Why is Self-Reliance Important?

CHANCE by Sophocles

What do the words “self-reliant” mean to you? What sort of image do these words conjure up in your mind? If you’re like most people, you probably see someone living life on their own terms. They are independent. They are self-sufficient. You probably see them growing their own fruits and vegetables to eat. They are raising animals for meat and for eggs, milk and cheese. They are preserving the food that they grow and raise for future use. Perhaps you see them using the sun and wind to generate their own electricity. You see them living in a house that they built and own outright. You likely see them living rurally and living more simply than is the norm.

If this is the picture that you have I your mind when the words “self-reliant” are mentioned, then you are not too far off the mark. Self-reliance is about making lifestyle choices that allow a person to live more independently. This usually means trying to break some of the ties to technology that requires us to become dependent. Thus, self-reliant individuals do tend to live rurally and more simply, because life in cities is much too rigid to allow for non-conformity. A self-reliant lifestyle is attractive to many people who desire something more in their lives – something that the “average” lifestyle is not giving them. Yet, what is the basis of this attraction? Why exactly is self-reliance important?

Chance never helps those who do NOT help themselves.
– Sophocles

We were not always dependent upon technology. We didn’t always live in big cities. We weren’t always tied to jobs that paid for the technologies that caused even more dependent. We didn’t always work for things, the vast majority of which we don’t need and, if we are being honest with ourselves, we don’t really want. Instead, we lived naturally, as an integral part of the environment we existed within. We relied upon our own wits and skills to survive. We were truly independent and free. Of course, we still had physical needs that we needed to satisfy. However, we satisfied those needs with our own activities. We didn’t work for others in order to purchase goods that others produced. We didn’t trade our time for dollars. The work that we did allowed us to live independently.

This is why self-reliance is so important. It reminds us that we are more than dependent drones. It reminds us that there is more to life that a lifestyle imposed upon us by society. It reminds us that we can still be free if we make the choice to stand on our own two feet.

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