How would a person benefit from being self-reliant?

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skolrgipsy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Self-reliance, like almost any personal or societal concept, carries with it a raft of both positive and negative attributes. In the United States, self-reliance has been the dominant theme since the beginnings of the nation, as the first settlers were forced, by the mere need to survive, to be self-reliant.

As the earliest settlers were setting foot on utterly unfamiliar territory and were uncertain of what type of human presence they might encounter, they had to quickly rely on their own skills at providing themselves shelter, food, and virtually every other necessity to survive. Though they received some help from people native to the lands they encroached on, the focus of their survival was self-reliance.

Likewise, as they established colonies in the New World and began to expand westward, they were confronted with similar conditions, encountering unfamiliar lands and native populations not eager to share their homelands.

Even today, Americans are often encouraged to "Go it alone," to not rely on others, to "blaze one's own path." Nations are at times encouraged to be self-reliant, to not depend as much on international trade or relations but to attempt, to the best of their ability, to supply their own needs.