"Sweet Surrender" as written by and Sarah Mclachlan....
It doesn't mean much
It doesn't mean anything at all
The life I've left behind me
Is a cold room

I've crossed the last line
From where I can't return
Where every step I took in faith
Betrayed me
And led me from my home

Sweet surrender
Is all that I have to give

You take me in
No questions asked
You strip away the ugliness
That surrounds me

Are you an angel
Am I already that gone
I only hope that I won't disappoint you
When I'm down here on my knees

Sweet surrender
Is all that I have to give (who are you?)

Sweet surrender
Is all that I have to give

And I don't understand
By the touch of your hand
I would be the one to fall
I miss the little things
I miss everything about you

It doesn't mean much
It doesn't mean anything at all
The life I've left behind me
Is a cold room

Sweet surrender
Is all that I have to give (who are you?)

Sweet surrender
Is all that I have to give

Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Sweet Surrender" as written by Sarah Mclachlan

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Sweet Surrender song meanings
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  • +5
    Song MeaningIs it possible she is singing about and to her past and present selves? The past self being a person who was more egoistic--lost, empty, living life in a meaningless, self-destructive, possibly addictive way; and the present self being more evolved physically/mentally/spiritually--more whole and healed. More like her "Higher Self" or even some sort of spirit guide, if you will, that she is choosing to surrender her Ego to, since living the old way was "a cold room where every step I took in faith betrayed me...". Misplaced faith in her Ego vs. faith in something bigger than herself. Now she wants to live up to the guidance of her Higher Self or spirit or whatever ("...are you an angel?...I only hope that I won't disappoint you...").

    Yet she acknowledges that even tho' she caused her own downfall, she still sometimes misses/is haunted by parts of her old self and her old way of life (...and I don't understand, how the touch of your hand, how I would be the one to fall.... I miss the little things, I miss everything about you). This all leads to a bit of an identity crisis: "Who are you?", she asks herself repeatedly, as she crosses the line into a new way of living, a new identity.

    Still, when all things are considered, the old existence "doesn't mean much" except that it cracked her open and gave her the humility that led to her "sweet surrender" where all she has to give is her old self/Ego, casting off old beliefs that didn't work, so she can become her true, higher, more angelic self. This seems to fit with the theme of the video as well; but, of course, I have no idea what was really going on in her head when she wrote it. I don't know if what I've just written will make sense to anyone else. Nonetheless, this is how I like to think of the song.
    blondweezlon September 21, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    I always took this song to be about someone who had been in an abusive, lonely relationship that they tried to stay with and make work but eventually left. She felt so unlovable that the love of someone new totally surprises her and leaves her feeling afraid of disappointing him. She is so damaged by her past that all she is able to do is surrender to her new lover and let him teach her how to love again.

    Great song... lovely voice!
    s0nsparkon January 06, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like this song quite a bit too.

    I think it's about dying and "crossing the last line." It is someone discovering the afterlife. It was very different from what she expected/was taught to believe ("when every step I took in faith betrayed me..."). At the same time, it is something wonderful and peaceful. She realizes that everything that happened in her life "didn't mean much," and doesn't matter here.

    I like the idea that the afterlife is probably something completely different than what any of the religions think, because, let's face it, they are just guessing.

    dhavalon June 13, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSweet surrender refers to how there comes a point in some peoples' lives where they lean on a person or group of people who are accepting and welcoming. They often come at a point where there is nothing left of that person, nothing to hide, no means for covering up the negative aspects of their personality, and come with nothing but the ability to surrender everything to the one who is helping them.

    I read that info from an old interview w. McLachlan at the time of the albums release. Every song can be defined in our own terms though. To me it sounded like it had a hint of evangilization within it. Beautiful, timeless song no matter how you interpret it.

    starbar78on March 02, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment2 ex-lovers meet again sometime after their parting...they still have things left unfinished in between them. to me she is saying that she has gone away for the wrong reasons, that the life she tried to build without him never worked...never felt like home....and after trying to deny it for soo long, she simply cant run anymore, and "sweet surrender" is all that can offer...at the same time, still doubting herself while asking for forgiveness..."i only hope that i wont disappoint you while im down here on my knees"
    jenregan7069on January 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is about coming to a point in your life when nothing seems to work out, and the only thing you can do is let go and let the current take you wherever it goes.
    Bobathinon August 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm usually no good at seeing a deeper meaning into a song, and I tent to take most at face value, but in this case, I think they are similar.

    To me, this song is a journey from a past relationship that ended badly, but she has blocked out:

    'It doesn't mean much
    it doesn't mean anything at all
    the life I've left behind me
    is a cold room
    I've crossed the last line
    from where I can't return
    where every step I took in faith
    betrayed me
    and led me from my home'

    That then leads to a one-night stand:

    'You take me in
    no questions asked
    you strip away the ugliness
    that surrounds me
    are you an angel
    am I already that gone
    I only hope
    that I won't disappoint you
    when I'm down here
    on my knees' [She feels low about herself and he doesnt see that and she hopes he doesnt find her a crap shag because this is part of her moving on from the past]

    The chorus just emphasises the idea of having nothing to give him but sex, which to her is a surrender, because it has bad reminders of the past to her.

    the next bit is where she suddenly realises she might have fallen for this new guy, and misses everything:

    'And I don't understand
    by the touch of your hand
    I would be the one to fall
    I miss the little things
    oh I miss everything'

    The last bit (same as 1st verse) goes back to her wanting to forget about all things in the past to do with relationships and suggests to me that she didn't persue her one-night stand to anything more than just that, because it becomes another thing she wants to forget about and walk away from.

    Izzy222on November 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe meaning that works for me is finding god/consciousness/ocean and dying to the self. Allusions to 'falling' "being an angel" (dead but still walking the earth), etc. One cannot return to ignorance and ultimately surrender is the only option.
    kayakron June 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanyone got ideas about this song?
    silverpuppiezon June 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is my favourite song. It simply expresses the courage of letting go af all that which hurt you, betray you and mistreated you, to embrace something unknown with will and joy!
    catvoogdon June 04, 2002   Link

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