pull yourself up by your own bootstraps

pull (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 pull myself up by my bootstraps and rebuild my financial standing. Whenever I hear someone say that poor people just need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, I remind them that a lot of people don't have boots.
See also: bootstrap, by, pull, up

pull (or drag) yourself up by your own bootstraps

improve your position by your own efforts.
A bootstrap is sometimes sewn into the back of boots to help with pulling them on. This idiom has given rise to the computing term bootstrapping , meaning the process of loading a program into a computer by means of a few initial instructions which enable the introduction of the rest of the program from an input device. We now refer to the process of starting a computer as booting or booting up .
See also: bootstrap, by, own, pull, up