If you consistently ask someone to fix your problems for you, you don’t gain experience, they do. Learn how to be more self-sufficient. By doing so, you can change your approach to so many aspects of your life.
This article is about becoming more independent. It is about being able to fend for yourself in order to provide for yourself, without relying on other people.
It is not a guide to satisfying basic needs by explaining that you should avoid over consumption, save money, cook your own food and grow it or source it locally if possible. Those things, although important, can’t happen until you make some crucial changes to your mindset, sometimes referred to as a mindset shift.
Being able to support yourself, not only financially but also socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically, is something a lot of people take for granted. Doing things for yourself, instead of relying on others, will give you the sense of control you’re probably lacking. We tend to give up when we lack discipline.
Although it might seem easier to delegate a task than to do it ourselves, remember that by attempting the task at hand, you might actually learn something.
There are two things that might be holding you back.
- Your sense of entitlement.
- Your ego.
What is a sense of entitlement?
Your sense of entitlement, is something people very rarely recognise in themselves. It is a personality trait that exists in many forms. If you can relate to any of the examples below, then you might be dealing with an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
- You feel the need to be recognized or acknowledged for work that was done not by you but for you, by someone else.
- You are aggressive or self-pitying when you are frustrated, you lash out at others rather than looking inwards, you fail to see your own faults.
- You feel as though organizations or individuals owe you something, even though you have contributed nothing.
- You insult other people’s achievements and put them down. You try to dim their light in order to make yours shine brighter.
- You feel like you’re an important person and you don’t tend to understand what other people need or want, you are self-centred.
- You don’t accept other people as your equals, instead you view and describe yourself as an alpha personality. You consider others to be lesser than you.
- You feel as though you deserve certain kinds of privileges, without really understanding or caring about how they may affect those around you.
- You are not self-sufficient, if those who you rely on were to stop helping you, you wouldn’t be able to continue living your life in the same way.
If someone close to you (such as a colleague, family member or friend) has told you that you’re entitled or spoiled, understand that they’re trying to let you know so that you can become a better person. It’s unlikely they want to hurt you.
Perhaps it’s also worth mentioning that there are healthy and unhealthy senses of entitlement. if you’re disabled and you rely on individuals or organizations for various things in order to function, your sense of entitlement is warranted. However, if you purposefully use your disability to get people to do things for you that you could do for yourself, that’s very different, it is an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
An unhealthy sense of entitlement can start in childhood and is often caused by bad parenting. Giving your child everything they want without them having to do anything can lead them to believe this behaviour is normal as they grow up. If a child doesn’t do chores, don’t give them pocket money.
Of course, as with disabilities, some forms of mental illness can cause a sense of entitlement, in which case this personality trait might not be the fault of the individual or something that can easily be changed through mindset work.
Narcissistic, borderline or antisocial personality disorders can cause people to be less self-sufficient, usually due to an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
If you know that you’re likely being held back by your sense of entitlement and you’re not suffering from a personality disorder, it’s not too late. There are several ways you can combat this.
- Start comparing yourself to who you were yesterday and stop comparing yourself to others. Accomplishing something on your own without worrying about what other people think is a step in the right direction when it comes to being more self-sufficient.
- Discipline yourself in order to be more self-sufficient, think carefully about small changes you can make to help you move forward, to help you rely less on others, to overcome your unhealthy sense of entitlement.
- Learning that rewards should be earned is a key part to becoming more self-sufficient. If you put zero effort into something, why should you be rewarded for your lack of effort? It simply doesn’t make sense.
- It can also be useful to do things because they’re the right thing to do, not because you’ll be rewarded for doing those things. Volunteering is a great way to start, once you’ve genuinely contributed to something, you’ll be rewarded with another person’s gratitude.
- Avoid playing the victim where possible. It might be difficult for you to recognise that you’re doing this but it’s something that might help. Take responsibility for your own actions and stop feeling powerless. People who feel powerless tend to manipulate others in an attempt to get what they want.
The second example of something that might be holding you back on your journey to being self-sufficient is your ego. Much like your sense of entitlement, it can be hard to recognize that your ego is an issue until someone tells you.
What is an ego?
Your ego is your sense of self, it’s who you are. If your ego is the issue, then you are the issue. If your ego is the only thing holding you back, it means that you are the only thing holding you back.
An inflated ego tends to go hand in hand with an unhealthy sense of entitlement or an exaggerated sense of importance. It removes your ability to interpret what is or is not true, it can cause a person to be incredibly defensive. People with inflated egos tend to take things very personally and are blind to their own personal issues.
If you feel as though you or someone you know might be dealing with an inflated ego and you’d like to change that in order to become more self-sufficient, keep reading.
- Your use of language matters, if you remove negative words such as ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary, you’ll find it easier to get things done. Rather than thinking ‘I don’t know how to do this.’ try ‘I’ll learn how to do this.’
- Let go. Forgive the people who have hurt you and let go of the things you can’t control. Accept things for what they are and move forward. Similarly to dealing with an unhealthy sense of entitlement, this is the point where you stop comparing yourself to other people.
- Improving yourself should be done without the external influences of people that don’t care about you. In order to be more authentic, to be more self-sufficient, you need to learn how to look after yourself. Stop making excuses and taking shortcuts. Exercise more, make healthier food choices and don’t get cosmetic surgery to look like an Instagram filter etc.
- Think about everything you’re grateful for and acknowledge those things daily. Write them down if it helps you. Understand that there are other people struggling too and although your feelings are still valid, it could be worse.
- Be more honest. People might not like it but that’s fine, you don’t need everyone to like you. It’s better to be open about issues than to pretend they don’t exist. People who pretend problems don’t exist are part of the problem.
- Understand that boredom doesn’t really exist, you don’t need to constantly be doing something productive. Sitting quietly with your thoughts or walking around outside is enough (if you can). Remember that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. If you keep yourself company, you’ll never be bored.
You’re not perfect, none of us are. Look inside yourself and recognise that if you’re experiencing low self-esteem, it might be that you’re relying too much on other people. If you feel as though you need someone else to provide for you but you give them nothing in return, it can make you feel bad about yourself, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Try writing a list of all the things you can do. Then, write a list of the things you’d like to do. The one rule is that everything on the list has to be completed by you, you can’t rope in other people to help you when you give up or change your mind.
Bucket lists are a good way of making things happen. They don’t need to be extreme. You could add ‘Learn how to bake a good cake.’ or ‘Try to do more indoor gardening.’ to the list. Even if you don’t end up doing those things, you’ve started to think more positively about what you could do, if you were to put in the effort.
Life is about compromise and most of the time, it isn’t fair. A big part of being self-sufficient is your ability to compromise and acknowledge your awareness of the difficulties you may have to face. Take risks and get on with what you need to do.
Do you feel as though you’re self-sufficient? If not, do you know what you need to do to make some necessary changes in your life? Do you let your ego control you? Do you have an unhealthy sense of entitlement? Let me know!