Submission vs. Surrender

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Healthy Relationships, Personal Growth

When we surrender to something, we let go of trying to control the uncontrollable.  We stop trying to force and coerce other people, ourselves or life itself to show up according to our preferences and projections.  We make an inward turn, towards “working-with,” instead of “working-against.”  

Surrender is active wisdom.  A conscious choice, born out of a recognition of our true place in the wider dance of life.  Surrender invites us to inhabit a place of non-resistance, to practice patience. When we surrender, we reclaim our energy and allow it to build up again inside of ourselves.  We stop swimming upstream. We see the folly of trying to harness hurricanes. We relax, and focus on keeping our balance on the galloping, runaway horse and we wait to see where the ride ends.

Submission, on the other hand, is about losing a fight and putting ourselves aside for the moment. We concede.  Our energy drains out of us. Leaking and defeated, we are exhausted, tired, and giving-up. We may tell ourselves, “it’s not worth it…” and lose access to our ability to choose something more life-affirming. 

With submission, we lose a power-struggle.  

With surrender, we step out of the power struggle and into a new relationship with whatever is arising.  

With submission, we often feel resentful. Powerless. Helpless.  

When we surrender, we reclaim our energy, our intentions, our attention and make new choices.  

A key difference between these two experiences has to do with cultivating a certain quality of consciousness and choicefulness to bring to each moment.  

The moment we become self-aware, we have a moment of choice. 

And that moment of choice allows us to become co-creative with life.  

The tension and dissonance we feel in any given moment, opens the door for us to opportunities to choose what we want to bring forward from here.  

Have a thought you’d like to share?  I ‘d love to know!  Please leave a comment below.


  1. Kirsten

    I finally gave myself a chance to surrender. Took me about three months to really get the feel for it…wow. Im still getting it, but when I *Do* find myself surrender, experiencing the miracles of surrender, real miracles occur. So much is different. I feel called to start writing about it. Your spot, this article is the first I have come across that comes closest to expressing my experience so far. I had to write just acknowledge this.

  2. James Alexander

    Divine Providence


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