By Sarah Jeanne Browne
If you feel like you are fighting for your life, surrender instead.
If you want to give up, surrender instead.
When is it ultimately time to surrender? When you most want to give up, want to run away, want to avoid. Because you are drained from trying to control outcomes that cannot be controlled. Because it is exhausting fighting reality.
Surrendering is a tool anyone can use no matter their belief system or philosophy. It means giving up control and going with the flow of life rather than fighting it. When you surrender, you accept situations that are happening enough so that you can do something about it. You release the need to have all the answers. And you choose to go on rather than stop.
Surrendering isn’t easy. You have to step into the person you are meant to be and leave the past behind. You have to allow yourself to grow through the circumstances given to you. You must let yourself navigate life letting uncertainty carry you, and be inspired by the mystery of life. You know that the answers aren’t always obvious. And surrendering helps you to see what’s been in front of you this whole time.
It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Surrendering is a process. It won’t be overnight that you think and feel differently. You have to give up all your fears, insecurities, and struggles and let in the bravery to live this life. You have to let go and say, “Even if I don’t see a way out, I will still find it. It’s not over yet.”
Life can be complicated. Many factors can lead to many different outcomes. We may think we know which way to go, then suddenly we are on a detour. We are walking a different road than we intended. When we surrender, we use what you have right here, right now. We take the time needed for things to come to fruition. However, you must focus on the step in front of you and not the staircase. Rise.
There Is Still Choice
No one is truly helpless. They can choose their attitude, as Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning says. He continues, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” They can release the need to prove anything to people and live with purpose instead. They can choose a better way than simply not moving forward. They can choose to surrender. They can decide that there is a reason to live even when it seems otherwise.
Surrender to the flow of life, welcoming what it has to give you. This could be peace, an insight, a new goal or direction, healing, happiness or hope. Even in the darkness, you can see because of the light. That light is what directs us to be who we are meant to be. It can be love, a purpose or finding inner peace. No matter what, do not give up just because you can’t see what options you have. You can always surrender, always choose to see what will happen next. Let curiosity push you to continue, if nothing else. Find the gratitude, find the gift of what you’ve overcome.
Transformation Is Possible
When you surrender, you are letting go. You are letting go of fears, failures, indecisions, losses, unhealthy attachments, uncertainty and negativity. You stop identifying AS those things. You are not the emotion of sadness itself, you are simply feeling and experiencing the emotion of sadness. This bad day isn’t all there is. This moment of indecision will be met with a new path.
A dead end may lead you to a detour.
A struggle may lead you to your strength.
A loss may lead you to a lesson.
A regret may lead you to redemption.
An obstacle may lead you to an opportunity.
There is so much good to be found in this world. You just have to look. When you look at how far you have come, you will see there is always more to achieve. You will make it now like you’ve made it before.
Visualize that you are at the very bottom of a mountain looking up. Instead of focusing on how far you have to climb, focus on the final feeling—what you will feel when you have achieved your goals. You are at the top of the mountain, and you can be there anytime you want. When you focus on the outcome you want, in meditation or simply by goal setting, you acknowledge it is possible. That is all anyone needs for them to transform.
When you surrender, some amazing things happen. You make a decision to keep going, even when you want to give up. And then you release all that is holding you back. Both of these can change a life. For example, you may have had a bad day. You may feel like there’s nowhere to turn. You may feel like you’re burned out and at your limit. You may feel like you have to keep fighting. Then, the moment you say, “I surrender” you start over. You stop feeling like you have to prove yourself anymore. You give up fighting constantly for things. You see a way through. You become clearer because you’re not focusing on everything at once. You choose to surrender because it lifts you above what is going on, so you can see everything. You can see the mole hills you were turning into mountains. You can see the direction you were going and if it leads to a dead end. You can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
When your perspective changes, you can find a sense of renewal. You aren’t those bad things that happened to you. You’re not the limiting thoughts you have. You are not the mistakes you have made. You are not unable to do this.
It’s always been with you—the ability to see things clearly. You merely had to look up.
Mindfulness—Living in the Now
You also develop mindfulness. You become completely in the present. You know that “now” is all we are promised. You see what tools you have to work with, and you finally exhale—realizing you have been holding your breath this whole time. You release tension in your muscles, doing a body scan. You ground yourself with your senses and see only the moment. You stop searching to find an answer to every problem, and instead, you start to live.
Surrender lets us soul search in a different way. We stop trying to compete, even with ourselves. We decide that right now is all that is important, all that will make a difference. We decide we’re not finished yet. When we have mindfulness, we open ourselves to what life is already providing. We are able to appreciate life. And when we appreciate life, we can do more with it. When we surrender, we free ourselves from worries, fears, failures and more. We stop looking at the past with regret or longing and stop looking at the future with anticipatory anxiety or distress. We live for the good we can do right now. And that’s enough.
Were you holding onto a promotion at work, gossip in your social gatherings, your image, your bank account, your achievements, your status, etc? Because if you were, you were looking past one thing that could change everything: Authenticity.
Surrendering Makes Us More Sincere
Walking a more authentic road is the outcome of Surrender. You start to realize what is at stake and what your real values are. You decide that you are worthwhile, and all the noise that pulls you in different directions becomes silence. You experience stillness. A clarity. An inner peace. An honesty that you did not have before.
Vulnerability changes and challenges you and those around you. You say to the world, “I am alive.” You are here. You no longer hide your heart. You honor it.
Know The Cost
Surrendering costs us only the illusion of control. We think we’re meant to be remembered for one thing, and instead, we start to see how we have sold out. We start to see how we have been used or misused. We start to see how some things matter and others do not. We stop the fight, we stop the charade, we stop thinking and starting meditating and allowing ourselves to have space in this world. Something has been making us think we have to be small. We think we have to choose to be less than our grandest version of ourselves. We think that if others hear our true voice, they won’t listen and the disappointment will be worse for it. But now, it is time to get loud and live large. Take up the space while you hold the space for yourself and others, showing compassionate attention along the way.
No More Judgments
No more telling yourself that you can’t do this because you were made to do this.
There are things you will have to let go. You will have to let go of barriers between you and your goals. You will have to let go of the need for others’ approval. You will have to let go of everything. Surrender completely. What do you really have to lose?
That’s why those who surrender win. When you do, it all comes together. You know how to surrender to find a sense of peace and drive, that things don’t always happen overnight, there is still choice even if it doesn’t seem like it, transformation is possible, perspectives can change, mindfulness is important, you can live authentically, and the cost of your choices.
That day you start to do this could be today. It could be right now. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, what you had to do to get here, how you have hurt or been hurt. Anyone can surrender, no matter who they are or where they have come from. All that matters is that as long as you are alive, another way, another chance is possible. And surrendering allows us that.
So, why not surrender? Giving up will only cost you much more, and you will never see the impact you have had and will continue to have. Your life matters. Surrendering allows us to lead a life that is without limits. You can be limitless.
Life is a gift. You will look back and be thankful that you never gave up. You will know how much you can do the moment that you surrender and start over. You can drop the act. You can stop with the toxic positivity—putting on a mask of positivity for all to see when you are really hurting inside. You can become the best version of yourself by accepting yourself totally. Love yourself. That’s the core message of surrendering. You are loving yourself by giving yourself another chance. What are you waiting for?
Sarah Jeanne Browne is a speaker, writer and activist who has been published on Lifehack, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and more. See @sarahjbrowne.