Self-reliance is a quality of depending on yourself for things instead of relying on others. You might decide to prove your self-reliance by hiking the Appalachian Train on your own.
When people have self-reliance, they are independent and autonomous — in other words, they take care of themselves. Some of us develop self-reliance as children, when we start to prepare food for ourselves, take the bus alone, or in other ways exert our independence. The philosopher John Stuart Mill is credited with the first use of self-reliance, in an 1883 letter in which he described it as one important quality of "a free man."