Steps to Self Reliance

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Mandy has been working in the mental health field for more than eight years and has worked with a diverse group of clients. These range ...Read More

What is Self-Reliance?

Self-reliance is the ability for a person to depend on themself for their needs, decisions, and actions without excessively relying on others for assistance or validation. The top benefits of self-reliance include increased resilience in the face of challenges, greater autonomy and independence, and enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem.[1] 

The more self-reliant you are, the safer you will feel. When you know that many resources lie within you – it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are as you have the confidence to know you can handle pretty much anything. 

Benefits of Self-Reliance

1. Enhanced Mental Health Through Autonomy

Self-reliance promotes enhanced mental health by fostering autonomy and self-sufficiency. When individuals are self-reliant, they have a greater sense of control over their lives, leading to reduced feelings of helplessness and anxiety. 


Autonomy is a fundamental component of well-being, and individuals who are self-reliant are more likely to experience greater life satisfaction and psychological well-being. By taking ownership of their actions and decisions, self-reliant individuals develop a sense of mastery and competence, which contributes to their overall mental health and resilience in the face of challenges.[1]

2. Improved Decision-Making and Personal Accountability

Being self-reliant enhances decision-making skills and personal accountability. When individuals rely on themselves for guidance and support, they develop the confidence to make independent decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes.

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Self-reliance encourages individuals to trust their judgment and intuition, leading to more informed and confident decision-making processes. Moreover, self-reliant individuals are less likely to blame external factors for their challenges and setbacks, as they recognize their role in shaping their own lives and outcomes.[2]

3. Increased Resilience in Adversity

Self-reliance cultivates increased resilience in the face of adversity. When individuals have the skills and mindset to rely on themselves during difficult times, they develop inner strength and perseverance. Self-reliant individuals are better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and setbacks because they have a strong sense of internal resources and capabilities. By drawing upon their own strengths and coping strategies, self-reliant individuals are able to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity, ultimately leading to greater resilience and overall well-being.[1]

How to Promote Self-Reliance

Here are tips to promote self-reliance:

1) Be Your Best Friend

Support yourself 100% and focus on your strengths and achievements. Self-reliant people make the best of themselves and don’t put themselves down. They realize that they aren’t perfect but they make the most of what they have.

Related Reading: The Science of Affirmations: The Brain’s Response to Positive Thinking

2) Quiet Confidence

Self-reliant people don’t need to tell anyone who will listen about their positive attributes. They don’t need to prove themselves to anyone. They are kind, calm, and collected. They are comfortable with themselves and feel happy in their own skins. We all know someone whose quiet composure makes them intriguing and compelling.

3) Discretion

Self-reliance means you have the ability to look inward for strength. Those who do not possess self-reliance constantly look outward for acceptance and security. As a result, they do not learn the skills to cultivate self-reliance. At times we all need other people’s advice but as a rule, self-reliant people see if they can solve issues on their own.

4) Monitor Neediness

Take responsibility for your own life instead of leaning on others too much. When you count on others too much, you deny yourself the chance to figure things out for yourself and you also deny yourself the opportunity to develop the confidence that comes along with knowing you can make decisions and stand by them. Personal responsibility is an important aspect of self-reliance. We all need others at times but be careful not to adopt a belief that you cannot get by without help from others – a very self limiting place to be.

5) Self Acceptance

The most draining conversation you can ever have with yourself is one that revolves around everything that you think is wrong with you. When you do this you turn yourself into a weak and powerless person who is inferior to others. Why would you want to do that? How does that help you in life? This attitude often comes from years of conditioning and can take a while to undo. Give yourself some slack! If you want approval – approve of yourself. You do not need permission to accept and like who you are. The quicker you do, the quicker the rest of the world will follow suit. Be someone who is dynamic, effective and charismatic. This will show in your body language and others will respond favorably to the healthy, self-reliant you.

Cultivating Self-Reliance: Practical Strategies

Self-Support Techniques

Self-support techniques, such as daily affirmations, can play a significant role in cultivating self-reliance and promoting psychological well-being. 

Daily affirmations are positive statements or phrases that individuals repeat to themselves regularly to reinforce positive beliefs and attitudes. According to research, practicing daily affirmations can lead to improvements in self-esteem, self-efficacy, and overall psychological functioning.[3]

By repeating affirmations related to resilience, optimism, and personal strengths, individuals can build a more positive self-concept and develop the confidence to rely on themselves during challenging times.

Some examples of positive affirmations for self-reliance include: 

  • “I trust in my ability to handle whatever challenges come my way.”
  • “I am resourceful and capable of finding solutions to any problems I encounter.”
  • “I am strong, resilient, and adaptable in the face of adversity.”
  • “I have the courage to make decisions that align with my values and goals.”
  • “I am self-reliant and fully capable of creating the life I desire.”
  • “I embrace independence and confidently navigate my own path.”
  • “I believe in my inner strength and ability to overcome obstacles.”
  • “I am responsible for my own happiness and success.”
  • “I trust my instincts and intuition to guide me towards positive outcomes.”
  • “I am worthy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.”

Studies have shown that individuals who engage in self-support techniques are better equipped to overcome adversity and bounce back from setbacks. Self-support strategies, such as positive self-talk and cognitive restructuring, can enhance resilience and foster adaptive coping mechanisms in the face of adversity. By cultivating a mindset of self-reliance and self-efficacy, individuals are better able to navigate difficult circumstances and emerge stronger and more resilient.[4]

Building Inner Confidence

Improving confidence involves taking steps to reduce reliance on external approval and validation, fostering a sense of self-worth. According to research, individuals who rely excessively on external approval may experience diminished autonomy and self-esteem, as their sense of worth becomes contingent on others’ opinions.[5]

To reduce reliance on external approval, people can:[5],[6]

  • Focus on internal validation: Rather than seeking validation from others, individuals can cultivate self-validation by recognizing their own achievements, strengths, and values. By acknowledging their intrinsic worth and accomplishments, individuals can develop a more stable sense of self-esteem and confidence.
  • Set personal goals and standards: Establishing personal goals and standards based on individual values and aspirations can help individuals prioritize their own needs and desires over external expectations. By setting achievable goals and striving for personal growth, individuals can build a sense of mastery and self-efficacy, independent of external validation.
  • Practice self-compassion: Embracing self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially in moments of self-doubt or criticism. Research suggests that self-compassion can mitigate the negative effects of self-judgment and promote resilience in the face of setbacks. 
  • Seek support from within: Cultivating a supportive internal dialogue and tapping into one’s own inner resources can help individuals navigate challenges and uncertainties with greater resilience. By fostering self-trust and self-reliance, individuals can develop a sense of agency and empowerment, even in the absence of external validation.

Developing Discretion

Enhancing self-reliance through introspective problem-solving empowers individuals to navigate challenges independently and effectively. These techniques, grounded in self-awareness and critical thinking, enable individuals to identify, analyze, and address issues with autonomy and confidence. Introspective problem-solving techniques include:[7]

  • Define the problem: The first step in introspective problem-solving involves clearly defining the issue or challenge. By breaking down complex problems into manageable components, people can gain clarity and focus on specific areas that require attention.
  • Generate alternative solutions: Introspective problem-solving encourages individuals to explore multiple approaches and strategies for addressing the problem. By brainstorming creative solutions and considering different perspectives, people can expand their problem-solving repertoire and identify innovative courses of action.
  • Evaluate and select solutions: After generating alternative solutions, individuals evaluate each option based on its feasibility, effectiveness, and alignment with personal values and goals. By assessing the potential outcomes and consequences of each solution, they can make informed decisions and choose the most suitable course of action.
  • Implement and monitor progress: Once a solution is selected, individuals take proactive steps to implement their chosen course of action. Introspective problem-solving involves setting specific goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, and monitoring progress toward achieving desired outcomes.

Independence vs. Interdependence

Cultivating self-reliance involves identifying and reducing emotional dependencies while balancing self-sufficiency with healthy relationships. 

Emotional dependencies occur when individuals excessively rely on others for validation, support, and fulfillment of emotional needs. Reducing emotional dependencies requires cultivating a strong sense of internal validation and self-worth, allowing individuals to derive satisfaction and fulfillment from within rather than seeking it externally.[5]

Moreover, achieving a balance between self-sufficiency and healthy relationships involves recognizing the importance of autonomy and independence while also nurturing meaningful connections with others. 

Research emphasizes the significance of secure attachments and interpersonal bonds in promoting emotional well-being, highlighting the importance of maintaining supportive relationships while fostering self-reliance. By fostering self-awareness and boundary-setting, individuals can navigate the complexities of relationships while cultivating a sense of autonomy and independence in their lives.

Embracing Self-Acceptance

Fostering self-reliance involves embracing strategies to combat self-criticism and embrace your flaws, promoting self-acceptance and resilience. These strategies, grounded in self-compassion and positive self-talk, empower individuals to cultivate a healthy self-image and navigate challenges with confidence. 

Embracing self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, especially in moments of self-doubt or criticism. By acknowledging imperfections and mistakes as part of the human experience, individuals can develop greater resilience and self-acceptance. [8]

Here are some strategies to combat self-criticism and embrace your flaws:[8],[9]

  • Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that imperfection is part of the human experience.
  • Challenge negative self-talk: Identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself, replacing them with more realistic and compassionate perspectives.
  • Cultivate gratitude: Focus on strengths and achievements, expressing gratitude for your abilities and accomplishments.
  • Seek support: Reach out to supportive friends, family members, or mental health professionals for encouragement and guidance during challenging times.
  • Set realistic expectations: Set achievable goals and standards, acknowledging that perfection is unattainable and allowing room for growth and learning.

By incorporating these strategies into daily life, you can improve self-reliance, resilience, and self-acceptance, ultimately promoting greater well-being and success.

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