Ultimately, we come to self-reliance by forgetting ourselves. It’s the kind of self-trust many new parents feel because they finally have this thing outside themselves that matters much more than themselves. We can access it by caring about anything properly (a project, a movement, an idea, a person, etc.).
Milton Mayeroff describes this dynamic in On Caring:
“Direction that comes from the growth of the other should not be confused with being ‘other directed,’ where this refers to the kind of conformity in which I lose touch with both myself and the other. Rather, by following the growth of the other, I am more responsive to myself, just as the musician is more in touch with himself when he is absorbed in the needs of the music.”
Ironically, no matter how physically self-reliant we become, if we never truly care for something outside of ourselves we’ll never become self-reliant.
What do you care most about? As in, what do you give yourself to most freely? How could you care for it a little more perfectly? How does caring for this thing outside yourself actually help you trust yourself more?Continue reading