what does self reliant mean

What Does Self Reliant Mean

What does it mean to be self reliant? It’s sometimes confused with being self sufficient (more on that in a minute). In my opinion, the shortest simplest answer to the question “What does self reliant mean?” is the following…

Self Reliant is relying on one’s self.

Self Reliant – What Does It Really Mean?

Okay, relying on one’s self. But is it that simple?

You might say that it’s a combination of several things… Having the natural instinctive independent attitude and behavior of taking responsibility upon one’s self. A can-do attitude of doing it yourself (to an extent possible), and that of depending on yourself (again, to an extent possible). An instinct of independence.

Pretty much no-one can do ‘everything’ themselves. I really don’t consider being self reliant to mean doing everything yourself. Instead, it’s largely an attitude whereby your first instinct is for you-yourself to address the myriad of things that you may need to do or get done. Or the external things/circumstances that may come at you or affect you. This may sound common sensible. However you’d be surprised how many people have a first instinct to “let someone else do it” or get someone else to do it. And I’m not talking about some managerial position where it may be your job… Rather, I’m talking about one’s personal life.

Taking Responsibility

What do I mean by responsibility? Well, it might be an obligation. Maybe a duty. Perhaps a promise (to yourself or someone else). Being accountable. Or simply taking it upon one’s self to do something that needs to be done. That’s part of it…

Do it yourself

An instinct to get it done. Get-er-done. Handy. Resourceful. Good work ethic. Having a natural curiosity. While there’s plenty that we as individuals cannot (or should not) do solely by ourselves without assistance or help, a self reliant person will not firstly or instinctively put off something onto someone else, or others.

Depending on yourself

Making your own decisions. Confidence to exercise one’s own good judgement. As opposed to relying upon or depending on others to make a decision. You may have heard the phrase, “If you want to get the job done right, do it yourself”. That is often SO TRUE.

Another way to address the question of “what does self reliant mean” is to look at the opposite. There are those who rely on others first, before (or if ever) they rely on themselves. Someone who is not self reliant is more likely to be intuitively or naturally dependent on others. Dependent on others or other systems (for whatever). In other words, they count on it.

It doesn’t take me long to discover through conversation with another person — whether or not that person has the attribute tending towards that of being self reliant versus being ‘dependent’. Though ultimately, ‘the proof is in the pudding’ — actions speak louder than words. Time usually tells.

Sure, we’re all dependent on other people and other systems to an extent. But what I’m getting at is the natural resolve of depending on yourself versus a reliance upon another (as one example).

Self reliant is an attribute. A good trait in my estimation. I believe it reflects a core desire for independence, freedom and liberty.

It’s a measure of one’s character.

It involves conviction, dedication, determination, fortitude, and self reliant skills in order to reach or aspire towards a goal (or result).

Is Being Self Reliant Natural or Learned?

That’s a good question. I believe it’s both.

Some have a built-in desire to be independent, self reliant. It may seem to come naturally. But lots can be attributed to upbringing and the influences by those around them as life experiences accumulate. One’s mindset if first rooted in how one is raised.

However, I believe that it’s largely something that’s learned through life experience combined with a built-in desire. When an individual takes on a challenge, a task or goal, the resulting feeling of accomplishment afterwards is a learning and rewarding experience. Perhaps it’s another learned skill (no matter how big or small) added to your life experience. It all compounds and adds up. This leads towards being less fearful or apprehensive about doing it again. Or doing the next thing, whatever that may be. It adds up to becoming more self reliant. Confident.

It’s an Attitude

The takeaway is that it’s basically an attitude, at least in my opinion. A personal characteristic. It simply describes a desire. The gumption. Resourcefulness. The acumen and get-up-and-go to be — self reliant.

Self Reliant is different from Self Sufficient (though complimentary)

I just provided my opinion on self reliant. Being self sufficient is not the same. Being self sufficient is about ‘stuff’, skills, tangibles. In the context of prepping and preparedness, people are usually referring to food production. And/or homestead living to an extent that their self sufficiency is providing food on the table. Really it’s more than just food. It’s everything. However there’s hardly a person who could truly live without any external resource whatsoever! Though striving towards being self sufficient can be a lifestyle that’s personally rewarding, at least to those of the mindset for it to be. Also, being self sufficient (or one’s attempt thereof) does certainly require a self reliant attitude! Okay, is that clear as mud now? (grin)

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  1. Ham radio. YOU have to do it. Then the folks who are important to you. A simple straight forward path to self-reliant comms. It’s not difficult, but YOU have to do it. Some will, most will not. It’s human nature.

  2. Think of most rural Americans who had out side the home jobs, but also had land where they grew most of their food and relied very little on outside sources for heat, shelter, water, medical needs, etc. My Grandparents were perfect examples of true self reliant people. The things they could do with so little still amazes me in my 63 years..

  3. You try to keep it quiet but somehow they always figure out that you have the tools, machinery, and knowhow.

  4. sufficient = enough
    reliant = dependent

    self-sufficient – enough by yourself.
    self-reliant – depend on yourself

    Nobody I know is completely self-sufficient or self-reliant, but there are a couple people that come close, and many people that strive for it.
    I used to come close to self-reliance but then I got older and now need help. Really tough to admit, but you have to come to grips with it to move ahead.

    2 cents worth

    1. sam,
      2 cents back at ya. I can’t do all the things I used to do either. Maybe most of them, but at a much slower pace. That’s kind of my point with comms. Doesn’t take a lot of strength or endurance to handle communications. Make use of the skills ya have. It truly is a valuable skill set. Just a thought.

    2. sam
      I am feeling my age more and more these days as well. I have decided to close the shop at home and pick up some overtime at my regular job to keep the budget in line. My regular job is much easier on me physically than the shop. I always liked having the shop at home so I didn’t have to rely on only one source of income.

  5. Ken said: “One’s mindset if first rooted in how one is raised.”

    I raised myself since I was 10, got caught at 12, locked up until 16, homeless on LA streets at 17.

    Two choices: Get self reliant or die. I think I did ok.

      1. Tmac…..

        I got ‘bumped’……to finish:

        As Kenny R. sang—–

        You gotta know when to hold ’em
        Know when to fold ’em
        Know when to walk away
        Know when to run.

        I been at the same table, Mi Amigo

  6. Being self reliant also imparts a powerful repellent force to douchebags, they won’t even bother you. There was a realtor showing a vacant house yesterday, other end of the cul-de-sac. In minutes my solitude was interrupted by a parade of BMW’s, Teslas, and Audis looking for parking. My truck was up on four stands, I had just pulled the oil drain plug and rolled out with a cordless impact and started hammering the wheels off for rotation. I looked a little psycho, hair all sticking up, oil splatter on my shirt.

    My betters were looking and pointing in disgust. That poor realtor woman nearly had a heart attack as she came running uphill to collect her visitors and have them park down around the corner. Hell I didn’t know. Good! I don’t want any fragile sensitives, or any more man-bun beta males in my neighborhood. It was a short event.

  7. Tmac, that is in the same catagory as me washing skunky clothing at the public laundramat! Shame on you!

  8. To Tmac, I used to get much of the same reaction by skinning a deer by hanging it on a backyard tree, cleaning fish, cleaning a limit of dove or quail. Your garbage man will know he is hauling garbage when your waste bin contains fish parts sitting in the hot sun for a few days.
    In all seriousness, considering the start you had, you did good and came a long way. Good luck raising food crops in Lala land.

  9. SS agree, a person who was a great mentor to me when I was LEO, summed it up in four easy words ‘ITS ATTITUDE, NOT ALTITUDE’ and for myself being proactive is being on top of things, instead of trying to play reactive and catch-up after the fact.

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