drag (oneself) up by (one's) (own) bootstraps

drag (oneself) up by (one's) (own) bootstraps

To improve one's life or circumstances through one's own efforts, rather than relying on others. After I declared bankruptcy, I had to drag myself up by my bootstraps and rebuild my financial standing. Whenever I hear someone say that poor people just need to drag themselves up by their own bootstraps, I remind them that a lot of people don't have boots.
See also: bootstrap, by, drag, up

drag/pull yourself up by your (own) ˈbootstraps

(informal) improve your situation yourself, without help from other people: Nobody helped her get where she is today — she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps.
See also: bootstrap, by, drag, pull, up