Self-help is the doing of one’s own work by oneself and depending entirely upon one’s own powers for the performance of any act, without turning to others for help in the matter. Men have been endowed with strength and intelligence by God and it is in the fitness of things that we should turn these things to good account and utilize them for doing things independently of others. It is a common saying that God helps those who help themselves, and so it we do not exert ourselves we cannot receive any help from God in tiding over our difficulties.
Self-help is one of the highest virtues and upon this depends on much of national and individual greatness. The practice of this virtue creates confidence in our own selves and increases our strength, so that. by cultivating this virtue, we can hold our own against all odds. With the increase of mental strength also increases the strength of character, and all these have far-reaching effects. Not only are persons possessing this virtue benefitted them-selves, but they inspire others with confidence, so that the latter place implicit faith in them and turn to them for guidance in times of distress. Next. self-help begets self-respect and independence. Unless a person is self-reliant and knows how shameful it is to look up to others for help in every matter, or the delight of doing things by dint of his own powers, he cannot have any sense of self-respect or the worth of independence.
On account of the importance of this virtue. we should try to cultivate this from our very childhood. for once the habit of relying upon others for doing things which we can do ourselves is formed, it is difficult to shake it off. In all departments, whether in the matter of food and clothing, or in studies, or in play, children should not be given more help than they require and should be made to develop habits of self-help, without which they will never be able to prosper in the world.
Whatever we earn by our own exertions, however little it might be, is sweet. A man who depends for his living upon another cannot derive as much joy as one who secures it by his own labour. Dependence is nothing but a curse and one who has to live upon the charity of others is lost to all sense of self-respect and becomes a cripple.
If the help which he had so long been getting is with-drawn, the man breaks down and cannot proceed a single step further. The tendency of always relying upon others prevents the latent virtues in a man from displaying themselves and thus a man, who might, if he so willed, have become a useful member of society, turns to be a shameless dependant. If the absence of self-help in individuals is bad, the same defect in a whole nation is much more dangerous. Further, the man who is not in the habit of relying upon his own self has to be at the mercy of others who do his work and so he has the misfortune of seeing his work never done to his satisfaction.