Where would I be without my family, my friends and my dog? Sometimes I think I’d be lost. And yet, I value the quality of self-reliance and believe it to be an important element of wellness.
It’s worth defining what I mean by ‘self-reliance’. It doesn’t mean not caring for others and it doesn’t mean shying away from others caring for you. It doesn’t mean being a hermit, looking for gold or the meaning of life in a shack on a mountain. It DOES mean trusting yourself, developing some strengths and being confident in your abilities to navigate your life on your own terms.
What strengths do we find in self-reliance?
· We can deal with the ups and downs of life
· We can take on new roles, new careers, new challenges
· We can help those around us instead of being needy
· We can lead others, save the world, do good things
· We can love, care for and trust ourselves
I find this a compelling argument to develop my self-reliance. I came across some good advice recently, from a columnist named Darius Foroux, about how to do this. Ironically, his thoughts were based on Ralph Waldo Emerson so none of this is NEW. But I’m finding it helpful and you may also.
Foroux suggested these six things would help me find greater self-reliance.
1) Have a voice. Interesting, since I was taught to always say the nice thing, or nothing at all. He suggests we speak up more-- though not aggressively—when we disagree. He suggests we not avoid confrontation.
2) Learn how to master your emotions. While not as difficult (since I was taught to always be nice, also), he goes on to explain that this is not about masking or hiding your emotions but about identifying the times you get emotional about unimportant things in order to filter them. He supports being emotional about important things but suggests that we should ‘check’ times when we get annoyed by small things, feel childish emotions or get ‘stuck’ on our own baggage.
3) Celebrate adversity. Ah, easier said than done. But we all understand that adversity will happen and that those tough times and experiences make us grow up and be our best selves. This is not a completely new thought, of course, but one that needs frequent consideration.
4) Separate yourself from everything. Foroux points out that we will eventually lose the people we love and, likely, will suffer the loss of other things important to us. He suggests keeping that in mind so that we celebrate and maximize every moment with our family and friends and strive to thoroughly enjoy the activities, places and events that matter to us. Good advice.
5) Get comfortable with yourself. Learn, Foroux says, to love your own company. Find ways to be content by yourself; develop things to do when alone—even if you must plan for it.
6) Live without regrets. You can’t change the past and life is more random than we want – and expect – it to be. Get past it; don’t waste time thinking ‘what if?’. Keep moving forward.
I am sure we all agree that we could benefit from greater trust in our own self-reliance. I found these good points to incorporate into my life and wanted to share them. I hope it’s helpful.