Self-help has several common definitions:
- the act of an individual to provide for themselves without any outside assistance
- the pursuit of knowledge to aid in assisting oneself
- the body of media created by amateurs and professionals dedicated to facilitate the act (such as "self-help books")
Additionally, self-help is also an important legal concept:
Self-help, in the legal context, refers to obtaining relief or enforcing one's rights without going through legal processes, such as repossessing a car when payments are past due, retrieving borrowed or stolen goods, or demanding and receiving payment. Self-help is legal as long as it does not "disturb the peace" or violate some other law (as an example, "self-help evictions", whereby the landlord simply changes the locks and removes property without going through a court proceeding, are generally illegal on residential leases, but are legal on commercial leases).
Self-help is a very strongly held conservative value. It is considered the responsibility of the individual to place personal effort and initiative for improvement above reliance on government or other compulsory programs.