How to Surrender: A Guide to Letting Go


Embracing the concept of surrender can be an empowering journey for many individuals. Contrary to popular belief, surrendering isn’t about defeat or passivity. 

Surrender is about recognizing what we can control and releasing our grip on what we cannot. 

Let’s delve into how to engage in psychological and emotional surrender, allowing ourselves to flow with life’s unpredictabilities. Lean into the unknown with excitement and curiosity for what could happen if you let life lead the way.


Understand the Essence of Surrender

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that surrender is not synonymous with giving up. It’s about embracing the moment, acknowledging our feelings without being enslaved by them, and recognizing that we’re not always in control of external circumstances. Instead of waging a constant internal battle, we choose to yield, and in doing so, often find peace. 


Distinguish Between What You Can and Can’t Control

A great deal of our emotional turmoil stems from trying to control uncontrollable situations. An effective exercise is to write down your current worries or challenges. Then, categorize them into things you can control (like your reactions, efforts, and attitudes) and things you cannot control (like others’ opinions, natural events, past mistakes). Once delineated, focus your energy on what’s within your control and practice letting go of the rest.

Here is a way to practice letting go is to make a fist, then let it go, do it again, then let it go…..imagine that you are holding on to what you are struggling with. Keep doing this until you notice that the muscles in your arms and hands begin to relax. Letting go can begin in your body if your mind refuses.


Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Grounding ourselves in the present moment can be a profound act of surrender. Mindfulness and meditation practices help us become aware of our thoughts without getting entangled in them. 

Practicing mindfulness offers a space where we can observe our emotions without judgment and let them pass without reacting impulsively. Over time, these practices can nurture a deeper sense of calm and acceptance.

Focus on your lungs, place all of your focus there. Breathe in and out, in your mind when you take a breath in think the word in, when you exhale think the word out. Do this over and over until you begin to notice that your muscles are surrendering to the practice.


Engage in Expressive Activities

Journaling, art, music, and dance are wonderful tools for emotional processing. By channelling your emotions into creative outlets, you’re allowing yourself to acknowledge and release them. They become less of a burden and more of a source of insight and personal growth.


Seek Support

Whether through therapy, support groups, or heart-to-heart conversations with close friends, sharing your feelings and vulnerabilities can be cathartic. An external perspective often provides clarity, helping us to recognize when our need for control is counterproductive.

Sharing our inner world can be a challenge if you aren’t used to it. Once you try on sharing with a close friend or trusted therapist, you will notice that your mind begins to let go of the ruminating thoughts that keep us from surrendering.


Set Healthy Boundaries

Emotional surrender doesn’t mean accepting every negative situation that comes our way. It’s essential to distinguish between surrendering to the flow of life and allowing harmful circumstances or relationships to persist. Know your worth and set boundaries that safeguard your mental and emotional well-being. Learn more about setting healthy boundaries here


Embrace Impermanence

Everything changes. This can be a tough pill to swallow, especially when we’re attached to certain outcomes. But by understanding that everything is temporary, we can reduce our resistance to change and find solace in the transient nature of our emotions, situations, and even relationships.


Affirmations and Mantras

Use positive affirmations and mantras to guide your journey. Phrases like “I release control and trust the process” or “I am open to whatever comes my way” can serve as gentle reminders of your commitment to emotional surrender.

I will use “surrender” as my mantra, saying it over and over while paying attention to how my body reacts with each word. Then if I notice that I have tensed up again, I will just keep saying it until my body relaxes again.

Engaging in psychological and emotional surrender is a continual practice, not a one-time act. It’s about fostering a mindset of openness, acceptance, and trust. And while the path may be challenging, the peace and clarity it brings are well worth the effort. As you navigate the ebb and flow of life, remember that surrender is not about giving up, but about letting go and finding freedom in acceptance.


Tracy Miles –  RP, RSSW, Author


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