Why it’s Necessary to Surrender


“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
― Steve Maraboli

I took a formal dance class once because I wanted to learn how to do more than what I saw in music videos. I chose salsa because; do I really have to explain?

There were many couples and a few single women like me. Very few single men. Not really surprising. So we learned the basic steps paired up with other women. But, then came time to learn the turn and the instructor told me to dance with him.

I stepped up in front of the class and we locked hands. I put my frame up as he showed me. And, then he showed all of us how I should let him raise my hand and my body should turn into his body space and return to my starting position as he turned me.

He said, “Relax and allow me to turn your body.” Intuitively, I understood. He raised my arm. I pushed off with my foot and hurled my body towards him. I thought I was being helpful.

He corrected me, “No. Stop trying to turn and let me turn you.“

I nodded, but we tried it again and I did the same thing. He was patient.

He looked at me and asked, “Do you trust me? I need you to trust me.”

I did trust him, but for some reason, I felt unsure about allowing him to control my body. I wasn’t even aware of the students watching. I was questioning myself as to why I couldn’t just let this happen. I was searching my fear for answers.

His voice got soft and he said, “Let go.”

I took a deep breath and let my arm go limp. He felt my surrender and raised my arm. I let my body be propelled and controlled by his strength. Quickly, I felt myself turn towards him and back. Then he did it again and again. He caught me in his arms and opened my arms back up until we went back into the salsa steps. The room applauded.

I felt joy that I had been able to let go and let him lead the dance and I enjoyed the whirling of my body.

But, even bigger than that, I felt what it was like to let myself be cared for when I let down my guard. I felt relaxed in his strength. And, I wasn’t overthinking. He was doing the hard work. I was trusting that he was invested in my success and my agility.

“Don’t despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don’t – surrender to events with hope.”
― Alain de Botton

There are not many things in this life that I can think of that haven’t demanded my surrender. It’s like if you are on a rollercoaster and its climbing up the tracks, higher and higher. Right before it goes over the edge, you have to surrender because there is no way to stop it from that point. And, you just decide to enjoy whatever is going to happen then. Force propels you through the rest.

Love requires surrender over and over and over again. Depending on someone else and letting them love you in return requires you to allow yourself to be danced through life in ways that feel like joy and, sometimes, feeling uncertain. But, if you have chosen a good partner, then they will do it with the grace and strength it requires.

Even a career forces you to surrender because no matter how good you are, there are certain aspects of it that are out of your control. You just have to trust that you can recover and be confident in your skills.

I have to surrender when I am writing. Either the character or the topic dictates what I need to write on the page. I may craft the words into sentences, but often it feels more like channeling than as if I’m creating it. It comes from somewhere that I don’t even know when delving into the creative mind. When I attempt to control it with my ego, it sounds like crap.

Why is it Necessary to Surrender? Because resistance creates stress. When you try to push against what is or try to control what isn’t, neither brings you what you want. You end up doing way more work trying to get the outcome you desire than you do when you let the outcome reveal itself.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
― Osho

What were the results of my letting go and learning how to dance? A few years later, I was on a trip on a beautiful island during what I can only describe as a magical vacation. And, a man asked me to dance. He was shocked to find I knew how to dance the salsa and he spun me around in the island breeze.

I will forever have that memory because I practiced surrender. Where are you holding on to something you can let go?

Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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Photo courtesy Unsplash.

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