Self-Reliance - Essay Example

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Self-reliance, as Emerson states it, is the ability of an individual to be free from the external influence so that he/she is able to pursue the goals internally set by the individual. Every human being is born with a unique personality and nature. However, not many people are…
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Self-reliance Self-reliance, as Emerson s it, is the ability of an individual to be free from the external influence so that he/she is able to pursue the goals internally set by the individual. Every human being is born with a unique personality and nature. However, not many people are able to bring the best out of them because they get into a race of success and achievement of goals that are deemed valuable by the society. An individual can only achieve his/her personal legend by analyzing what he/she wants and valuing that more than the expectations of the society.
Conformity, consistency, and regret are three of the barriers to self-reliance (“Self-Reliance”). People tend to conform to societal expectations and in an attempt of doing so, lose track of their personal goals and desires. Consistency is stated as a barrier to self-reliance because it deprives an individual of the opportunity to experience new things in life, challenge the beliefs inculcated into him/her by others which is required to make informed decisions, and develop more skills. Consistency is repetition and it is a barrier to creativity and innovation, hence also a barrier to self-reliance. Regret is a barrier to self-reliance because it is regressive in effect and does not make any valuable contribution to an individual’s life. It is good to regret but only to the extent that the individual realizes where he/she has done the mistake so that it can be corrected in the future. Regretting about things that the individual cannot do anything about is not productive.
I can relate to Emerson’s viewpoint on the barriers to self-reliance. I love meat but in an attempt to conform to the expectations of most members of my family who are true vegetarians and consider it ethically unjustified to eat meat, I have remained a vegetarian going against my nature for a long time. I do physical workout quite often. I have noticed that I need to keep changing the ways I do physical workout in order to maintain my interest in the exercise. The same kind of exercise done repeatedly becomes boring. Likewise, consistency in anything creates the room for boredom. My grandfather died a few years ago. I often regret not having spent much time talking to him while he was alive. This regret and realization has made me more caring and loving toward the elderly. I have used my regret in a constructive way to achieve self-reliance rather than letting it become a barrier to that.
Steps I can take to achieve self-reliance include taking measures to remove the barriers to self-reliance. This could mean placing confidence in my own ideas, trying new things in life, and develop immunity to the sufferings I have no control over. A self-reliant life today might not look the best to the outsiders, but it is satisfying emotionally and spiritually for the individual living it. I agree to the ideas of Emerson. However, consistency in good things like praying or exercising regularly should never be abandoned. The attempts to achieve self-reliance should be positive and constructive.
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“Self-Reliance.” 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. . Read More
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