In the past several years, my family has been taking as many steps forward as possible when it comes to self-reliance. This is the one skill that will come in handy in every single imaginable crisis.
Other than not having an existence on this planet anymore, knowing how to rely on yourself and your skills will take you far when something goes wrong. Learning, researching, and reading are all great ways to boost your knowledge about self-reliance, but I’ve found that the only way to improve, is to just do it. Jump in with two feet!
All of our properties, homes, climates, and family structures are different, so there is no one size fits all plan that I could give you and everyone would have immediate success with. Unfortunately, trial and error are how we became more self-reliant. Our first garden on this property was an abject failure. I mean that with love and gratitude, however, because we learned what we had done wrong and how to correct it for future plantings. Our second garden was almost ruined because of a late frost in mid-June, however, once again, we were were grateful for that experience because we were able to scrounge up parts and build an almost free greenhouse from items we already had on hand. (It’s a collapsed horse shelter that didn’t survive the first snow here. We salvaged the metal and turned it into a greenhouse since we do not have horses.)
We took a chance with ducklings too. Not only were they a $2.50 impulse buy as pets for the kids, we knew literally nothing about when kind of care they needed. We got a heat lamp, some wood shavings, and poultry waterer and started from there. Here is an article on how we began caring for ducks.
The point I’m trying to make is that we are all human and we are all going to make mistakes, but that’s how we learn and grow. If you never try, you can’t fail, and that’s a part of the human psyche that leaves people stuck dependent on a system and when that system fails, so does their ability to do anything about it.
If there has ever been a time to take a risk and learn the vital skill of self-reliance, it’s now. Imagine how comforted you will feel knowing you have a cold cellar full of good, healthy food that will last months. When the grocery store shelves are empty, imagine how good you will feel knowing you can hunt and butcher an animal on your own. You’ll be fearless if the electricity goes out because you know how to make a fire for heat and to cook food on.
Self-reliance is depending on yourself as much as possible so you can survive anything. You are not at the whims of anyone else. A great resource has been The Prepper’s Blueprint written by Tess Pennington. I’ve found such valuable information in this book, that I can’t imagine being without it. While I suggest jumping in with two cold feet, I also think using resources is helpful. I have also been loving the book The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way. I plan to upgrade my book collection soon to with more on foreign and gardening. Information is going to help you more than you could ever imagine once you start the journey toward self-reliance.
The best advice I can give to anyone just beginning is to be grateful for your failures. Without them, you wouldn’t know which changes to make and how to improve. Be grateful for your successes too! Those will show you that you can do this and you take the first steps to acquire a skill few possess, but that is going to be vital when things finally unravel in a way that’s completely out of your control. But, being prepared and self-reliant gives you a sense of freedom that I honestly cannot describe in the English words in my vocabulary. That free feeling has been worth the years of planning, trying, failing, retrying, stocking, preparing, and trying some more.
Start today! If you’ve always wanted a garden, start one! If you’ve always wanted chickens, get some! If you’ve always wanted to live off the grid, take the steps necessary to do it! Start by practicing today. There is no point in waiting around to see if things get better because even if they do, a crisis could strike at any time. If that happens, the fact that you’re already self-reliant can go days without electricity, or months without going to the grocery store will be of comfort to you.
This takes discipline and personal responsibility though. No one can do this for you. You will need to rely on yourself and use your failures as tools for improvement. Once you can get past the initial barrier that stands in our way (fear of failure) self-reliance comes easy, almost like we were meant to be doing this from start.