Melissa Heisler

Surrender versus Outcome

In May I posted about The Power of Surrender.  At the time I was learning how surrendering means focusing one’s energy on their mission and passion instead of on tasks and to-do’s.  Surrender is also focusing on one’s heartfelt desires but not being caught up in what it will look like to manifest them.  Surrender is living in the bliss of one’s true purpose without regard to what the end result will be.  And at the time it was fun and easy because there were frequent tangible results helping me continue to surrender and have faith.  As usual, things change.

Melissa HeislerWhat is interesting is that things are still progressing and “wins” are coming out of seemingly nowhere, but it has become harder to recognize and celebrate the positive movement.  You see, I began to create my own expectations for outcome. I began to be specific in what I wanted to see and I created timelines and dates on when I wanted to see them.  As a result of my focus on what I wanted to see, my mood diminished.  Negativity, disappointment, and stress entered my life.  I had stepped out of the joy of doing in surrender and had moved instead into the discomfort of trying to make things go my way and expecting they would.  And worse yet, changing the way I worked to “force” them to go my way.

I can not express strongly enough how this brought me pain.  It changed my mood.  It changed the way I related to others.  It changed how I experienced each day.  It changed my desire and enjoyment in projects.  Overall, it was horrible.  I was not in joy.

At first I thought it was because things changed around me.  I could state a case for this, that or the other being the reason I was dissatisfied.  But hopefully you know by now our experience is the result of our thoughts not things.  Next I attacked the idea of surrender.  If I hadn’t surrendered I wouldn’t be in this situation and then I thought maybe I was wrong about this whole surrender thing.  Further and further I went down the rabbit hole of negative thought, expectation, disappointment, and judgment.

I was pulled from the abyss by talking to a friend.  The friend saw that I was doing what I was doing for others, not myself.  This was true, and has been my modus operandi for my entire life, but this time I realized something more.  It was not because I was acting for others that I received pain.  I would have had this same pain had I acted for myself.  No, the pain came from the meaning I put on my expectations.

Expectations or a specific desired outcome is not harmful in itself.  The harm comes from labeling the expectation.  If I don’t get X then, I am not smart, I am not successful, I am letting others down, I’ll never get to where I want to be, life isn’t fair, etc.  Pain is not from receiving a desired outcome or not, but it is from what we deem the result to mean.  This goes back to experience being the result of our thoughts.  I had added meaning to events and the meaning is what pulled me down.  True surrender is viewing life as it is without adding in our interpretation.  Surrender is living without judgment.

Take a look at your own life.  Identify where you are currently experiencing pain.  Now look not at the situation but look at the meaning you place on the situation.  See if you can change the meaning and therefore change your experience.