Here's an interesting article I came across a couple weeks ago: "Self-Reliance Is The Secret Sauce To Consistent Happiness" (warning, some bad language scattered throughout).
The author, a Dutch productivity specialist by the name of Darius Foroux, points out how society hasn't changed much over the course of history in that "And one of those problems is that we are needy. VERY needy. Why is that a problem? Without self-reliance, you can never be consistently happy. And even though the purpose of life is not happiness in my opinion, being happy is still something that’s important to us. Happiness determines the quality of your life. No one wants to live a [expletive deleted] life."
Foroux seems to define "self-reliance" as emotional health: the confidence of not needing the approval of others. He writes:
"Let’s look at how self-reliant you are.
• Do you expect your romantic partner to make you happy?
• Do you think your friends should always be there for you?
• Do you expect that your boss will always give you money?
• Do you say people are stupid when they don’t buy your products or services?
• Do you find it difficult to be alone?
• Do you feel like a nobody when people ignore you at work?
• Do you feel hurt when someone doesn’t invite you to a birthday or any other social event?
In life, we always turn outwardly for everything: Happiness, advice, affection, love, approval. We ask experts for advice. We use drugs when we’re in pain. We expect others to solve our problems. ... Being part of society is great and all. But never take it too far. ... It’s one of the paradoxes in life. We want to be liked and loved by the ones we care about. But the moment we lose ourselves and our identity, we can no longer be the person we want to be. When you’re needy, you only damage your relationships in the long-term."
Foroux urges this emotional self-reliance "because when you’re self-reliant, you can enrich the lives of the people around you much more."
I couldn't help but compare the emotional self-reliance this writer discusses with the homesteading self-reliance quest Don and I embarked on so many years ago. In this regard, Foroux is correct: self-reliance is the secret to happiness. We can't imagine living any other kind of life.