Surrender, Surrender, But Don’t Give Yourself Away*

We typically hear about the concept of Surrender in relation to wars or religion.  It’s been used to convey a giving in or giving over of self.

However, if we take a close look at all the ins and outs of our lives and our relationships, Surrender is really 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 dynamic.


Even the 70’s band Cheap Trick* sang,

“Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away”


However, true surrender allows for a genuinely present, authentic experience, without having to feel a need to control the situation.  And in this very present space, we can be most solid 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 know 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, difference between people can be tolerated without losing the self

I posed the following question to my Facebook group of women, all part of the group because of their desire to nurture an authentically lived life. 

“Fun authenticity dilemma:  What do you think? What would you have done?
I chose to do an extreme thrill ride with my daughter yesterday at an amusement park because she needed to have a 2nd person sitting with her. I'm not an extreme thrill ride person (motion sickness as I've gotten older) but chose to do it anyway because I wanted her to have the experience (she loves those rides). I was also hoping to tap into my sense of adventure and empowerment. Well, she loved it (which made my heart full) but I felt completely physically scrambled up for a few hours afterwards. Was my choice authentic or deferring?”


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

I didn’t experience this as submitting to my daughter and the situation.  I allowed myself to sink into a situation (surrender to it) with an unknown outcome.  This was done out of love for my daughter, not as a “martyr mom” type of act, but more of a desire for a shared experience where she and I can fully allow an 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 potential difference from another while still holding on to you? 


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

Watch what unfolds. 

Watch what emerges. 

Watch yourself nurturing your own sense of self while embracing your most authentic life.

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