Giving Up v. Surrendering

“I give up.”

Have you said this before?  I know I have.  To give up is to relinquish all power, usually done in frustration or anger.  This is the point where we walk away, from ourselves, from our efforts, and from others.  Many times, our body language exhibits our frustration.  We throw our hands into the air and shake our heads, a frown or scowl adorning our faces.  “I give up” is the last gasp of patience.  It’s when we feel out of control of a situation or a relationship that we utter the words.  It means, I feel helpless and there’s nothing more I can do.  Giving up comes with a sense of defeat and despair, a sense that we just don’t have the resources to fight the battle any longer.  It’s beyond our abilities.  It’s a passive reaction to intense circumstances.

Giving up is weakness. When you give up, you are exasperated. When you give up, you slam the doors shut. When you give up, you delve into the depths of despair.  When you give up, you allow the situation to defeat you.

Some have the ability to remain in the fight much longer than others.  It depends on the tools we have at our disposal, those tools being information and learning we obtained as we came of age, the ethics and tenacity that might have been instilled in us by those who helped raise us.


“I surrender.”  

The act of surrendering is strategic.  In spite of the history of the word’s meaning, “surrender” does not mean ‘to give up,’ not in the same way.  To surrender means to give over to circumstances in want of better information.  Surrendering is a temporary state that acknowledges that we do not know everything, but we do know that if we’re patient and observant, we will have the information we need to make better choices in time.  It implies a state of waiting, of continued patience, and the knowledge that we cannot control everything in our world.  Surrender does not imply giving up unless one allows surrender to become complacency.  When we surrender because we’re too lazy and complacent to proceed, that’s simply another form of giving up.  Surrender means that we have a strategy, but we must accrue more knowledge before we can implement a course of action.  Surrender is willful and proactive.  It shows a deep intelligence of ourselves and a self-awareness of our actions.  Learn the differences between giving up and surrendering.  Educate yourself to recognize when you’re on the verge of giving up and use that frustration to guide your decision toward a state of temporary surrender.  When you surrender, you remain engaged.  You’re choosing your role in any given situation rather than throwing your hands in the air in frustration.  Surrender indicates that you choose not to participate in heightened drama.  You allow it to flow past and around you, like a boulder in a stream.

Surrender is strength.  When you surrender, you are calm. When you surrender, doors open. When you surrender, you soar to unforeseen heights.  When you surrender, you allow yourself to go with the flow of the situation.