We see the term “self reliance” all the time, particularly in regards to women who conceal carry and train for self defense. But what does it actually mean? For me, self reliance is the driving force that influences most of the things I do in life.
Merriam Webster defines self reliance as, “reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities”. Sounds pretty simple, right? But, wow, it is powerful!
My journey with self reliance has been the most enlightening, educational, and empowering aspect of my life. With each passing year, I add more skills and knowledge to my toolbox that enable me to be self-reliant in so many different areas – and I have so much fun doing it! Learning how to defend myself with a firearm and concealed carrying has been a huge part of my self reliance journey, of course, and was my first step on that journey. What I didn’t realize when I first got started was how adding one self-reliance tool to my toolbox would result in me wanting to add another and another and another.
If we look at the big picture of our lives, trying to be self reliant in every aspect is far too overwhelming. Maybe you’re looking at your “toolbox” now thinking, “well, I only have one or two tools… that’s not enough!”. Trust me, having those one or two tools puts you so far ahead and you will continue to collect more tools overtime. Unlike a real toolbox, you can’t just acquire a complete set of tools all at once. Building your self reliance toolbox takes time and effort. It’s a slow process, but one day you’ll look at that toolbox and it will be filled to the brim will all the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired overtime.
It’s also important to remember on our self reliance journey that we can’t possibly do it all. This is where your community comes into play. You’ll have one set of tools, your friend will have another set, your neighbor will have another set, and so on. Bring those all together and suddenly you have an incredible collection of skills and knowledge. Help each other! When it comes to your learnings, focus on the areas you enjoy most that will bring the most value to yourself and your community.
These days I think of self reliance as my ability to be a well-rounded human being with a myriad of skills and knowledge to help myself and others. Some have called me a “Jack of all trades”, and I wear that label with pride. Some have also pointed out that a “Jack of all trades” is also a “master of none” (with a negative connotation), and I’m cool with that, too. For much of my life, I’ve struggled with the idea that I’m not a “specialist”—I’m never going to be the best at any one thing. But now I understand that while I’m not a specialist, I have more life skills than the average person and I am well on my way to becoming extremely well-equipped to do life as I want to do it. In my book, being self reliant equates to being free and I am as freedom-loving as they come.
Here are a few of the self reliance topics that I’m focusing on at this point in my life:
- protecting and defending myself, my home, and my loved ones
- being able to tackle home maintenance and repairs
- building/making my own furniture, housewares, and other items
- growing my own food
- emergency preparedness
- financial security & independence
I should probably learn how to grow my own grapes and make my own wine, but I’ll leave that to the experts and stick to collecting wine for now ;-).
While this is a short list, my self reliance journey will never stop. I’m constantly adding things to my list and expanding my skills and knowledge in many different areas. My toolbox is filling up, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for continuing this journey.
What is self reliance to you? What self reliance skills are in your toolbox?