April 22

Today's quotation:

Claiming self-reliance represents one of the most significant turning points in a human being’s evolution.  It signals the crucial shift from dependence on outer authority to reliance on inner knowing.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy

Today's Meditation:

One of the things that took me a very long time to learn in life is that other people are very often wrong, lazy, or just plain silly.  As a teacher, there are certain accepted ways that things "should be done."  It took me a while to learn, though, that most of those ways simply aren't effective in helping students to learn.  They may make the teacher's life easier, but they certainly don't make for better teaching.  In the Army, we often got orders to do dumb things--but they were orders, so we had to do them.

I now trust myself, and when I do look outside myself for advice or instruction, I'm very careful to look at what I receive critically.  I want to be self-reliant, but I also want to be good at what I do.  When I have a relationship issue, I usually know what's wrong (though I may not want to admit it, because it may be me), and if I'm honest with myself and willing to take a risk, I can deal with the issue effectively.  If I were to rely on an outer authority, such as a counselor or a friend or family member, the solution will not be authentic to me--it will be someone else's fix.  A good counselor, after all, helps us to find our own answers rather than telling us what we should do.

If I constantly submit to the authority of others, then there's little chance that I'm going to live a truly authentic life.  If I always do "what I'm told," then I'm not going to make decisions on my own that will guide me in directions that are best for me--I'll be moving in directions that are best or most convenient for other people.  I need to be self-reliant if I'm going to be able to lead an authentic life and become the person I was truly meant to be.

It's tempting to let others make the decisions and guide us along in our lives.  In some situations, it's even "normal" for us to do so--parents guide children, and some people--especially women--are expected to let their husbands make the truly important decisions for the family.  Sometimes that's fine, but there will come a day when we know that if we want to be authentically ourselves, it's important that we start to rely on ourselves to make the decisions and take the actions that will guide our own lives.

Questions to consider:

Why are so many of us satisfied to be reliant on others to make the most important decisions for us?

What are some of the important benefits of developing and practicing self-reliance?

How might we start the process of becoming more self-reliant?

For further thought:

Humility is the part of wisdom, and is most becoming in people.  But let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the rest, the greatest quality of true human strength.

Louis Kossuth
  

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