The Power in Surrender

For many of us control is a common theme in our lives, whether we recognize it or not.  Life becomes this juggling act of tasks, people, feelings and thoughts as we strive to exert control in various ways in our lives.  For some, this looks like a detailed, organized schedule with each event planned and coordinated just so.  For others this looks like a hectic and chaotic series of tasks piled one on top of another. Others may have a small social circle in contrast to those who subscribe to the belief that a stranger is just a friend they haven’t met yet.  Some keep their emotions tightly leashed and regulated, while others emote dramatically. How we exert control in our lives is as unique as we are, tied together by the common root of controlling for discomfort.

As society has evolved the belief that discomfort is something to be avoided has become pervasive.  While some discomfort is ultimately unavoidable, many appear to believe that any discomfort that can be avoided should be avoided. What many of us have lost sight of is that growth is uncomfortable.  As much as we may want to live in our comfort zone, doing so keeps us stuck there, and to grow we have to face the discomfort of change.

The idea of jumping happily into discomfort may sound unreasonable.  Instead, imagine relaxing into surrender.  Discomfort is like a storm in the ocean, spawning wave after wave.  When we fight the waves, we become exhausted and easily overwhelmed.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but when we face drowning sometimes the only way to save ourselves is to stop swimming and let go- in surrendering we can float and rest.  Sometimes we can float over the top of the wave, sometimes it washes over us – but the wave is finite and we will reach the other side.  No matter how hard we fight the wave we can’t stop it, but through surrender we can ride it.

Sometimes it feels like too much.  Sometimes we need to relax on the beach and rest in our comfort zone. Take the time you need and rest, and know that if we want to grow, if we want to change, then at some point we’re going to have to dive back into the ocean.  Remember, when the waves of discomfort feel too big, too strong, and too overwhelming it’s okay to let go, to surrender to the discomfort, and ride the waves of change.


Submitted by Rachel Narow, Licensed Clinical Social Worker