Whenever the word “surrender”comes up in a discussion about healing from divorce, everyone is very confused.
The word’s original meaning comes from the Old French “surrendre” meaning to give something up, to deliver over.
Surrender does not mean YOU give up. It means that there is something you are carrying that you can put down.
Another interesting definition is that surrender is the intersection between acceptance and change.
You may rant, ”Acceptance! Are you kidding? You want me to accept the terrible, hurtful things my ex has done. I want to be angry. I need to be angry.”
Yes, you do! Absolutely. For a while. The length of time you need to stay in this painful place is different for each of us. I wallowed there for what seemed like ages.
What makes it so hard to surrender?
Maybe we have defined ourselves by the story of how incredibly wronged we have been. If we give up the story, we feel we will lose our identity, but if we don’t surrender our story, we are already lost, for this story is not who we are.
Maybe we believe that if we let go of our rage, there will be nothing left of us, and we will disappear.
The pain of divorce can reawaken the grief of past traumas that we have never acknowledged or thought we had resolved. The work to heal them can feel overwhelming. We may be afraid that we will not survive what we find, and it is much easier to focus on another person than look inside ourselves.
We may proclaim, “I’m surrendering to my anger!” but surrender is about healing and anger is about hitting back.
How Can We Surrender?
We honestly and compassionately look at what is keeping us from moving forward and finding joy. We ask for help and reach out to a therapist, a trusted friend, a higher power. We journal, read self-help books, go for walks.
We are patient, for our old stories are familiar. They may leave and return when we least expect them, or they may stay with us and slowly fade.
We surrender to the image shimmering in the distance, reaching her hand out to us with love. We surrender for the person we want to be.