1 Jul 2016

5 Things to Stop Doing If You Want to Develop Your Self-Reliance

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Stop worrying about what others think of you

As David Foster Wallace put it; ‘You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” Most of the time others aren’t focussing on you – or if they are, it’s because they’re measuring themselves against you and using that measure to inflate their self-esteem – or deflate it – depending on how they really see themselves. The point is that you’re not in the centre of their screen – you’re rarely even in the background.

Stop responding to the pressure to conform

If you’re living according to rules made by someone else then you’ll never be in control of your destiny. It’s up to you to identify what’s important to you in enjoying and advancing your life, and focus only on that. You get to choose whether to dance to someone else’s tune, or start listening to your own inner whisper.

Stop feeling responsible for how others feel

If you persist in taking responsibility for how others feel then you are denying them the gift of self-reliance. You may feel that doing so is kind or compassionate but ultimately it is selfish – it satisfies your need to be needed, whilst disempowering those you care about.

Stop responding to criticism automatically

If when you hear criticism your default reaction is to believe it, then you are giving away your power. Think of feedback as a gift – listen, assess and reflect. If what you hear does not resonate at all, drop it. If there’s something there that you can learn from, take heed of that part and drop the rest. Feedback is inevitably infected with the giver’s intention and sense of security. It is seldom objective. To be useful in your growth, you have to see its’ truth for yourself before you are able to authentically act on it.

Stop doing what you think you should (rather than what feels right)

We all have our own rulebook containing directives about how others ‘should’ behave. The trouble is that that rulebook is invisible to everyone else. That rulebook is also influenced by external factors like social pressure, culture, upbringing and so on. I’m suggesting that you throw out the rulebook, and use something far more useful as a guide to making important decisions about your life. When you become clear about your core values and the contribution that you want to make to your own life and the lives of others, then that can be the checklist against which you assess every decision you want to make in life.

What are you going to stop doing today?

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