The Practical Prepper
As you celebrate our nation's independence this July 4th, it's worth pausing to reflect on your own independence too. Said another way, our personal independence is simply how self-reliant we are. Each of us can assess our overall independence by measuring the level of self-reliance and personal responsibility we've assumed for our physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and economic needs.
When we are self-reliant, we are better able to take care of ourselves and our family. Our self-reliance prepares us to handle a greater amount of hardship without becoming dependent on others. We can become self-reliant by:
- Shepherding our mind: we need to take advantage of all educational opportunities that we can handle in a reasonable way. Reading is an excellent way to educate ourselves and build our ability to think critically. However, like food, we should limit the amount of "junk" reading we do. There's nothing wrong with some "light" or "casual" reading, but we all need books with some substance to build our mind. In addition to reading, exercising your mind in other ways is useful too. For instance, try word or logic puzzles to keep your mind sharp and able to focus.
- Maintaining our body: practicing sound principles of nutrition, exercise, and hygiene will help keep our bodies functioning optimally. Eating healthy foods and moderating our intake of alcohol and other unnecessary substances is ideal. We can avoid disease by keeping our bodies and homes clean. We should get proper rest, and we should exercise regularly, according to our needs and limitations. The more we keep our bodies healthy, the better we are able to care for our own needs and help others.
- Developing spiritual and emotional strength: Spiritual strength is all about feeling connected and balanced on a deeper level, which gives your life has meaning and purpose. This is typically fostered by following some regular spiritual practice, be it religion and prayer, or self-guided meditation or visualization. Emotional strength relates to how you handle the stresses in life, i.e., your resiliency and flexibility. Emotional strength is usually built on a strong foundation of loving and respecting yourself. Building emotional strength often simply takes practice; positive self-affirmations are helpful, and growing in your spirituality will usually enhance your emotional resilience and stability.
- Growing our skills: This is applicable on two fronts. First, we need to learn the knowledge and proficiencies needed for our desired career path. What's more, having other related, applicable skills can make you more valuable to employers (or clients if you're self employed). Aside from professional skills, learning practical hobbies and recreational skills can give you the ability to do more for yourself.
- Increasing our household preparedness: At the most basic level, this involves storing a supply of food, water, and other supplies against times of disaster and need. This type of preparedness is what a great many posts in this blog are about, and don't need to be covered more here.
- Managing our personal finances: Learning how to live within our income is the best way to become financially self-reliant. It also requires setting up and managing a working budget, making (and planning for) practical financial goals, and avoiding debt. In addition, wise management of our income includes buying food and other essential items when they are least expensive, avoiding waste, and developing a savings fund to provide for emergency financial needs.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is! In order to become self-reliant, we must be willing to work, and do so diligently.
What's more, we parents have the responsibility to teach our children these basic principles. In that way, we help them develop their own self-reliance and provide for their own families in the future.
In closing, it's important to remember that "no man is an island" as you read this post. We are responsible for developing our personal independence. However, that is just the starting point.
If we are ever unable to temporarily meet our basic needs on our own, we can ideally turn to family members, close friends, our church, etc., for support and assistance. However, the primary responsibility for our social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and economic well-being lies first with ourselves.
Believing that preparedness and self-reliance are key to individual freedom, Atticus Freeman is the founder of the Self-Reliant Info blog, in addition to authoring The Practical Prepper weekly blog here on Farm Dreams. Thanks for reading!