Surrender vs. Submission
You’ve tried everything and still aren’t where you want to be. You’re bumping your head against the wall of your career and/or your relationships and something has to give. So stop struggling and let life show you the way… it may be time to surrender.
I have been a seeker and therefore, often a struggler for much of my life. I don’t regret the bumps and bruises, in fact the decades of feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied have lead me to learn and grow in exponential ways, but this isn’t necessarily a sustainable way to achieve growth, in fact, it’s led me to burnout more times than I can count. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you can ever completely convert a seeker into someone who ceases the seeking, let’s get real here people! 😉
I’ve always had growth as the top value on my list of values, but there is a downside to all this striving, seeking, improving and growth; it can feel as though we’re doing a lot of heavy lifting and often as though we will never arrive. It can be fueled from some unhealthy drivers, like the need for significance, which conversely is fueled by the belief that you’re not enough. It’s a device of the ego, which can use this desire to improve to keep you perpetually unhappy and stuck, and frankly spinning the same record over and over in your life.
So what’s the remedy for us seekers of better, faster, stronger? Well if you identify as one of these seekers you’re going to hate this answer, ready for it…?
The answer is Surrender. Yup, I said it, surrender is the answer.
Having spent some time, albeit not much, in the world of domination and submission I can tell you a few things about what the difference is between the very powerful CHOICE to surrender and the very disempowered energy around submission, even the word itself gives me the icks. I was confused about these concepts many years ago, which led me down the garden path of completely losing myself and my power in a toxic relationship dynamic.
So here’s the thing, while the spiritual teacher in me touted the many virtues of surrender, the reality was I really had no clue what the heck it meant to actually surrender, the concept of Spiritual Surrender was known and yet foreign to me at the same time. I was too busy trying to run and control every aspect and outcome of my life for that! The remedy I found came on the heels of one of the darkest nights of the soul I’ve experienced in my life to date. I had no choice but to surrender it all and start developing a relationship with surrender and trust in LIFE!
You Don’t Have to Wait
The good news is, you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to learn the difference between submission and surrender and the very life-giving skill of Spiritual Surrender, you can start today! Nowadays in my private practice, I encourage my high stress, high achieving clients to cultivate and nurture surrender as a practice, not as a last resort. It’s difficult at first to wrap their brains around how in their Type A-ness they can ever allow such a thing to occur in their lives, let alone choose to surrender in times of high steaks outcomes. How is it then that this virtue is taught in every universal principle and almost all the major world religions? There’s gotta be something to it right?
Surrender gets a bad rep, mostly I think due to how it’s taught. It gets confused in our minds with giving up our power to something or someone (which is really submission), and religion hasn’t helped with this much, I get it! It’s hard to surrender to a greater power or higher intelligence that you really have no relationship with or evidence of it at work in your life. That’s a whole other blog people – check out my last article on dating God for a year.
We also often associate surrender to some form of giving up and giving away our power or quitting. As a former ‘would be-submissive’ (I tried and failed miserably lol) I’m here to tell you that there is a distinct and VERY powerful difference between surrender and submission. The act of surrender can put us at choice to release the outcome while we keep moving forward in action. Surrender can be a powerful statement of trust in the process of life and outcomes. Surrender means I tried my hardest and now I have to have faith that what will be will be. Surrender offers us a glimpse into a world where we stress less and burnout is not an option. Submission often comes into play when we’ve pushed and pushed and finally get to the point that we ‘give-in’ because it’s easier, this is often what gets mistaken for surrender, but can you feel the difference?
When you surrender or release an outcome, situation or desire you are making a powerful choice to no longer let the outcome of that situation control you. You are deciding that you will move forward irrespective of expectation. This type of surrender is Spiritual Surrender and there are some distinct steps to help you start to cultivate this as a practice in your life:
Cultivate a relationship to God/Spirit/Universe, start to learn more about this essential part of YOU, your nature, your higher intelligence. If you grew up with this as a lofty religious concept that turns you off, then find other teachers of universal principles that resonate with you.
Pray, meditate or simply get clear and ASK for what you desire, even if it’s that you want to fear less or experience less stress with a certain situation. The secret here is not to pray for a specific outcome. You are praying for the best possible outcome for all involved, it’s the very meaning of thy will be done!
Find the Good – like an Easter-egg hunt, find all the places where there is ease in your life. Maybe there are past struggles that you came through and now on the other side, you can see that you were always supported and things worked out for the best. Maybe there is someone or something you can be grateful for now. Find the ease so that if your mind takes you back to worry, you can return to surrender and trust.
Watch the road signs – I have this refrain on repeat with my clients. Sometimes we think something is a block when all it is is a signpost or detour. Life has a way of saying ‘not this way, that way instead’ – we’ll miss these if we keep pushing, controlling and not surrendering and paying attention to the signs! The Universe is like a GSP, it’s self-correcting and self-guiding… trust this and look for the evidence!
Finally, practice, practice, practice… this skill doesn’t come overnight and it can take time to build what I call the faith-muscle. If you keep at it and especially find the evidence like in step 4, you’ll be well on your way to living in surrender and letting Life lead you.
If you’d like more information about working together to help you cultivate more surrender in your busy go-getter life, drop me a line!
Lots of love.