Are you familiar with this? And if so, can you describe the correct spelling/saying?
You don't give me much to work here, but I'll try.
This has been troubling me all week, in that I know how to pronounce this in Hakka and it shares a commonness (sp) with Cantonese too. This is familiar as language as my dad castigated me throughout life using this phrase but I can't actually remember the Chinese for it. And my dad isn't much help as he speaks to me in 4 different ways switching from Mandarin, to Hakka, to Cantonese to English often in single sentences.
The first thing I thought about was the work Ak, as you said Aku ~ Ak~ Ngak? 握 which isn't correct as 握 means to shake, hold or grip. It sounds a bloodly lot like Ak anyway but it is wrong as its usage in verbal form sounds correct but in written form isn't. 握 手 ak - shau ~ to shake hands.
Which is wrong i.e. 你 (you) 握 (shake) 我 (me). You go to a Mahjong den and somebody cheats if you say 你 (Lee) 握 (Ak) 我 (Knor), they will understand, but if you wrote it down they would laugh at you and correct you. The word I was looking for was 阨 (ngak) which means to deceive, this is a pain in the arse word as it is a borrowed word which actually comes from 呃. which again is (ngak) which means the same thing.
Hence initially I wrote: 握 (ak) 自(chee)己 (kay) ~ to trick oneself. But I know this is wrong, damned similar sounding words, the word I was looking for 阨 (ak)
阨 (ak) 自(chee)己 (kay) ~ deceive oneself.
I have no idea what the spirit bit refers to I've never heard it before there is also:
對…作出解釋；為 自己- which means to justify it to yourself which is more closer to what you were looking. I.e. I justified the spending to myself which isn't quite right again.
I've got to be doing something right now so this post may well be altered and updated shortly. However I am fairly confidence that 阨 (ak) 自(chee)己 (kay) ~ deceive oneself. Is what you are looking for my dad often said 不(bat)阨 (ak) 自(chee)己 (kay) ~ don't lie to yourself.
Continued the spirit issue, is tricky in that again subject to interpretation but what you posted to me earlier I think attitude is the correct saying
心态 psychology (sort of) (sam lay)
态度 or attitude (tai dough)
HTH (for now anyway)