Try harder, do more, don’t give up — that’s the usual way. But what if I just surrendered and let life transpire without working so hard to make things happen?
Artem Voropay / 123RF Photo
I have a book of daily meditations that I try to read every morning. It’s a gentle and centering way to start my day. This morning, I randomly turned to a page I don’t recall ever seeing before, titled, “Making it Happen.” This was the first sentence: “Stop trying so hard to make it happen.”
Say what? Everything in my life has been about trying to make it happen. Fill in the “it” with whatever you want: getting a particular job, snagging a certain boyfriend, reaching a pinnacle of financial security, convincing people to do things my way (I call it “cooperate”), and on and on it goes.
And then I read: “Stop doing so much, if doing so much is not achieving the desired results or is wearing you out.” Wow! Talk about a “cosmic pick.” I thought you were supposed to try harder, push longer, and the difference between success and failure was that one last effort. Yet this little book is telling me to let go and surrender, to stop trying so hard to control it all — as if I truly had the power to control the universe in the first place.
Truth is, I often don’t achieve desired results and the effort to make things go my way is exhausting. I’ve spent my whole life coming up with “great” ideas of what’s best for me and everyone else — and then tried like crazy to make it happen. So as I read that page, I considered … dare I say … surrendering. But would it stick once I hit the freeway fired up with two cups of coffee?
This idea of making it happen is one that single people hear a lot when it comes to romantic relationships. Singulars are told over and over that it’s their job to make it happen. “You’ll never find anyone if you don’t put yourself out there,” coupled friends admonish. “Are you dating anyone?” “Have you tried Tinder?” “I hear speed dating works.” Then there are all the commercials and glossy magazine ads that urge us to “find love today” and warn us “don’t start the New Year alone” — as if finding a romantic partner or spouse depends entirely on how hard we search.
Join the right dating site or as many dating sites as possible, plunk down a few grand for a personal matchmaker or love coach, go to more speed dating or lock & key events, buy tickets to fancy singles meetups — work it baby, work it! If you’re single, it’s your own fault. You’re not trying hard enough!
Even if we’re enjoying our single life, with all the messages that tell us we’re not, it’s easy to see our singular status as a problem, one that can be solved by “making it happen.”
Sure, take some positive steps toward achieving your goals — whatever they are. But thinking about them so much, coercing, controlling, forcing and becoming exhausted in the process … well, according to what I was reading in my precious little book, it doesn’t work! Instead, do the footwork to achieve a goal — no matter what it is — in a state of relaxed peaceful harmony and then just let go and let what happens happen.
Now wouldn’t that be something, if I didn’t have to force things but rather let go of the results after doing adequate footwork and allow the future to unfold just as it will anyway? Waiting to see what happens, in a state of relaxed acceptance, instead of expending all of that energy controlling outcomes? Being content with the way things are instead of frustrated because they’re not the way I think they should be? Mmmmm, now that really would be something!
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2016 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.