Self-Reliance Isn’t Selfishness
Self-reliance and selfishness are vastly different from one another. To be self-reliant is to take responsibility for one’s own existence, to learn how to do things without relying on others. Being selfish is just the opposite. A selfish person will take what they need from life, asserting that their needs trump those of others. Instead of even trying to do something for oneself, a selfish person will just take whatever they need from others, or from life in general. There is no effort to help oneself.
Of course a person cannot do absolutely everything for himself. Not everybody can fix a car or perform surgery. But they can take responsibility for finding the right mechanic or doctor, or whatever, and then getting to the right place to get things done. People who are selfish expect others to take care of the details of their lives and make sure that they happen. They are not interested in what is fair. They are only interested in what benefits them. In short, they are irresponsible and disrespectful.
What is Self-Reliance?
When you are self-reliant, you are appreciative for what you have. You live responsibly, and have respect for others. Self-reliance has very much to do with how you feel about yourself. Sometimes it comes from getting knocked down again and again. When you don’t let the negative aspects of those experiences damage your self-esteem, you can learn from them to better your life. Learning self-reliance is a way to better your life.
Being self-reliant isn’t just about taking care of yourself. When you are self-reliant, you are better able to have compassion for others and to lend them a helping hand. Otherwise you are headed for selfishness, in doing everything for yourself, but only for yourself.
Pay It Forward
A good example of paying it forward by being self-reliant is that of helping those on welfare, food stamps or disability, for instance, to get back on their feet. By enabling them to get enough to eat, or to accommodate their disabilities, these people then have the chance to set their own course, solve their own problems, and in turn, become self-reliant themselves. When the other choices are to be starving or homeless, learning to be self-reliant becomes a very attractive option.
Being selfish, on the other hand, implies that you might be having some problems with poor self-esteem and insecurity. By always having a “Me! Me! Me!” or a “Take! Take! Take!” attitude, you are exuding a bit of narcissistic thinking. You act as if deserve everything because you think you are better than everyone else. In reality, you may just be overcompensating for your fears and are trying to keep them being exposed, by distracting others with a brash attitude.
A person who is self-reliant, or self-sufficient, creates an independence for themselves, a selfish person often depends on others to fulfill their desires. They don’t have enough self-confidence to value their own choices, so instead they take a known quantity, or in other words, what they know has worked for others, and claim it for themselves.
Being self-reliant and able to take care of yourself is a good trait to have, and one that will serve you, and others, well in the long run. Selfishness serves no one, really. The selfish person may get things that others would like to have, but they chase many other valuable things away in the process. But always remember, self-reliance isn’t selfishness.