Do you want to become more self-reliant? In this article, Anika Weissbach shares practical tips on how to achieve more self-reliance in life.

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Question: 
What is the definition of a “best-friend”? 

Answer: 
A best friend is someone who always is there for you in times of crisis, can lift you up and never lets you down, is screaming on the side line “C’mon, you got this!” or softly whispers “Don’t worry, I got your back”. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if this person can always be by your side? No need to leave a message after the beep and hope to get a call back before your tears dry up. Well, guess what! We all have this person since the day we were born. That person is YOU, YOURSELF. By learning how to become self-reliant, you can offer yourself that comfort.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we all should stop seeking friendship with other people. Nor am I suggesting that we should be anti-social or reject when someone offers a shoulder for us to lean on. By all means, definitely do lean on that shoulder with gratitude. The truth of the matter is, our friends also have a life of their own. There are gonna be times when their itinerary don’t align with ours, and we have no choice but to accept it. If you always have someone to catch you when you fall, you are truly blessed. But what if one day that person is M.I.A when you fall? Well… you would hit the ground and break in pieces. Consequently, you’d have no choice but to put yourself back together and continue on with your life.

Accept The Blessings Of Helping Hands, But Don’t Depend On It…

I honestly believe that our friends and families would always try their best to be there for us in times of need, and we should sincerely appreciate that. However, instead of us constantly relying on these loved ones, as if they’re a tool to repair our broken emotions, we should be our own handy man. Fix ourselves when we’re broken. Catch ourselves when we fall. Give ourselves a pat in the back when we succeed our goals. 

When we anticipate that there is always someone to catch us when we fall, we tend to let ourselves fall without considering any safety precaution. Let your imagination run wild with me for a minute… Imagine you’re a stunt man/woman jumping from a high building, you know down below is a blown-up cusion waiting to catch you. You wouldn’t think too much about how you would land, because you know there’s a soft cusion waiting for your landing. Now, if you know you have to perform the same stunt, but this time there is no blown-up cusion waiting for you on the ground, you would damn well plan every single move you make because you know that there’s nothing down there to catch you, or else this could be your last stunt. That’s exactly how I see it when we’re relying on others for our emotional well-being.

If we condition ourselves to rely on others emotionally, it will become a never-ending cycle in our life. Your BFF slowly becoming your “Best Cusion”, as well as a “Handy Man/Woman”, and perhaps also a “Wizard”. Worst of all is that they don’t even know that you expect them to play these roles. Yet, you unconsciously anticipate them to give a perfect Oscar performance on demand. Therefore, it is wise to discover how to become self-reliant.

The Journey (AKA The REAL Work)

Below, I share some practical tips on how to become more self-reliant.

Get REAL With Yourself

I’m not gonna lie, it’s a real challenge in the beginning to become self-reliant. You MUST be brutally honest with yourself about your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Our ego hates confrontation with the ugly truth. It’s almost like you’re attacking yourself, so it’s natural to feel uncomfortable, or even a strong resistance during this process. Self-awareness is the key here. Therefore, try to be fully aware of your thoughts when they arise, carefully observe your feelings without any judgment, and pay close attention to your behaviors. If you watch carefully enough, you will find a pattern that you seem to follow. It could be the way you respond in certain situation, or an emotion that is triggered by certain behavior.

If you want to develop self-awareness, you may find this book interesting: ‘Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think’

Dig Deep

Digging deep and unpacking our emotions is really the core of this journey, so allow yourself time to explore. When a certain thought comes up, ask yourself “Where does it come from?”. For instance, whenever I experienced a certain feeling, I asked myself “What causes me to feel that way?”. When I behaved in a certain manner, I asked myself “What is it that influences my behavior?”.

Once I started asking questions, I kept coming up with more questions. It’s not easy to face the truth about ourselves, but we owe it to ourselves to try. I also want to point out that we all have good days and bad days, especially if you’re a female. Your mood of the day is going be naturally regulated by your hormone level during that time (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). The important thing is to notice the emotional pattern that keeps recurring regardless of your mood of the day. 

Be Kind, Be Gentle, Be Patient

After all, you are your own best-friend, so be gentle and aware your internal dialogue when you are trying to become self-reliant. We are conditioned to be kind and polite to other people from a very young age. However, we often neglect to do the same to ourselves. If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up and criticize yourself harshly. Instead, accept it as part of your journey, as a learning lesson. Everyone trips and falls at some point, what’s more important is that you’re able to pick yourself back up and continue on with your journey.

It’s best to approach this journey as a daily practice, there might be days that you’re able to religiously digging and discover tons of deep rooted junk, and there might be days that you can barely dust the dirt off the surface, and that is ok… Honestly, I have tons of days where I just couldn’t seem to get a hold of myself, my ego was having a joy ride for days, but I accepted it because what is more important here is the fact that I am aware of this. I take notes of the days I allow my ego to take the driver seat, and when I’m ready I will gently nudge it back to the passenger seat.

I can’t tell you how long this journey will take for you, as we’re all unique human beings with unique qualities and abilities. The real focus should be more about the progress you make during this journey, regardless of how long it takes. Don’t forget to pause every once in a while and appreciate the transition you’ve made. Then, you’ll realize that your best friend always got your back, no matter what. Good luck in your journey to become more self-reliant!

If you want to read more about the topic self-reliance, you may want to have a look at the book ‘Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly’.