Self-Reliance

Michael Ken
2 min readFeb 18, 2023

Every day, I walk out into nature and observe the world in its natural state. One thing that strikes me about the flora and fauna I see is their extraordinary self-reliance.

Dictionary.com defines self-reliance as relying on oneself or one’s own power. Although the vegetation and wildlife in nature are part of an ecosystem, each plant, tree, and animal takes complete responsibility for its survival.

Nature is self-reliant.

As social beings, people have an innate desire to bond with others. During our evolutionary history, connecting as a group was vital to our existence. Our bond with others increased our ancestors’ chances of survival and allowed them to live more comfortable lives. Often, exclusion from a group was a sure death sentence. Times may be different now, but a part of our primal brain still gravitates toward social connection. However, we must be careful that our family, friends, and community are not eroding our effort and ability to care for ourselves.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking others for help, just as helping others in need is good. But taking these actions before learning to care for ourselves can create a slippery slope. Accepting help from others before we try to take care of ourselves weakens our resolve and makes us dependent upon others. Likewise, helping others before we can help ourselves can be irresponsible and self-deprecating. The best way to ensure we can sensibly accept and provide assistance is to become self-reliant. This practice ensures we only ask for help when we really need it and help others whenever we can.

There are three phases of self-reliance. Being self-reliant gives us the tools to sustain life, improve our circumstances, and improve our environment through the promotion of long-term sustainability. This three-tiered mantra of survive, thrive, and sustain should become the foundation of our existence and daily practice.

Following nature’s footsteps, I will work harder to take control of the areas of life that lie under my influence and to accept the things that are outside of my control.

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Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit intothewoods.blog to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.