By Tess Pennington
I am inspired by the very definition of self-reliance: to be reliant on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources. Ultimately, it is the epitome of independence and lays the groundwork of what we are all striving for – to live a life based on our personal principles and beliefs.
It is a concept rooted in the groundwork that made America great. Being dependent on our own capabilities and resources helped create a strong, plentiful country for so long. That said, the existing country as it is now is entirely different than when it began.
Why Are We So Dependent?
It is much too complicated to get into how the “system” was created. That said, the purpose is to enslave through debt and to create an interdependence that will force you and your family to never truly find the freedom you are seeking. It manipulates and convinces you to continue purchasing as a sort of status symbol to make you think you are living the good life; while all along, it has enslaved you further. Wonder why we have all of these holidays where you have to buy gifts? The system needs to be fed and forces you into further enslavement. If you don’t buy into this facilitated spending spree, you are socially shamed.
Collectively speaking, the contribution from our easy lifestyle and comfort level has created rampant complacency and a population of dependent, self-entitled mediocres. We no longer count on our sound judgement, capabilities and resources. The system keeps everything in working order so we don’t have to depend on ourselves, and furthermore, don’t want to. I realize that many of the readers here do not fall into this collectivism, as you see through the ideological facade and know that the system is fragile and can crumble.
Breaking away from the system is the only way to avoid the destruction of when it comes crumbling down. When you don’t feed into the manipulation tactics of the system, or enslave yourself to debt, and possess the necessary skills to sustain yourself and your family when large-scale or personal emergencies arise, you will be far better off than those who were dependent on the system. Those who lived during the Great Depression grew up in a time when self-reliance was bred into them and were able to deal with the blow of an economic depression much easier. Which side of this would you want to be on? Those who had the patience to learn the necessary skills, ended up surviving more favorably compared to others who went through the trying times of the Depression.
Develop Personal Dependence
Now is the time to get your hands dirty, to practice a new mindset, skills, make mistakes and keep learning. Developing personal dependence is no easy feat and requires resolute will power to continue on this long and rambling path. To achieve this you have to begin to break away from the confines of the system. You don’t have to run off to the woods to be the lone wolf. Simply by asking yourself, “Will your choices and the way you spend your time lead to more independence down the road, or will it lead to greater dependence?”, will help you gain a greater perspective into being self-reliant. As well, consider ignoring the convenient system altogether. This will help you to detach yourself from complacency and stretch your abilities and your mindset.
Most of us can’t move to an off grid location. We have responsibilities that keep us from doing so. Therefore, live according to what is best for you and your family (common sense, I know) and do what you can. My family and I moved to the rural countryside four years ago to pursue a more self-reliant lifestyle. We learned many lessons along the way and are proud of where we are. Am I 100% self-reliant? No. But, I am venturing closer to living more self-reliantly with each skill I learn. Many of my little homesteading, off-grid ventures can be read about here.
Here’s What You Can Do:
1. Inform Yourself – Understand that there are events on the horizon, some large-scale and some personal that could wreak havoc on your quest toward a self-reliant lifestyle. Informing yourself and planning for them will be your best in staying ahead of the issue.
2. Learn Skills – When you can depend on your skills to support you and your family’s life, then the outside world doesn’t affect you as much. When large groups of people in a general area possess self-reliant skills, it makes your community stronger.
As well, look into these DIY projects found on Ready Nutrition
3. Get Out of Debt – It is paramount that each of us begin actively practicing economic self-discipline. Many believe that because of the ease in money confiscations from the banks, you shouldn’t have all of your money stashed there. Diversifying your money and investing in long-term ways to preserve your wealth will ensure you have multiple ways to pay the bills.
4. Store food – Having a supply of food to subsist on in times of dire circumstances ensures that you are not dependent on having your basic needs met by someone else. This gives you the control of what food to put in your body and how you want to live.
5. Start raising your own food – With the high prices of meat at the store these days, many are turning to raising their own meat sources. Rabbits, chickens and fish can easily be started in backyard homesteads.
6. Prepare for emergencies – Preparing for the unlikely emergencies is a way to insulate yourself from the aftermath. The simplest way to begin preparing is to prepare for the most likely events that can affect you, and go from there.
7. Repurpose – We must take steps to stop being a throw away society and get back to a population who makes do with what they have.
8. Make Your Own Supplies – You have everything around you to survive, but many can’t look outside of the box to see how they can use what they have to survive. Having versatile preparedness supplies saves space and can serve multiple uses that can double up as ingredients to make soaps, medical supplies, etc.
9. Use Up What You Already Have or Find Another Use – Being self-reliant means using up what already have. This is a crucial principle of being self-dependent. Saving leftover construction supplies, food, clothing, etc., can be reused for another day.
10. Live More Naturally – Life is chaotic these days and many of us feel we have to keep up with everyone else. It’s time to forget that and start living more simply and naturally.
11. Grow Your Own Medicine – With the vast medical advancements in the Western world, we are turning our backs on the first medicine – natural medicine. It’s time we begun exploring a more mindful, natural existence.
12. Grow Your Own Food – The cost of making healthy decisions about the food we put into our body is eating our budgets alive. We want the very best foods for our family, but buying solely organic products can be costly. All the while, you are questioning the legitimacy of this produce. Is it genetically modified? Where was this grown? Was it exposed to salmonella or another food-borne pathogens? What was the type of water used to grow it? There comes a time when you want to throw your hands up and shout, “That’s it, I’m doing this myself.”
13. Be Flexible – I often tell those who are preparing that the single most important thing you can do is continue to be flexible in your preparedness efforts. Doing so gives you leeway in your planning and backup planning, as well as helps you move more fluidly through the aftermath. This concept can be applied in non-emergencies, as well. Self-reliance can help us be more flexible in our life and our decisions.
14. Barter Better – Bartering for goods and services was the first currency that went around. Let’s be honest, everyone is up for a good deal. Using self-reliant skills, you can use these as leverage in bartering. As well, having a surplus of survival/preparedness items can also help you make good bartering deals.
15. Teach Your Kids – We must teach our children how to be more mindful and self-reliant. After all, we do not want to continue the cycle of having a dependent, self-entitled population. By informing them, we are setting them upon a self-sustaining path for life.
We must come to the understanding that there is no true safety net for us to fall into; it’s up to ourselves to get us out trouble. How easily you land depends on how reliant you were to begin with. Adopting certain concepts as your new life’s code will help you on your path.
Many of us share a common goal: to be free from the shackles of the system. This goal doesn’t come over night. You have to work at it, invest in it and ultimately, change your way of thinking. The point is, we are all at different places in our preparedness efforts, so don’t get discouraged! Continue on the pace, keep learning and step-by-step, you inch closer and closer to that goal.
About the Author
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.