Unfortunately these two words tend to describe the generally selfish and materialistic culture in which most of us live. They result not in self-help but in dependency. Our education and our role models do not encourage us to help ourselves to grow, change and expand our capacities as human beings.
Real self-help means recognising that no one else is responsible for our thoughts and feelings, and that we are only ever victims because we choose to be. Our destiny is always and only in our own hands - despite all apparent evidence which may indicate otherwise.
Learning to help ourselves is also a prerequisite to extending a hand of assistance to others. We all need a leg up from time to time, but once there, we are always on our own.