Heading into the holiday season, I was dogged by a word of the year for 2022. Like the previous year, a word actively pursued me. After wrestling with it for weeks, I’ve finally come to accept it. I ‘surrender’!
The internal struggle became a microcosm of the word itself. Embracing the concept of surrender felt like giving up. I’m tenacious and optimistic and didn’t want to accept defeat after two years of living with the pandemic.
But I inherently know there are gifts in surrendering. On reflection, perhaps my association with ‘surrender’ was the reason why I struggled with it.
Fortunately, Google took me directly to essence of the word. Leo Babauta’s eloquent article, cleverly captures what my psyche deeply desires.
“It’s the idea of letting go of some of our systems and instincts to get control, trying to make the world exactly as we like it, trying to avoid all the things we dislike … and instead, relaxing, accepting, even surrendering to the uncertainty and fluidity of this world.”
If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s the reality that despite delusions to the contrary, there’s very little in life we can control.
The internal battle to try to prove otherwise is exhausting.
Often one of the greatest causes of stress and anxiety in life, is attempting to control our world (and, at times, others around us).
What comes first – feeling stressed triggering the urge to control or the struggle to be in control firing our stress response?
Surrender, relinquishing the vain desire to control the uncontrollable, is an effective way to break the cycle. It’s about feeling the fear and letting go of our primitive need to change things we cannot influence. This is not giving up or failing to care, but about consciously choosing our battles.
Creating new habits requires practice. When you struggle with surrender try this:
- Acknowledge unsettling emotions and try sitting with them.
- Choose to be kind to yourself and others.
- Make a joy list, for times when you’re struggling.
Ironically the struggle to accept my word of the year, has taught me so much about surrender. Dare I say, I’m ready for what the next twelve months will throw at us?
Do you choose a word for the year? What’s yours?