How to use the power of surrender to move past worry and conflict, and even enhance your ability to attract what you actually want.
At some point, all of us have experienced a time when we were plagued with worry, overthinking, and stress. To a point where it overcomes your thoughts throughout the day, changes your mood, and even keeps you up at night. Whether it’s related to your job, finances, relationships, age, health, family — whatever the case may be, there is a very specific tool that every successful person keeps in their back pocket. The art of surrender.
What is surrender?
Now, when I say “surrender” I don’t mean it in the ‘waving the white flag’ sense. To surrender is not about giving up, and more so about releasing the need to control a situation. When we hold on to the abstract elements (emotions, relationships, dynamics — things we can feel but can’t touch or see) of our lives too forcefully, and when we demand to be in control, we limit ourselves and the possibilities that are available to us.
The need to control is to restrict the power of a force far greater than ourselves.
Call it the Universe, vibes, energy, God, faith — whatever feels aligned for you, but in order to successfully practice the art of surrender, you must acknowledge that there are elements of this world and our experiences that we can not see, touch, or fully explain. An energy that is co-creating with us in the making of our lives, and when we can address it, we can then lean into it and allow it to aid us in living our most successful, vibrant human experience.
When we try to control things like how people think of us, how other people feel, other people’s decisions, and other similar dynamics it is as if we are gripping that energy in the ball of our fist. When you physically look at your hand in that position you can see that there is little to no room for change or flow. The dynamic can only exist the way you have decided. The problem lies that we then restrict possibility, the opportunity for growth, and more importantly, the other person’s free will. It is impossible to successfully manipulate energy, emotions, and the thoughts & emotions of others without the situation turning sour because it is simply not our job. As humans living a human experience, it’s our job to embrace and live through these dynamics; learning from them, growing from them, and allowing them to build our lives.
All of that being said, when you approach the innate need to control with an open palm as opposed to a closed fist you allow yourself to accept the experience and let the energy flow through you with ease.
For example, many women experience gripping energy with their teenagers. They are worried about their child getting into trouble, getting involved with the wrong people, and not becoming the best version of themselves. This can lead to mothers enforcing strict curfews, going through their teenager’s phone and messages, and trying to control as much as they possibly can regarding how their child spends their time and who with. All of these come from a place of love but are being executed in a state of worry, stress, and fear.
This is a “closed fist” approach and often damages the relationship between mother and child.
However, if the mother were to surrender her need to control her teenager she would be able to allow her child to exercise free will while encouraging them to make good choices. This “open palm” approach would look like lending a genuine ear when the teenager is upset or working through something emotionally. Being available to help, support, and guide the child when asked. This could also look like prompting the teenager to critically think and reflect on their actions when a mistake is made. In most cases, simply being there and being consciously present is more than enough.
To surrender in this kind of situation is to simply acknowledge that you can’t live vicariously through your child. You can’t make decisions for them, you can’t take their pain and suffering away, and you can’t be there to block every bad influence that they will encounter. What you CAN do is do your part in caring for them, loving them, educating them, and supporting them. By doing so you allow the abstract dynamics to play out how they are meant to. Even in harder times, it’s important to remember that life is always happening for us, not to us.
The Benefits of Surrendering
Now that we know that surrender is simply the act of releasing control, we open ourselves up to the benefits and opportunities that this practice can bring to our lives. The art of surrender definitely takes practice but let me show you why the conscious effort is worth it.
What if it gets to be better than you ever imagined?
When we control energetic dynamics and emotions we hinder our experiences to what we currently know, stunting our growth to the here and now. Yet, when you release the control and surrender to what could be, you open yourself up to a reality so much better than you ever could have imagined.
For example, say you’re looking for a new home during this difficult housing market. You’re looking for over a year, and every time you find one that you love within budget, it gets snagged out from under you by a cash offer over the asking price. You start to feel really defeated and frustrated, feeling like you will never be able to move out of the home you and your family have outgrown. Yet, instead of gripping the situation and spending hours on Zillow every day, you decide to surrender and allow yourself to be guided to the right next steps. Then at a friend’s BBQ, you end up talking to a ‘friend of a friend’ who mentions that they just got a new job out of state and they are planning to put their home on the market. You express that you’ve been looking and low and behold the house is so much better than you could have ever imagined at a better price than you expected to pay.
In the end, you find yourself in your dream home, and it came to you in the most divine way. That is a prime example of how the Universe is always conspiring in our favor if we allow it to.
Opening your mind to other perspectives and ideas.
One of the most valuable benefits of surrender is the chance to open your mind to other perspectives and ideas that you’ve never considered before. As I mentioned, the main purpose of abstract elements (dynamics, emotions, relationships, interactions, etc.) is to learn from them. When you surrender the need to control everything you consciously invite limitless possibility and growth. Let’s use a professional example here.
I knew a woman who lost her job during the pandemic in 2020, upon that sudden turn of events she started a freelancing business doing social media management. Things took off right away for her and she loved it. She identified as a business owner, everyone in her life was so proud of her, it seemed to have all ‘clicked’. Then 2 years into building her business the momentum started to drop off, and she started stressing about being able to pay the bills. After a couple of dry months, she got really scared and started applying to jobs with a deep feeling of shame and failure because her business wasn’t working. However, over time she got more and more comfortable with the idea of doing her social media management for an established company. Then through this process and opening her mind to different possibilities for her career, she ended up landing a position that was better than she ever could have imagined. Working for a company she loves, making more money than she’s ever had, and doing work that inspires her.
She surrendered her need to grip only her business and the identity of being a business owner, and in the process found her dream job.
How you Can Practice Surrender Right Now
At this point, we have discussed what surrender is and how it can massively benefit your life, but you might be wondering how you can actively bring the art of surrender into your everyday life. As I’ve said, surrender is a practice and it takes intentionality and consistent, conscious effort. Here I have some exercises that you can use to help you learn how to graciously surrender and allow the abstract elements of our lives to do their job.
Create a gratitude list.
In times of worry and stress about circumstances of which you can not actively change, this is a good time to release the grip and create a gratitude list of the good that is happening within the situation. Doing so will bring more positive energy into the situation, help you see new perspectives, and release the need to control the dynamics and outcomes. For example, if you are having a conflict with a friend, you can be grateful that the issues were brought to light now, as opposed to more time passing with resentment building. Or if you don’t get a job, you can be grateful that you now know what kind of jobs, salaries, and benefits are available to you and what to look for in the next opportunity.
Saying/writing down affirmations can really help in the practice of releasing control. Below I have provided a few affirmations regarding the art of surrender, see if any of these feel good to you.
- I am ready and willing to see things differently. — Amanda Frances
- I am willing to be guided.
- I am choosing to put my energy into what I can control, and release what I can not.
- The better it gets, the better it gets. — Katrina Ruth
- Things don’t happen to me, they happen for me.
There is so much power in making concrete decisions that you are committed to carrying out. Worry, stress, and overthinking often come from a lack of clarity and truth within our own decisions. When trying this, start with some small decisions and work your way up to making some bigger, more life-altering choices. This can look like taking a solid stance on any given subject, deciding on a new habit or routine, and making personal philosophical decisions like accepting what others think of you.
You have so much more power than you think, it’s simply about tapping in and accessing it.
You can see why nearly every successful person practices the art of surrender. It’s a simple, highly powerful tool that brings peace, growth, and opportunity in even the most turbulent of situations.
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