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In Romanian we have an expression that translates word-by-word as "pouring ashes onto one's head" -- used when someone exaggerates in assuming the blame for something that went wrong, e.g., by repeatedly stating it:

"I'm such an idiot, I shouldn't have left the door open... how could I be so stupid? What was I thinking?"

"Alright, stop pouring ashes onto your head and let's focus on what we can do to fix this!"

What would be the closest English equivalent?

  • Carried to extreme lengths, someone might (literally or figuratively)'fall on their sword'. The Japanese call the literal action seppuku. – Nigel J Jun 12 '18 at 4:43
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Beat (oneself) up

To continually criticize or question oneself, usually about something that one cannot change. —TFD

In the context of your example, it's normally used with "...about it." For example...

So you spilled the ashes. Don't beat yourself up about it.

  • So you spilled the beans, in English. :) – Lambie Jun 11 '18 at 21:38
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to self-flagellate merriam-webster

extreme criticism of oneself

As in:

"Alright, stop with the self flagellation and let's focus on what we can do to fix this!"

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We have a similar phrase in England and it is 'Donning sackcloth and ashes' from an old religious custom of wearing a rough hessian garment and covering oneself in Ashes to give penance to God for a grievous sin

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The way you have worded the example I would think that you could say: "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill."

Example: "I'm such an idiot, I shouldn't have left the door open... how could I be so stupid? What was I thinking?"

"Alright, stop (or 'don't make') making a mountain out of a molehill, just focus on what we can do to fix this!"

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