Self Reliance & Self Sufficiency – What’s The Difference?

Last updated on December 11th, 2018

The difference between self reliance and self sufficient

Self Reliance or Self Sufficiency, what’s the difference?

People tend to use these terms interchangeably. I have been guilty of it too.

However if you dig into it a bit, there is a difference in their meaning.


Self Reliance

Being self reliant is about not being dependent on external “flows”.

Self reliance is relying on one’s self. One’s own powers. It aspires towards non-dependence. It’s a quality. A personality characteristic. It’s about “you”.

Note that what one makes, obtains, or gets, may be more (or less) than what is “sufficient”.


Self Sufficiency

Being self sufficient is either obtaining, having, or producing the resources one needs.

Self sufficiency (sufficient). Sufficient quantities of what one needs.


The Difference Between Self Reliance and Self Sufficient

Given the variance or distinction between the two definitions above, you might say the following:

Both self reliance and self sufficiency are about you.

Self reliance involves the conviction, dedication, fortitude, and skills in order to reach or aspire towards a goal (or result) of self sufficiency.

I look at self reliance as being more about a person’s determination and skill whereas self sufficiency is more about the resources, the stuff.

It’s you and your self reliance that may lead to obtaining or producing resources.

Does that make sense?


Can You Really Become Self Sufficient?

Even with a self reliant attitude and skill sets, can you actually truly become self sufficient in terms of survival resources?

Sure you can – to varying degrees of extent. That’s some of what I write about (and you comment about) from day to day.

It certainly and definitely is NOT easy (to get closer to self sufficiency). However each and every baby step that you take is a step in a good direction in terms of being better prepared for external systems breaking down. Weaning yourself off of dependence.

Dependence on what? Well that’s up to you. There are LOTS of dependencies living in today’s modern world. In fact, given our massive population and dense urban, suburban regions, there’s no way so many people could survive without modern dependencies and system “flows” into the region, for example.


These are just some of the basics. But to become self sufficient even marginally in these areas will require a great deal of good old self reliance for starters.


Self Reliance & Sufficiency Beyond Just “You”

Note that self reliance and self sufficiency can apply to more than just “you” (or one person). It might also refer to a group. Perhaps a neighborhood. A region. A country. Get the idea?

However most discussions with these terms within the prepper / preparedness realm often deal with the singular person or smallish groups. I’m just pointing out how it can apply to a ‘bigger picture’.

Just like how the Unites States once was pretty self reliant and self sufficient. Today most of our ‘stuff’ (and a good portion of our food) is from other countries. But I digress.

I just wanted to point out the distinction between these two terms, at least how I view it. (I searched online too, and it appears that the statements above are in line with what I’ve read.)

More: Can You Even Imagine The Pioneer Family Surviving The Frontier?



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