Whenever I think about self-reliance, a phrase from my mission president comes to mind: “Skin your own skunks.” Yes, it’s an odd statement, but there’s a lot of truth in the idea that there are hard things in our lives that we can’t ask others to face for us.
So how do we “skin our own skunks” in regards to emotional self-reliance? How do we handle disappointments and learn to cope with all our emotions?
Thankfully, we aren’t left in the dark—resources abound. We can find a few of these in “14 Ways to Get Your Emotional Health Back on Track.” More importantly, we can simplify life as we keep the commandments (see page 42).
Learning to respond to everything life throws at us is a process. Being emotionally self-reliant doesn’t mean we’ll always feel the way we want to. It means that, through the grace of Jesus Christ and our own efforts, we’ll be able to manage emotions in healthy and productive ways. President M. Russell Ballard gives us some practical advice for achieving this balance (see page 46).
As we strive for emotional self-reliance, we might feel like a weak little sparrow (see page 44), but as we put in the effort and partner with Heavenly Father, we can be confident that one day we will “mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), which is a fancy way of saying we’ll have the strength to skin our own skunks.
All the best,
Heather J. Johnson