

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