Surrendering to Yourself for Improved Mental Health

July 17, 2023 Joanna Satterwhite

Sometimes you need to surrender to yourself. I learned this recently in the most unusual way. To jump right into it: I can't orgasm. Well, that's not entirely true. I can orgasm by myself with relative ease, but I can count the number of times I've orgasmed with another person on one hand, and most of those occasions have been helped along by technology. For a long time, I figured it was just my anatomy; some bodies were built to orgasm, but mine was not. I had other things going for me—it was what it was. 

Recently, though, I've realized that my issue goes far beyond anatomy. Over the past couple of months, I've been on a healing quest. With quite a bit more time than I'm used to, I've been dredging up things I've put aside for years in the name of expediency. These things run the gamut from physical issues, like an inflamed thoracic back, to relational, like my fundamental distrust of men. My inability to orgasm wasn't on that list until my boyfriend suggested it ought to include it. This wasn't selfish on his part but analytical. Often the target of my distrust, he recognized a connection between my presumptions about how heterosexual relationships end up and my serious dearth of pleasure. Perhaps my problem wasn't anatomical but emotional. With this new perspective, I started to explore, and part of what I explored was surrendering to myself. 

The Spiritual Sources of Physical Ailments and Surrendering to Myself

What I found was shocking. My incapacity was emotional, no doubt—I had learned at a very young age to associate anything that smacked of sexuality with shame and grew up believing that sexuality could not be reconciled with wholesomeness and virtue—but it was more than that. It was spiritual. It came right down to the core of me. 

Through myriad journal entries and conversations with myself, I came to discover that there was a part of me so extremely guarded that even I couldn't access it. For years, I'd been trying to trust and surrender myself to my partners, but I couldn't because I hadn't yet learned to trust and surrender to myself. I asked myself why, but I didn't have to wonder for long. I hadn't proved very trustworthy.

My list of grievances against myself was long. I'd let myself believe what other people said about me, owning my identity as a chubby, boyish, unkempt little girl with a voice too deep to ever be feminine; I'd starved myself into a more suitable form, and when my body finally began insisting upon more fuel, I'd gorge it on junk food until the point of nausea, blame it for its "cravings," and punish it with self-flagellation; I'd given my body away to men I didn't really care about solely for their approval; I'd pushed it far past the point of exhaustion, training it into injury and nervous system fatigue. I'd been a horrible steward to myself for most of my life. It was no wonder this deeper part of me kept the doors locked against me. 

Surrendering to Myself

So about a week ago, I did the only thing I could do. I apologized. I owned up to my neglect, and I explained how everything I'd put it through was because of fear. I'd been trying to keep it on a path to keep it safe, and in so doing, I'd made it feel unsafe. I accepted the title I'd earned: my own worst enemy. I told it I was surrendering myself to it. It wasn't going to happen overnight, but with enough dedication, it would happen. 

I can't tell you that everything's solved, but I can tell you that doors are opening. I've put myself back into my body, and results are beginning to trickle in. With a long-distance boyfriend, I've no clue if my spiritual re-alignment will have its initially-intended effect, but the truth is, I don't care anymore. Surrendering to myself was for myself and no one else. Not yet, at least. It feels good to be back in my own fantasies. 

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2023, July 17). Surrendering to Yourself for Improved Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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