Why Giving Up Works

Surrender – The Bravest Act

You’re afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control. But you never had control. All you had was anxiety.

Elizabeth Gilbert


Sounds like such a good and noble act… “Do not give in! Do not give up! Stay with the ship – yea, yeah, it’s sinking but… go down with it! Let them drag you out, kicking and screaming! Show them who’s Boss! Get a spine, man!” and other such gobbledeegook.


Maturation knows when to stay and when to go, when to hold on and when to release. I’m not sure any other person can tell us which is our personal journey. We must see it for ourselves.

Sometimes, it’s not the times you decide to fight, but the times you decide to surrender, that make all the difference.

I ask myself, during those times in which I feel myself trying to control situations or people: what is my controlling getting me? Why am I trying to control this person or this event? What does it profit me to control?

It usually comes down to a few things:

  • I think I know best.
  • I’m too afraid to let the other one fail.
  • Because that might make them feel badly about themselves.
  • And then, especially if it’s my child or a best friend, I’ll feel badly.
  • And I don’t like feeling badly. Feeling badly feels like shit.

So, basically, I’ve learned about myself that I try to control situations and people so that I feel comfortable. Validated. Appreciated. Intelligent.

But, mostly, comfortable.

I’ve dichotomized the concept of how I feel. Comfortable = good; anxious = bad.

But what if “comfortable” and “anxious” are just feelings? What if they’re not good or bad, but just experiences?

Not feeling in control makes me feel anxious. Anxiety is a rough vibe, man. There’s the wacky breathing, the sweating, the blurry vision, the feeling of claustrophobia, the free-fallin’ can’t-predict-what’s-next, the can’t breath-talk-walk… yea, anxiety sucks.

Unless, it doesn’t. Unless, it’s a messenger.

Could my anxiety – these feelings of out-of-control – actually be trying to tell me something?

  • Where am I trying to maintain status quo?
  • Where am I trying to know the future?
  • Where am I trying to be sure everything around me is smooth, easy, peaceful?
  • Where am I trying to be sure the ones around me are happy, safe, secure?
  • Where am I trying not to rock the boat?
  • Where am I forgetting that God has my back?
  • Where am I forgetting that this life isn’t all designed for my comfort?
  • Where am I forgetting that in difficulties and obstacles lies some of my greatest opportunities for growth and revelation?
  • Where am I forgetting that breakdowns often offer my biggest breakthroughs?
  • Why am I so averse to admitting that I’m just freakin’ scared?
  • When did I start forgetting to be gentle and kind, compassionate and patient with myself? others?
  • Am I trying to control so that others view me as awesome?
  • When did I forget what others think doesn’t matter and that what I think about myself is vital?
  • When did I forget I came here – slipped into some skin – for the purpose of a journey, for experiencing the full gamut of all that Life has to offer?

Surrender is deeply misunderstood as an act of weakness. Surrender is the bravest and most lucid thing a human ever does, and that’s why it’s so precious to the Divine.

Andrew Harvey

And so… how to surrender?

Well, if it were a cookie-cutter, step-by-step, we’d all be doing it… clearly, this is not the case. Surrender is one of the highest bits of Wisdom. We learn Wisdom, we grow into Wisdom, we mistake ourselves into Wisdom. We patience ourselves, humble ourselves, and ponder ourselves into Wisdom.

Here is my response to a precious friend who confessed her recent bouts of anxiety:

So many of us are feeling incredibly anxious as well… there’s a lot going on in the world and has been… so our reaction – anxiety – is actually very understandable. WHAT IF WE CHANGE THE NARRATIVE? What if we ALLOW ourselves to feel the anxiety – oh God, so uncomfortable! – without trying to figure it out or push it away or shame ourselves for its appearance… maybe, just maybe, it’s like a friend who is super duper annoying but you keep around because, dagnabit, in and amongst their difficult countenance is a message… So, anxiety comes knocking… breathe. Reframe. This is here FOR me, not something that’s happening TO me against my will and wishes… this will not last forever… I give myself permission to be CURIOUS about what’s going on in my body, in my mind, in my heart… I remain COMPASSIONATE towards myself and others because feeling shit is really hard and I’m not used to it (let me just eat or drink or watch TV or scroll social media, distract distract distract) and then, I allow COURAGE to flow from within me… to remember that this life is an EXPERIENCE, not something I’m trying to figure out… but something I GET TO LIVE. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it all… maybe feeling scared and anxious is part of the journey… feelings to feel, without judgment… so, let me own it all, grateful… you, my friend, are not alone – and you are loved. Here’s a hug. My intention is to have encouraged you, so I hope you feel seen, heard, validated. Love you. -Lis xxx ❤

To all of us who have been struggling in a space of anxiety, I am sorry. I feel us, I hear us, I see us, and I love us. Take heart. This passes. Do your best to see the good, feel the power of Love vibrations in your body, and make sure you’re not watching too much social media… eat well, drink lotsa water, find reasons to laugh with friends, and be on the receiving end of daily hugs.

Being human, this earthly journey, is hard, but it’s also really, really magnificent.

I love you.


Lis xxx

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