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Tiny Wisdom: Stop Fighting and Be Easy

“If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There was a time when I was full of angst, and desperate to unleash it.

Since I felt misunderstood in some of my relationships, I’d fight battles I knew I wouldn’t win and then only consider letting go after a mini emotional break down.

I needed to tire myself out in order to surrender. I needed to fully defuse my distress to give myself some peace. Though I wouldn’t have admitted it, I was addicted to that drama. It was only when I broke down that I felt any relief.

Most of the time, I carried my anguish in my body, like a thick layer of nerves right below the surface. I was a constantly bubbling volcano, eager to erupt.

I no longer fight through life in this way, but there are times when I feel a pervasive sense of alarm, a low-level sense of nervousness that is lessened but not fully eliminated through meditation.

It’s usually when responsibilities and deadlines are piling up, and I worry that it won’t all get done.

But the thing is: It always does. And it’s not usually because of worrying, over-analyzing, or any other type of stressful mental activity.

Things get done because I am capable—not because I fight to finish.

What I’ve learned is that surrender doesn’t have to follow battle. It doesn’t have to be a side effect of exhausting ourselves in some way, mentally, physically, or emotionally.

Surrender is a choice to be easy, to nurture a sense of inner calm that can carry us through even the most difficult circumstances.

It’s choosing not create drama where it doesn’t need to be, and realizing life doesn’t have to feel like a series of conflicts and crises.

It’s letting go of the need for control and realizing that, whatever happens, we’ll be okay.

It’s easier to say, “Be easy,” than it is to actually do it, ironically, because it takes effort to stop expelling so much effort—to refrain from spinning in circles in our heads and simply take life as it comes at us.

The good news is that we have countless opportunities to practice easing in the moment.

It helps when we remember: Our power isn’t in our ability to fight life. It’s in recognizing when we don’t have to struggle.

Photo by Rob Larson

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook seriesTiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself, and Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions. She's also co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow on Twitter & Facebook.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Kyah

    I needed this wisdom. Thank you for the reminder to just be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Fischer/725916507 Sarah Fischer

    That last line, “Our power isn’t in our ability to fight life. It’s in recognizing when we don’t have to struggle.” is going to stay with me :)

    Love,
    Sarah

  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

    I’d like to add more to this. Not necessary. Your wisdom is complete in every way.

    Irv

  • Lisa R Charles

    I agree!!

  • LLR

    Wow.. Thank you for this..

  • http://www.suntra.ca inderpal wig

    Thank you Lori. I always appreciate your insights on just stepping “out of the picture” and really noticing and observing where we’re at to fully enjoy and be present in the moment, with acceptance, vs. resistance. 

  • Joice

    Lori, I can relate so much to that. I feel that I know in my mind that this is how I should be – easy – but many times it is not easy being easy. But I try to improve. Slowly, but at least, improving.

  • http://asmalladjustment.com/ Christopher Frawley

    Outstanding.  It reminds me of my mother’s mantra (even though I’m sure she never knew what that meant):  “Things will all work out in the end.  They always do.”  Yes, it seems so simple as to be kind of silly.  

    She used that so many times when situations were very challenging and it was just as you stated, a reminder to let go of the struggle and be easy – it will work out.  Thanks for expanding the idea so nicely.

  • http://www.zencaffeine.com/ Kaylee

    I really needed to read this, Lori. I’ve been falling into my old patterns a bit lately – the same ones you describe, actually – and I’m a bundle of nerves. I’m gonna try my best to relax into the moment and “be easy.” It’ll all be okay. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Tiffany Howard

    I appreciate this a lot…I was agonizing today, wondering “why can’t I just FINISH this assignment? Why do I always struggle so much just to FINISH??” And then I saw today’s Tiny Buddha subject line in my inbox. It’s like you were speaking directly to me. The truth is though, I don’t know know how to stop the inner drama….I don’t know how to stop struggling. I’ve been doing it for so long, I struggle even when there isn’t even any need to. To the point where I look at a writing assignment I have to do…one that I will be paid for…and I could almost break down in tears because it seems overwhelming for some reason. Then I exhaust myself from worrying over my percieved inability. When you wrote that things get done because I am capable, I got teary eyed because I have such a hard time believing this about myself. :(

  • Lv2terp

    Thank you for this blog, FANTASTIC!!! I am really good at this behavior of causing turmoil from my need to control, then the conflict does lead to more surrender and letting go a bit more each time…so bizarre!!!  I hope to eventually make it to the outcome you speak of, and  leave out all the middle stuff! Smile. Thank you Lori, I really appreciate your website!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome. I appreciate that I have a space to have these conversations, as it helps me as well!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean Joice. There are days when I struggle with this idea of not struggling, and other days when I let go more easily. We’re all works in progress. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! That’s a wonderful mantra, and something my boyfriend’s been saying a lot lately. I realized he’s right…things always work out, one way or another. 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad this was helpful to you. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I understand what you mean. Sometimes I doubt my capabilities, too. Let me ask you this: Have you finished projects in the past, when you originally didn’t think you would? Have you done hard things and found yourself feeling impressed? And if you answered yes to either of those questions, does that give you a sense of confidence in what you can do? 

    These questions have helped me a lot lately. I’ve been nervous about my second book, which I’m starting next week, because I know how much work will be involved, and I feel somewhat overwhelmed. But I felt the same way with the first one, and everything worked out just fine.

    Have things worked out for you before in much the same way?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! That middle stuff can be so stressful. I’ve been there many times before!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Irving. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad you found this helpful Sarah. =)

  • Bluventures

    Oh Tiffany, it breaks my heart to read that you have a hard time believing in yourself. That worrying alone is taking up so much of your energy and not allowing room for the passion that you obviously have for writing. The one thing you said in your post that made a difference to me about you is when you were even worried about the ones you are getting paid for. The fact alone that people are wanting to pay you for your work should make you feel proud and that you are accomplishing things. The biggest thing I stress to my friends and family that get overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion is to…just breathe. Literally step back, sit down and breathe deep, and blow out the tension. Go take a walk outside, that is if your not in the killing heat area like I am. Do something that you enjoy that has nothing to do with writing, even if it’s only for a few minutes and you feel the tension ease. Try to remind yourself though to always breathe slower and deeper, even when you are working. Breathing will help you stay connected to the passion of your work instead of the drama. If you feel the drama then try and recognize that your breathing is short and shallow and your confidence becomes more shallow with it. You are capable…breathe, connect with it, and believe it. Hold on to that feeling.

    I believe it ;)

    Jacquellyn

  • Jonathan

    Hi Lori…thanks for this. The anxiety part resonates in particular. Sometimes it just eats away at me. And in the moment it can be all consuming. But I am learning not to fight it, or any emotion for that matter because the more i fight it, the stronger its grip on me. So I just try to let the feeling happen. Be with it for awhile. Then it passes.

  • Bret

    Thanks!

  • Tiffany Howard

     Thanks very much for this. I like what you said about my breathing being short and shallow being connected to my confidence being shallow as well.  It’s a good reminder. Just breathe. :) I try to remind myself that people find my work worth paying for. I don’t know why I can’t accept that. I’m working towards it though. Thanks so much for your reply. It feels good to know that someone cares enough to respond. :)

  • Tiffany Howard

     Thank you Lori. It does help to draw on past successes. And I have had them. It would help to think about them when I feel my confidence waning. I also think at times I’m too hard on myself and don’t give myself as much credit as I ought to. Not everyone can even make a part time living from writing….most people will never sell their writing at all. So what I am doing is pretty cool. :) I appreciate your response a lot. I wish you all the best with your next book!

  • Michmar118

    Thanks, Ryan.  I especially liked that quote that spoke that “Things get done because I am capable,…Not because I’m in a FIGHT to finish”….<3

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.gonzalez.71 Shannon Gonzalez

    I love the concept: “Surrender is a choice to be easy, to nurture a sense of inner calm that can carry us through even the most difficult circumstances.”  Something for me to work on in my daily life.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s something I work on too, Jonathan. Sometimes it’s hard to remember in an anxious moment, but everything passes eventually.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ipimen Melisa Pimentel

    I know someone that will find this very helpful.
    Me!

    Thanks for another great post Lori.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • Graham

    This is great stuff, Thanks for putting out such a helpful post to all us people who have bouts of anxiety and an unwillingness to give up control….control of what eh???  We have to as you say nurture the calm.

  • Lizkovacs73

    Thank you for this post. I feel like I have been fighting so much lately and have a hard time excepting what will come. I will try to follow this article more often. I have a hard time letting things go. It is go to know others have the same problem. Thanks so much :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Graham. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome–and you are definitely not alone with this problem!

  • Kelleepatra

    I relate very much to this! Well written and a great reminder of the benefits of surrender.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it! =)

  • Guest

    U r soo inspirational..especially to me at this time.. i fight everything…am like a hurricane inside my head..Thank you soo much for this blog.

  • Kathy

    I really loved the last line in your post too – profound. Worry is such a wasted emotion and whenever I look back on things I’ve worried and stressed over, or treated like I had to fight for them, I’ve realised all I’ve done is sap my energy and reduce my enjoyment. Of course I still worry needlessly, but I’m working on it!

  • Esti Wandari

    Miracle happens once we let go :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I needlessly worry at times too Kathy. We’re all works in progress!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. =)

  • Jennifer

    I really enjoyed this post, especially since one thing I’ve been working on a lot lately is just letting go and relaxing. Except even my efforts to let go and relax tend to be a struggle! Aargh! :p
    One thing that occurred to me as I read through the comments and thought about it some more is that a big roadblock to my ability to truly let go is my addiction to perfection. As long as I tell myself — consciously or not — that my efforts have to be perfect, then of course I’m going to be filled with anxiety. It’s hard to relax when the expectations are so high and there’s such a premium placed on performance. Now that this is more clear to me, I think I’ll have an easier time letting go. Did you hear that, Perfection? : I surrender.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I could relate to what you wrote in a big way Jennifer! I call myself a recovering perfectionist, because I know that a lot of my former stress came from that instinct (and that when I feel stress these days, it’s related to the same thing.) This is actually relevant to me today, as I just started writing my next book, and I haven’t felt very creative or connected this morning. Telling myself to surrender to the process…

  • http://twitter.com/Grownupkidsonly Joanna Warwick

    Hey Lori,

    Great post and Im sure is an issue for many.I struggled with this one too for a long time; having grown up with a family who were also addicted to drama, I naturally repeated it:

    ** “It’s choosing not create drama where it doesn’t need to be, and realizing life doesn’t have to feel like a series of conflicts and crises.”**

    I have found that learning to accept that I could give myself positive attention( love) instead of creating Negative attention (drama) for me to feel alive( and that I existed) was the key to my addiction.

    But like any addiction letting go of it was hard and took time. Instead of fighting it though I accepted it, as it had a purpose and slowly and consistently went about replacing it with what I really needed, so it became redundant and fell away. So everytime I felt like I wasnt alive( my fear of not existing) and would start to create drama, I consciously choose love & trust: letting go in my heart, praising myself and feeling the pleasure of it, therefore rewarding myself and feeling loved and that I mattered to me.

    Jo ;)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Jo,

    I could relate to what you wrote in a big way. Drama was a big part of my life as a kid, as well, and I also felt this need to maintain that sense of chaos to feel alive. What a great idea, to focus on giving yourself the positive attention you were seeking. Thanks for sharing your experience here. =)

    Lori

  • Steven Trehan

    I enjoyed reading this and thought I was alone worrier! Now I decide not to think about anything….

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad you enjoyed this Steven!

  • Nigel

    Hi Lori,
    I’m from Singapore and I came across the website and your articles have been added to my reading lists in my phone or iPad. I’m 25 this year, and I’ve been through a lot I guess. Death of a close friend from a traffic accident, my once-happy-family got broken up because of my Dad’s irresponsible move to focus his attention on someone outside the family and dealing with my mum’s occasional emotional outbursts which also led to her having breast cancer. Basically, I’m the mediator at home now; family arguments and situations have to get past me.
    I was a ticking emotional time bomb in me but I didn’t lash it out on my friends. I kept things in me, while fighting to keep my family together because I’m the only male figure left at home. I didn’t let it affect my school work. It was tiring and all I had was myself and a few good friends to keep me going. However it wasn’t enough. Not till recently when I had suffered a quiet breakdown within my room and I spoke to my friend about it. After that, when I sat down and read the articles recommended by my close friend, I realized I was trying too hard for something to happen overnight when I have to give myself time. I felt more positive every night whenever I read each article from you or others as well. Trust me, I’ve shared certain articles on my Facebook wall. =)
    I have tried to send an email to you but I can’t locate it. Nonetheless, thank you for the nice articles. They have become a mandatory part of my bedtime prep. =)
    Nigel

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Nigel,

    I’m so sorry to hear everything that’s happened. I can only imagine how difficult this has all been for you. I’m so glad the site has helped you find strength and hope amid all this turmoil.

    I wish you continued peace and healing. You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • Muhammad Muzammal Ahsan

    Changes to community costs, especially for knowledge, cannot be done in a straight line way or withou. local contractors

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    “It’s choosing not create drama where it doesn’t need to be, and
    realizing life doesn’t have to feel like a series of conflicts and
    crises.” This is something I need to remind myself more often since I still tend to fall in this pattern on a SUBCONSCIOUS level…

    By the way; Lori Didi…I know you must be really busy these days doing the site maintenance & helping others with publishing blogs & such with our TINY BUDDHA having grown a lot these past few years (its prob why you hardly write anymore)…but would love to see a return of TINY WISDOM blogs again…really miss reading them; they were beautifully written & spoke to me on a deeper level, often times when I most needed it. Hope you have been well!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much, Jeevan! I’m glad you enjoyed them.

    I actually stopped writing blog posts early last year for a couple of reasons. After sharing so much during the first few years of running the site, I felt a need for change. But also, I wanted to focus the site on the community, which was my original intention, and writing daily didn’t align with that goal.

    Perhaps I will start up with Tiny Wisdom posts again at some point, even if I post them less regularly. I appreciate knowing they’d be well-received.

    I have indeed been well, and I hope you’ve been great, too! =)

    Lori

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    I’m glad to hear it & yes, I do remember you saying “I wanted to focus the site on the community, which was my original intention, and writing daily didn’t align with that goal” a couple of times before. Would be looking forward to the TINY WISDOM blogs though, since I found our site through them from twitter a few years ago,& God knows how much this site has helped my perspective on life in the past few years & continue to do so. Also, were quick to read & I had no excuse to tell myself that I don’t have time to start/end a day with them..:)

    Btw; a while back…there was a blog in our site called, ‘De-stressing Dating,’ or something along those lines…someone commented on the blog saying that TINY BUDDHA is losing its essence these days! I understood her frustrations because even though, I think the overall message of that blog was about self-acceptance & not looking into romantic relationships for self-fulfillment…I got an eerie feeling too that the blog was a bit superficial and the blogger was using our site’s wider audience to self-promote her site which was called, “Why Men Leave,” or something like that. She also said that the blogger with that sort of name to her blog was using that to get women who feel ‘insecure’ about themselves to read her blogs & feel even more empty & something along those lines. I wrote to the frustrated reader that I understood where she is coming from & that the purpose of our site as the founder of the site, LORI have said in the past was to share each and every one of our life experiences/wisdom & there is no right & wrong…also, that it may not be fair to blame the whole site just because one may not be able to connect with a particular blog/writer…Strangely enough, my comment got deleted just after I wrote it?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Jeevan,

    I still see your comments on that post. Was there another that’s now missing? I didn’t delete anything from you.

    Regarding self-promotion, almost everyone who writes for the site has a blog, and many also offers book, eBooks, and courses. I try to keep the posts themselves focused on the stories and life lessons and reserve self-promotion for the bios, but generally, there is a connection between the content and the author’s work.

    I appreciate that you’ve shared your thoughts with me, as I value your feedback. =)

    Lori

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    Lori Didi…

    I know you do & I got the feeling that the author of the blog may have deleted my comment. From what I can remember…I did make a personal comment on the blog, which I believe is the one that’s still there. Even though, they may not have been the exact words…I believe what I just told you above about the disappointed reader and the comment I made on it, that was the one that got deleted! I do know that almost everyone who writes for our site has a blog & not everyone is gonna be able to relate to the blogs or to their personal sites & content…its only natural, we are humans with different upbringings & beliefs! Also, from my personal experience in our site for the past few years, most people who write blogs & comments in our site seems to be pretty authentic & seems to genuinely want to help each other out (Its one of the main reasons that this site is really special to me).

    While I do agree with you that for the most part, the content of blogs & personal info of writers usually are intertwined…there do seem to be some odd blogs more & more recently that seem to appear as though they are being written just for the sake of writing & ‘self-exposure.’ Its also usually in those blogs where I have read similar discontentment like the one I have mentioned above.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Jeevan,

    I am actually the only person who can delete comments; authors don’t have access to do that. Perhaps it was some sort of technical glitch!

    That’s my feeling about the contributors, too. In fact, I only accept posts from people who I feel have an authentic desire to share and help others.

    I’m glad the site is special to you, even if not every posts resonates as strongly.

    Thank you again!

    Lori

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    I understand & thanks for the clarification…:). By the way; take a look at this video…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCyhRCc2qhE I think its a really inspiring video to share in the Tiny Buddha ‘archives.’

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for the link–I will check it out!

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    Sorry, the video was removed for whatever reason…:(. It was called… “Sean Stephenson : The prison of your mind.”

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    No problem–thanks for sharing it anyways. =)

  • philip

    me too.