To persevere and to let go are both needed in life. How do you know which is best for you, and when?
- "Never give up."
- "You don't want to be a quitter, do you?"
- "You've got to fight for your right to party."
The above are all messages that we hear commonly in our society (minus the last one; I can't resist making musical references.) At the same time, there is a growing understanding of the value in "surrender" and "going with the flow." Spiritual traditions and practices often speak to the benefit of surrendering.
Both mindsets are needed because life requires our active engagement. We play a role in the facilitation of things happening. Yet, we only have so much control over the outcomes of our actions and interactions. As such, it can be beneficial for us to recognize when our efforts and struggles aren't going to produce for us the results we want, and we instead need to surrender to the present reality of the situation.
Below is a 5-step process you can use when you're feeling stuck between choosing to persevere in the current direction or to surrender to something unforeseen to us.
1. Be Still
Take time to be still and to fully allow yourself the opportunity to reflect upon the situation. What do you observe? What do you think about the situation? How do you feel? At this stage, I find it beneficial to mindfully engage in some sort of creative activity because it can help in more deeply connecting with the real experience.
2. Review Your Options
Identify the pros and cons of maintaining the status quo. Is there more to be learned from persevering in the situation which could positively contribute to your personal growth? This is where it might become clearer if we're simply wanting to avoid doing more hard work.
3. Dig Deep
Uncover the essence of what it really is that you want. This tends to be more about a general concept, such as "security" or "acceptance," as opposed to situational specifics. For example, you may be having difficulty finding a job that meets a specific list of requirements, such as the "right" benefits, schedule, etc. By recognizing the essence of what those requirements represent (such as stability or flexibility), you might realize that other unknown possibilities may exist for being able to meet the underlying desire.
4. Take Time To Reflect
With that recognition, reflect on ways in which the core essence of what you've been working for could be achieved in other ways. Remain open and receptive to what messages you receive. This is again where some form of mindfully-done creative activity can be helpful. By activating your entire being in creativity without focusing on solving a problem, it can be possible to receive deeper insight in a non-anxiety inducing way. This activity is simply about envisioning possibilities and not demanding answers.
5. Make A Choice
Choose to continue holding on or letting go, based on your objective conclusion. Whatever you decide to do, trust that everything is moving toward the greater and highest good. By engaging in this process, you will have engaged in truthful, heartfelt reflection. Personal growth and valuable insights are inevitable.