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Surrender ≠ Giving Up

Surrender = embracing uncertainty, letting go of the illusion of control, and realising how constantly fighting for it exhausts us.

Rumi advises, “Embrace uncertainty; only then will you find stability.”

Maybe our resistance to the word is embedded in how it has always been used. Surrendering to the enemy, giving up, losing or relinquishing something, forgoing something in favor of another (never going to do that, are we 😂).

Surrender in the context of this blog is more about surrendering resistance. The ability to exhale every now and then.


We know that life is uncertain, yet we are constantly working ourselves to death, fighting this uncertainty with plans A, B & C, leaving zero room for surprises. Oh no, we certainly cannot have the unknown sneaking up on us; that would simply not do because how in hell could we not have “seen this coming”? Or, “planned better, thought ahead, and taken control of the situation.”

What we seldom realise is that this desperate desire for control and predictability is a massive source of anxiety and unhappiness for today’s humans.

When do we ever allow ourselves to exhale?

What does exhaling even feel like?

We chase certainty and predictability at all costs. Our lives are increasingly AI-enabled, and the desire to remove any inkling of risk leaves us exhausted as we gather data, watch trends, analyzing and predict movements in the markets, the weather, and the interest rates.

Or digging into whether we can predict the probability of our partner cheating. Our children being failures or successful, our health, our employability, our likability, our lifespan, and the madness goes on and on as we swallow an endless supply of medication, desperately cling to our apparently in-control lives.

Sound familiar?

Slow down, human, stop for a minute, and listen, “You do not need to be perfect or in control ALL the time. You are perfectly imperfect already, and NO, surrendering at times does not mean you have given up”.

Giving up

Giving up means losing hope, admitting defeat, or throwing in the towel. Of course, there are times when giving up may be your very best option. Giving up something that negatively influences and controls your life, such as people, places, or things, is a dam fine decision. When you are 100% controlled by an addiction that is ripping your life apart, please give it up!

This would not be a time to surrender.

As you are

Life asks you to come as you are. Half of our desperate need to unyieldingly cling to plans and the illusion that we have it all under control is our fear of not knowing who we are. Or whether who we are is enough.

If asked to come as you are, who would you come as? I am not referring to the person you have become due to past pain, regret, hurt, or years of unforgiveness. I am referring to the person you were born to be.

How often are we hanging on to things when the sell-by date is long gone?

Clarity and flexibility

Yes, I 100% believe you must have a clear story describing your dream and future, be clear on the what and the why. We don’t want everyone wandering around aimlessly with no plan at all 🙂. However, you need to accept that the journey toward your dream, the how, has to be flexible, allowing for surprises and momentary detours.

If you are traveling to a holiday destination and suddenly find the road you planned on using has been closed, what do you do? Do you jump out of your car screaming at the road, demanding that it open up for you? Do you give up, blaming life and go back home?

No, your best option would be to be open to alternatives when the road unfolds quite differently than planned. It means you don’t allow a blocked road to derail your dream. It means you are flexible, open to surprises, and ready to consider other options because getting to your destination matters more than being obsessed about how you get there.

What is surrender?

Surrendering is the art of moving with what is on offer at a point in time rather than fighting for constant control of things that are not in your control. Surprise, surprise, you don’t control the world 😂.

Margaret Wheatley states, “Everyone has their view of reality, and it will always be dismally incomplete.”

So why do we cling and fight for an incomplete perceived reality? Why not allow all that certainty to give way to a little healthy curiosity?

Some signs of healthy surrender are:
  • No longer being so defensive
  • Willing to consider anothers advice
  • Being present in the moment
  • Giving up the blame game
  • Being able to laugh, especially at yourself
  • Able to apologise

Surrender ≠ is not giving up.

When you surrender, it is with the knowledge that you have done all you can (which requires being honest with yourself 🙂) with what you have from where you are. Fully trusting that how things unfold will work out in your best interest, even if it does not unfold exactly as you anticipate. It’s trusting yourself and believing that whatever comes your way, you are equipped to deal with it. Knowing that life has unexpected twists and turns and trusting that you are more than enough to handle these.

Often, we cannot surrender because we cannot imagine any outcome other than the one we have in mind. We are limited, perhaps even imprisoned, by our immovable, inflexible view or version of reality.

For heaven’s sake, humans, it’s time to kick off the shoes, fling the bra in the air, dump the laptop, loosen the tie, and run barefoot into the rain with uncombed hair, eyes wide open, taking a moment to realise that this one life you have is indeed the greatest gift you have ever been gifted.

Stop clutching on and working so hard to control it; allow just a little flow.

“The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It is when it begins” – Marianne Williamson.

Surrender ≠ Giving Up

Surrender = embracing uncertainty, letting go of the illusion of control, and realising how constantly fighting for it exhausts us. Rumi advises, “Embrace uncertainty; only

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