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Surrendering Isn’t Giving Up: Why We Need to Accept What’s Happened

Surrendering Isn’t Giving Up: Why We Need to Accept What’s Happened

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~Nathaniel Branden

I can still remember the last time I saw him, before everything went to hell. I held up my hand with the ASL sign for “I love you” through the window to him, as he mouthed the words back and got in his car to leave for work. I found out an hour later that he—my fiancé—had begun cheating on me a month before he had proposed.

He didn’t fight for me. Even when he was running away because of his own insecurities, he would always be there to fix it. It should have been a sign. However, he was too proud to confront me as I stood in front of him. He didn’t fight for me.

When I am hurt, I am impulsive and decisive. I am prone to pick up and go when things are getting too difficult emotionally. It works for a while…until it doesn’t.

So I moved again. Within three weeks, I was a New England-based home-owning, engaged woman and returned to Los Angeles as a single, renting, almost middle-aged, single chick.

Everyone around me waited patiently for the other shoe. They watched me closely, expecting me to start to cry while I was watching TV or lose it during dinner. But nothing of the sort happened, and that’s because I was completely dissociated from the environment around me. I didn’t accept any of the things that had happened.

A month later I received COVID. I can recall that I asked the Universe for help in purging my guts. I was at the mercy the Cosmos and in that total surrender, I learned to accept where I was and how it got me there.

Acceptance will find you in full surrender mode. I accepted that my relationship was over. I began accepting that I wasn’t in fact a failure because I was back in my hometown. I accepted that I would have to get up from the floor to start over.

Acceptance came with personal accountability. I chose to end my relationship when it was forced upon me. I decided to move across the country and sell my house. I made the decision to accept myself as I was, pick up the human shell from the bathroom floor, and move across the country. Move forward.

My instinct is to see the world in circles, rather than accept. We’ll obsess over why something happened, try to find ways to undo it, and exhaust ourselves trying to control the uncontrollable so we don’t have to admit defeat.

We mistakenly believe acceptance means we can’t feel how we feel—maybe angry or disappointed—or that we’ve given up. Worst yet, acceptance is a way of accepting what has happened.

But that’s not what acceptance means. It is simply accepting reality as it exists and allowing yourself to surrender rather than resisting. Are you losing your teaching job because of financial cuts It’s not okay, but it happened. You were left by your partner for someone twenty-years younger. It’s not good news, but it happened again. Your best friend was diagnosed with an incurable illness and is now suffering. It’s not okay. It happened!

Acceptance and acceptance of the situation does not automatically mean you should do nothing. At this moment, the past is over. Therefore, any action you take is only future planning. It is impossible to change the past. You can only accept it and move on.

My mind was tempted to retreat as my body became stronger over the next few days. I had to continuously remind myself that I had made these choices, and even though my brain didn’t want to acknowledge that it could do something to hurt itself, I repeatedly told it the situation to get it to finally sink in.

I sat in my office chair and looked around the apartment. Even though I had most of my stuff moved with me, it was still strange that nothing felt familiar.

I realized that for the months of being in this new space, I still felt like I was just visiting, and waiting to go home to my ex-fiancé. To cope with this new reality, I began to talk to myself.

“This is your apartment.”

“You live in Los Angeles.”

“You moved here two months ago.”

“You broke up with so-and-so and the relationship is over.”

“You are home.”

For twenty minutes I spoke out loud, repeating the phrases with different intonations until they settled into my brain. I haven’t had to do this again since then, and I don’t feel disconnected from my reality. I was finally able fully accept the circumstances of my life and to make the changes that I wanted.

Is it okay for my ex-partner to cheat on you? It is not. It did happen. It happened. And I can now say it without cringing at this thought. Does it make sense that he made me feel so unloved, that my trauma response sent me back to the west side? Nope, but at least I’m aware of it, and can do things to control my own reactions from here on out

All of this means that I am in control now, and it’s purely through taking accountability via acceptance of the situation. Acceptance was not just about surrendering to COVID during my treatment, but mindfulness and acceptance of the moment are what make it possible.

Whatever happened to you is not okay, but it’s okay to accept it. Acceptance doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means the opposite: You are strong enough to face the reality of the situation you’re currently in.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you forgive and forget what befell you, but rather that you understand where you are, how you got there, and that you now have the control to make a change.

And surrendering doesn’t mean you’ve given up. In actuality, it exemplifies that you’re willing to roll with the punches, trust something outside of yourself, pick yourself up off of the bathroom floor, and Move forward.

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Alexx Shaw

Alexx Shaw is a spiritual teacher, master herbalist, Reiki Master and 500-hour RYT. She also works as an energy healer. Her teachings are primarily focused on energy and Ego and information about the Soul Family. Her second book is in the works. Her teachings can be found on YouTube.

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