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Surrendering without Controlling

We typically hear about the concept of surrender with relation to wars or religion. It’s been used to suggest a giving in or giving over of self. But, if we take a close look at the complexity of our lives and our relationships, surrender is present as a constant possibility for us.

How do you usually think about surrender in your life? Are you giving in, giving up, settling, deferring, and losing your boundaries? Or are you sinking in to a connection, which will allow a real, authentic process to emerge between two people.

There is a danger most people feel in surrendering themselves that they will be losing themselves and really just be submitting to the will of another person -- a sort of winner-loser type of game.

But, true surrender allows for a genuinely present, authentic experience, without having to feel the need to control the situation. And in this very present space, we can be most genuine in who we truly are, not who we feel another needs us to be – real authenticity!

Psychoanalyst Emmanuel Ghent discussed the concepts of surrender vs. submission in a well known and well cited article in the Contemporary Psychoanalytic literature. He indicated that surrender is often a naturally occurring shift as opposed to a choice. Most importantly, he clarified that there is true benefit for the one surrendering.

“Its ultimate direction is the discovery of one's identity, one's sense of self, one's sense of wholeness, even one's sense of unity with other living beings. This is quite unlike submission in which the reverse happens: one feels one's self as a puppet in the power of another; one's sense of identity atrophies.”

With true surrender, differences between people can be tolerated without losing yourself. Surrender isn't about giving up but more about letting go.

For example: A mom chose to do an extreme thrill ride with her daughter at an amusement park because the little girl needed to have a 2nd person sitting with her; however the mom is not an extreme thrill ride person because of motion sickness but chose to do it anyway because she wanted her daughter to have the experience. As a result, the daughter loved the exhilarating ride but left the mom feeling completely physically scrambled up for a few hours afterwards.

I think this scenario presents an interesting dilemma, which makes me think of the concept of surrendering vs. submitting to others.

The mom didn’t experience this as submitting to her daughter and the situation. Instead, she allowed herself to surrender into the situation with an unknown outcome. This was done out of love for the daughter, not as a “martyr mom” type of act, but more of a desire for a shared experience where she and the mom could fully allow the experience to happen.

How have you allowed surrender into your life? Into your relationships? Do you fear losing yourself or submitting to another’s will? Or have you been able to tolerate differences from another while still holding on to your belief system?

If the idea of surrendering and allowing an experience to emerge is new to you, please remember this is not deferring to another. And, it’s much more something you allow yourself to become present with as opposed to choosing to surrender.

Sit back and watch what unfolds, watch what emerges and watch yourself nurturing your own sense of self while embracing your most authentic life.

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