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Surrender and Letting Go Versus Giving Up

By Catherine Anesi, LCSW, RM


I am often asked by my clients “How do I surrender?” “What does that mean?” They often believe that if they surrender that they are in some way giving up. I am in no way implying that surrender has anything to do with giving up. Surrender means to relinquish the control. In stressful times we often feel that we need to pull the reigns of our lives in so tight in order to avoid disaster. We feel that somehow we can manage through the insanity.


Unfortunately when we do this we sometimes sabotage ourselves. We are so caught up in “holding everything together” that we lose sight of any opportunities or possibilities that present themselves. We stress ourselves out to the point where we make ourselves sick. The tension in the body causes many physical symptoms and illness.


When your life situation seems dire and your anxiety is intense, it is a cue that surrender is in

order; that change needs to happen. For most of us these times feel like it’s time to take immediate action and “fix” the situation. We often work harder, organize more, and use substances to ease the anxiety. In actuality it is a time to take your journal out and start journaling on the feelings that are coming up and process where these feelings are coming from, what are these feelings reminding you of? It is a time to relax, meditate, take extra good care of yourself and curb your thoughts of disaster, and BREATHE.


When we surrender the miracles can appear. In a state of fear and anxiety we are not able to see the possibilities that present themselves. We shut down. It is then very hard to let go and trust that we will be okay. The transition is uncomfortable, and instead of allowing change to unfold we often stay in a safety zone that becomes increasingly unhealthy. But I have found that if I can surrender to the process and trust that something needs to change, my anxiety declines. I can create an inner space for something new to unfold rather than lock into a pattern.


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