Giving up, Giving in: The Hidden Power in Surrender

Posted by: Derrick Shirley on June 3, 2011 10:32 am

I have taken a slight detour this week. In my next post I will pick up the “Practically Yours: Self-Care Tips for Counsellors” trail and discuss spiritual health.

Recently, a few friends and I gathered in the park to enjoy the sunshine. One of my female friends was “play fighting” with an obviously stronger and larger male. Every time she attacked him, however, whether by surprise or calculated move, he overpowered her, “Okay, I give up!” she would say. Then when he was not looking, she would try again and again he would overpower her. Her frustration grew with each attempt, but she would not concede defeat.

Eventually, she turned to me and asked, “What should I do?” “Surrender,” I said. She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and said “Okay fine, I’ll play dead,” then lay on her back and, despite the odd giggle, did not move. He seemed just as puzzled as she.

He tried a couple of gentle nudges while she lay on the ground, inviting her to re-engage. No response. I watched with curiosity to see what would happen next. After 10 seconds he became bored and walked away. She remained still. After 30 seconds he returned, offered her his hand to help her up, and then taught her self-defence moves he learned in karate. They never did return to their sparring match.

Without an adversary, there is no fight. When his force had no counterforce, he gave up. Please note, I am by no means advocating “playing dead” when confronted by potentially harmful situations – do whatever you have to do to protect yourself. I use this story, however, as an example of the potential of re-evaluating a habitually unsuccessful plan of action or mindset to achieve a different outcome.

Sailors do not fight the wind. They respect its influence. They surrender to it, make calculated adjustments, and harness its power to reach their destination. Let go of what you think you know, relinquish control, learn from outcomes, make adjustments, then set sail again toward your goals. Sometimes a sensible surrender is the most sensible move.

Surrender to your potential, rather than limitation.

Take good care,

Derrick Shirley.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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