This tenet is one of my favorites from Michael Arloski’s Ten Tenets of Wellness. From an early age, we strive to become self-sufficient, first learning to walk, then run. As adolescents and young adults, we strive to forge our own identities and learn how to become independent.
So what does the Seventh Tenet – From Self-Sufficiency Comes Confidence, mean to you today, as an adult? By now, you have already likely mastered learning to support yourself, and are independent and out in the world, either working at a job or as an entrepreneur.
In our modern world, where we are dependent on our cars to get us where we want to go, on smartphones to connect to the world, computers that allow us to work anywhere, climate controlled houses and offices that keep us comfortable, and on electricity itself to keep everything running, we may not be as self-sufficient as we like to think. Just let the power go out for an hour or two!
Even if we haven’t been directly affected by the any of the natural disasters that have plagued the planet lately, we’ve watched others who have had to cope with hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes and wildfires. What would you do if you suddenly found yourself without shelter or food or clean water?
The Seventh Tenet tells us that when we cultivate increased self-sufficiency, we gain confidence and power that will overshadow fear. He tells of the Australian Aboriginal people that believe that if you cannot just walk out onto the land and adequately feed, clothe and shelter yourself, a deep, primal fear will grip your soul. Ok, must of us likely won’t find ourselves in that situation, but you get the idea. It’s about the confidence that comes when we cultivate self-sufficiency and independence. We know we can take care of business if we have to.
Consciously choosing to cultivate skills – learning to grow some of your own food, bake bread from scratch, going hiking in the wilderness, even learning to do some mechanical tasks like changing the oil in your car or fixing a flat tire on your bike – mastering skills such as these, will give you confidence and power that will carry over into other areas of your life.
I’m not recommending you go to survival school or a Navy Seal style boot camp to take advantage of the lessons this tenet offers. Choose something that’s learnable but out of your comfort zone, something that preferably reconnects you to the natural world. Perhaps it’s completing a ropes course high in the trees, starting a vegetable garden, or pitching a tent, even if it’s in your own backyard, and spending a night under the stars.
Try it out. Challenge yourself. Pick something and commit to it. As Dr. Arloski says, “Recognizing our interconnectedness, we grow tremendously when we can care for ourselves on many different levels…We need to learn these skills and teach them to others, especially our children.” More self-confidence and self-respect will surely follow.