drag (oneself) up by (one's) (own) bootstraps(redirected from drag oneself up by one's 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.