"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Self-reliance creates individuality through believing in one's self and defending those beliefs. The ability of one to be a non-conformist and make choices on their own, brings into being individuality. An individual realizes the importance of the decisions they make, and how those decisions will effect themselves, as well as others. Individuality is something many people are afraid of, but in actuality, is a path to self-discovery and concern for the well being of one's self and the lives the come in contact with. Self-reliance creates one's individuality through proving their beliefs to the world by trusting their own judgement resources and abilities, whether right or wrong.
"Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. -'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' -Is it so bad then to be misunderstood" This concept viewed by Ralph Waldo Emerson makes the point that self-reliance is the basis of a true individual. What is even more important than proving one's worth to the world, is proving that same worth to themselves. An individual is someone who does not conform to the opinions of others. Referring to the previous quote, not being afraid to be misunderstood is a key component of the individual.
One is confident with their identity, and is not afraid to do things in fear their peers may reject them. An individual does not take part in acting a certain way, when around a group of people in order to fit in. While not changing according to others beliefs, an individual can learn from other people. As an individual, one has respect for the individuality of others as well, and may use their ideas to better understand them. The individual is conscious of the decisions they make, and is aware of the how their choices will effect their life. The individual is usually highly concerned with the outcome of their own life, and realizes that the judgments they make will have a profound effect upon it.
This forces them to focus more on everything that they do, in order to maintain a self-sufficient life. These decisions though usually concerning themselves, will also effect the lives of others, and therefore must be looked upon in regard to the well being of others as well. This is done not to impress others with kindness, but as a mutual respect to the individuality of all people. An individual is who they are, for better or for worse. They express themselves using self-reliance in dealing with other people, misunderstood or not.