There’s one thing I know for sure about life — there will be chapters or seasons far from what you expect. It’s not just something I’ve witnessed, but something I’ve experienced. We all have ideas of how things should be, how people should behave, and how events should unfold. When expectations don’t align with reality, we tighten our grip for a greater sense of control. We fight against what is in an attempt to get what “should” be. It’s this resistance that causes us pain and suffering.
Over the course of my 20-something years, certain circumstances have encouraged me to explore what it feels like to loosen my grip and let go of my vision of perfection. Within the space of surrender, I’m reclaiming my strength, power, and learning some very important lessons.
1. Expectation is the root of frustration
Expectations are the main barrier to accepting what is. Our mental picture of how things are supposed to be triggers criticism and judgment for how things actually are. Until we release them, we’ll relentlessly try to get our way.
2. Letting go can be freeing
Exercising total control over every aspect of life is a heavy weight to carry. We don’t have it, never had it, and never will. Yet we give so much energy to something unachievable. This only triggers fear, anxiety, and anger. Excusing yourself from this unrealistic responsibility will lift the weight from your spirit.
3. Enjoying the journey is a choice
Only with your permission can circumstances impact your quality of life. An imperfect life is worthy of enjoyment, too. Happiness can be found in the ups and downs of the journey, in embracing uncertainty, and in enjoying the beauty of your personal transformation. It’s our attachment to the destination that robs us of enjoying the present moment and accepting things for what they are.
4. Fear is the greatest influencer
Underneath the need for control are the things that make us feel threatened, scared, and uncomfortable. Control is simply a tool that allows us to manage fear. In other words, we try to avoid our greatest fears by controlling the outcomes. For that reason, surrender naturally feels unsafe and vulnerable. But when we push through that discomfort, we have so much more to gain from the leap.
5. Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up
Surrender, complacency, and defeat are not synonymous. We can remain detached from the outcome and act intentionally. When we surrender, we communicate that we’re open to the infinite possibilities, and trust that we will be guided to the next best step. Regardless of whether our desires are fulfilled, we know that we’ll thrive.