For someone who has spent a lot of time fighting for a more positive, fulfilled life and committing to never give up on attaining mental freedom, surrendering wouldn’t have come up as a word I ever particularly resonated with. It didn’t ooze the strength and tenacity that I wanted to exude; my mind equated it with weakness and would stubbornly avoid that idea of it.
Which is somewhat helpful when there’s a goal to reach and of course, I still wouldn’t be an advocate of quitting or giving up the good fight. However I’ve now learned to look at surrendering differently, in a way that I believe is actually key to moving forward and ensuring continued freedom and contentment.
It was when I heard an affirmation about surrendering control in a guided meditation recently that I really connected with the whole idea of surrender. It just made me smile, it made so much sense and brought with it such a relief; permission to completely let go of control.
Surrendering is relinquishing resistance. It is the act of truly letting go and accepting. It actually opens up the potential for positive change to flow. Working on ourselves is a wonderfully worthy pursuit but along the way, there is a need to surrender to the journey too – to take a break from paving the path and just see where the trail leads.
I’ve realised the importance of surrender and these are my thoughts on why it’s essential to remember to wave that white flag now and then:
Swapping Control for Contentment
When we surrender to what is, we let go of the compulsion of control. I’ve found that in learning so much about living a positive life, I sometimes try to bypass negative experiences, more earnest for answers than acceptance. Knowing that there is so much information out there can lead us away from where we are, immediately looking to control the situation and how we feel about it.
Surrendering allows us avoid that splurge of spiritual materialism and instead, feel, listen and be. When life speaks, control is thinking of what it’s going to reply instead of simply listening. If we surrender control and choose to accept, we give ourselves a different experience. We get to just be instead of figuring out what to do. And as human beings, not human doings, that’s a necessary experience to give ourselves. Contentment comes when we can fully accept where we’re at and develop our own learnings from life’s lessons.
Creating Peace in the Present
We gain significant inner peace when we surrender to the process of change. Without the affinity to control, our mind is freed up to be peacefully present. We let go of fear, worries and expectations and replace them with mental space and the opportunity for clarity.
Peace of mind cannot exist when there’s a relentless resistance to what is. Fighting with our minds and focusing on how we should be and what we must work on, is so very exhausting. Surrendering to the present moment invites us to let go of past and future thinking and just be fully where we are in the moment that we’re in. It relieves us the weight of overthinking and presents the potential for insight to ignite.
Peace is created by surrendering in the same way that the dirt in dirty water settles when we stop stirring it.
Strengthening Trust and Patience
Surrendering to the ebbs and flows of life builds our ability to trust in the process, to cultivate patience and learn to enjoy the journeys that we are on. When we choose to give up our need to have everything worked out now, we are given the chance to harness trust in our own capabilities, resilience and power. Solid foundations of trust about where we’re going and how we’ll get there can be built. The act of surrender bolsters our belief in both ourselves and the process of personal growth. It also encourages us to value patience – something that took me some time!
When we stop fighting how long it’s taking, how we think we should be doing or where we think we’re falling short – we get to actually breathe and release the pressure, we get to cement our self-belief and understand that these things take time.
Embracing Humanity and Limitations
When we surrender our perfectionism, our need to be seen as strong, our desire to make everything better – we allow ourselves the beautiful, inimitable experience of being human. We’re imperfect, we’re emotional, we’re not supposed to know it all or have it all figured out. And when we keep fighting our own humanity, we will always lose.
Surrendering to the fact that we are human, I can say from experience, can be quite challenging. It means being vulnerable and accepting the fact that we will make mistakes (the same ones multiple times too), we will get upset, we will do things we wish we didn’t. We can’t do it all, we can’t know it all and what a fantastic realisation that is, because the sooner we accept our limitations, the sooner we can embrace working with what we’ve got and actually begin to get somewhere.
By surrendering to the messy, colourful, unpredictable experience of being human, our compassion grows, our self-acceptance thrives and we become kinder, more loving and more unapologetically authentic, which is a beautifully freeing way to be.
‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be’ - Lao Tzu.
About Yvonne Doherty
25 year old Yvonne hails from Ireland but is currently exploring what life in the southern hemisphere has to offer. Having travelled through her own journey towards freedom and happiness, she now wants to share ideas on positive mental health, daring to live whole happy lives and overcoming anything that gets in the way of that. You can find more of these ideas in blog and poetry form over at daretolivesos.com and @daretolivesos on social media.