What If Surrender Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does?

Something occurred to me late last night, something that felt like a mini revelation.

I’ve learned to pay attention when these arise lately, as they are usually a product of a period of emotional release and introspection beforehand. A period that feels frustrating and stuck and like it is helping nothing. As I experience leaning into discomfort and digging into my internal world, I’ve learned that the sensation of being completely stuck is temporary, and most often comes before a breakthrough of sorts.

Sometimes I missed these breakthroughs in the past, expecting to be beat over the head with a huge a-ha moment every single time. I underestimated the power of a subtle shift, a seemingly tiny revelation. Now I’m excited when I feel that little spark of energy changing, knowing it signals something more significant.

Most of the time your realization will feel strikingly obvious. It may even be something you’ve understood conceptually for a long time, something you’ve tried to drum into your logical mind. But that’s not how energy works. You can’t force it into your body from your brain. You have to feel it in your body first and integrate it into your nervous system. You must always work from the inside out. Otherwise it just doesn’t stick.

So here’s the deceivingly simple idea that came to me, after a few days of breathwork, meditation, and frustrating attempts to shift dynamics with my family. Surrender isn’t giving up. It isn’t trusting that the universe will do everything for you without any help on your part. Surrender is simply the decision to stop wasting your precious energy fighting against the flow of life. There’s a subtle difference between fighting and standing up for yourself to shift what’s not working. That’s where I got confused – where I think most of us do.

After a few days of feeling blocked and irritated, I suddenly understood… the family I have is the family I have. It’s not going to change. I can waste my time and energy being pissed off about it, or I can accept it. That doesn’t mean that I stop trying to shift dynamics and stop the cycle of generational trauma. That doesn’t mean I lay down and “go with the flow” when it means that I’m not being my full authentic self. I deserve to be all of who I am, with everyone in my life. It does mean I stop draining myself with my anger and irritation, internally screaming at the universe for sticking me in this situation. By doing so, I’m actually blocking the flow of my own energy. It’s completely counterproductive and changes nothing.

This isn’t news to me, but it’s the first time I’ve felt it energetically in my body. It’s difficult to explain until you experience it. The last three years of my life have been a beautiful journey of learning how to work through my internal landscape and shift my own energy. It doesn’t come easily, and I’m still slightly surprised every time the shift actually happens.

The truth is that I’m not angry with my family because I want a different family. I’m angry because I want them to behave differently. I want to feel safe to be all of myself with them. I want to feel seen and heard and accepted for myself. I want to feel like I can express myself and who I am without being disregarded, belittled, or invalidated. It was difficult to realize that I have years of resentment built up because I’ve never felt truly at home with them. I don’t feel like they care to really know who I am, and that hurts. I feel that hurt bleeding into my interactions with everyone else in my life. There are very few people who feel safe to my nervous system – and almost none of them are men.

So, I accept that I have the family I have. Nothing is going to magically change about that, not in this lifetime. I surrender to that truth, and I stop fighting the flow of what is by being pissed about it all the time. I take space when I require it, and do what I need to do to protect myself and speak up for my needs when necessary. It doesn’t matter if it makes other people feel uncomfortable because I’ve never challenged the status quo before. I surrender to the reality of what is, while taking action on what I can actually shift.

Surrender, just like manifestation, requires action on our part. It’s not about falling into victimhood and becoming upset when life isn’t exactly what we want it to be. It’s about feeling where you are expending excess energy fighting against something instead of working with what exists. It’s about releasing the attempt to control what is outside of yourself and taking control of what you can do – shift your own behavior. This is the difference between burning out and finding clarity on what really matters to you. It requires some trust, both of yourself and the world around you.

This is a long one, but it’s been a while, so I have a lot on my mind! I hope this essay finds you well and continuing to lean into your own growth and development. It’s the most rewarding journey of life, even when it’s confusing or frustrating. Sending you love. You’ve got this.

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