Travel has taught me becoming self reliant is an important virtue.
When you rely on yourself you’re in control of your life, you’re future depends on you, and the path you take through life is yours to choose… But when you rely on others you become dependent on them, and are forced to blindly walk the path they put you on.
We all have goals in life, things we want to see and experience and accomplish, but the only ones responsible for achieving these goals are ourselves… if we rely on others to push us towards these goals we might find this reliance has instead been holding us back.
This is easy to understand but more difficult in practice. Too often we put our lives in the hands of others maybe without even realizing it. Whether it’s our boss, or significant other, our religion, our government, or even just relying on the thoughts and opinions of others, we look to others to make us complete when really we just need to rely on ourselves.
Some dangers of relying on others
If you rely on your job as your only source of income, what happens if you lose it? If you look to others to help you make decisions what if you a forced to make a difficult one by yourself? If you rely solely on your spouse to make you feel happy and fulfilled what happens if they decide to leave you?
Besides the fact that the things or people you rely on might not be there for you one day, even if they remain in your life your reliance on them still limits what you can receive. Again if you rely solely on your job for money you’re limited by the income it provides you, if you rely on the opinions of others you’re limited by their perspectives and if you rely solely on your spouse for love and happiness, you’re limited by what they can give you.
If you rely on yourself you can accomplish anything because you set your own limits, but if you rely on others you can only accomplish what they allow you to because they themselves have their own limits.
The mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket
After entering a long term relationship many of my friends would lose contact with all the people they used to hang out with. They’d slowly cut off all of their friendships because they were so caught up with their new girlfriend. After losing touch with their friends they’d have no choice but to rely on their girlfriend for their social happiness. What would they do if they broke up and he looked around to see he had no friends left. This reliance essentially trapped them in a needy dependent unhealthy relationship.
Don’t make the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket. Putting all your trust in a single person, or a single source of income, or any single thing, causes you to rely on them too deeply and will set you up for great loss if something happens or keep you in an unhappy situation because you simply have nothing else.
How to rely on yourself
After becoming accustomed to relying on others in a certain area of your life it can be difficult to shift the reliance back onto yourself, but there are always countless little steps you can take to bring yourself back in control of your life.
If you rely on friends or family or lovers to make you feel good about yourself or to feel happy, take steps to free yourself from this need. You don’t need to alter your relationship, only your attachment to it. Find things that make you feel good that don’t involve these people. Learn new things, join a club you enjoy, make other friends, take time to be alone and work on your future passions… Know that if something happens with this relationship you won’t be left feeling empty and alone, you’ll have many other areas of your life to fall back on which are still going strong.
Slowly condition yourself to try and accomplish anything you can yourself, before turning to others for help. Even if you know someone can give you a quick answer to a small problem, see if you can figure it out yourself first. Train yourself to become more independent and build your confidence.
Stop worrying about the opinions of others and what they think of you. This is your life to live, you’re in control, you can live by your own rules, judge your own life by your own standards and forget what society thinks about it. Quit worrying if other people think you’re good looking or cool or responsible or interesting or a positive member of society, who are these people to judge you? It’s your life not theirs. In the end of the day if you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are that’s the only thing that matters.
Realize that your life is yours and no one else’s. It’s fine to share your life with people, its fine to seek help and advice, its fine to trust people or fall in love… but in the end it all comes down to you. Your life is yours, and no one owes you anything.
It’s okay to rely on others for small things, I think its fine to turn to your friends in your time of need. But if you rely on others for big things, like your sense of worth or even your happiness… you’re only setting yourself up to be let down by these people, or at best limited by what they can give you. Your life is your responsibility, and your creation. Take control, rely on yourself, and be free of the limitations of others.