Keep Yourself Open

This summer, we spent the month of July in Chicago.

My husband and I both grew up there, and wanted to make sure our daughter got lots of time with all her cousins, aunts, uncle and grandparents.

However, when we arrived, she had just turned 7 months and was hitting some serious stride with separation anxiety.

Mama couldn’t walk out of the room without her crying. Having someone else hold her was out of the question.

While it was of course hard on me since I could barely let her go, it was also tough on my parents, who we were staying with. Of course, all they wanted was to be able to cuddle this delicious, adorable babe!

Particularly with my dad, every time he would even walk towards her she would cry, even though she had spent a good deal of time with him before.

And while of course he understood, I am sure he felt sad that his very presence would send her to tears.

Have you ever known someone who, every time you approached them – even if not with words, they seemed to be saying to you, “Please don’t come near me?”

Or, even if they don’t intend that sentiment exactly, you just get a vibe that you should stay away?

Maybe you interpret their vibe to mean they don’t like you.

Maybe you think you are just better off not even trying.

Maybe you write them off because you think you will never be able to break through to them.

Or you disregard the relationship because it just takes too much work!

The truth is, you feel rejected by them. And that hurts.

We’ve all been there. And while I absolutely agree that you have to let go of some people for the good of your own emotional health, what would happen if you kept an open mind about these people who are seemingly closed off to you?

What would it look like if you stayed soft around them, instead of bristly?

What would it look like if you didn’t completely write them off but rather kept an open heart and open mind and tried to understand where they were coming from?

(While still maintaining your own connection to self, meaning not bending over backwards to please them!)

What was interesting is that each morning, my dad would come into my room where I would be playing with the baby.

He would walk over to her and just put his hand out to her.

In the beginning, she just would stare at him with a serving of side-eye, as if to say, “I don’t think so buddy.”

But every morning, he continued to show up to say hello.

He put no pressure on her.

He just wanted to say hi and tell her how much he loved her. And then he gave her space to have her reaction.

And wouldn’t ya know, by the fourth week (of course right before we were leaving), she was crawling over to him, practically begging him to pick her up to take her to the window to look outside.

He would do just that, then put her back on the bed and she would crawl right back over to him and ask to do it again.

It was truly amazing to watch the transformation.

Babies’ emotional states can change so quickly. But so can ours.

We can be hard towards someone in one moment and loving in the next.

We can be scared at times and then we can totally be trusting that life is working with us.

We can express that we don’t want anyone to come close and then change our minds and want a warm hug.

We all have the ability to change.

We can soften and be open, particularly when we were are being received WITHOUT judgment.

We can let someone in even after years of being closed off to them.

Do not write someone off just because they seem to be rejecting you. Keep in alignment with yourself, so you feel good, but perhaps you can keep your heart open to them as well.

If there is someone in your life who you feel pushes you away or who you think doesn’t like you, would you be willing to keep an open heart towards that person?

Would you be willing to let them have their experience and not get wrapped up in but rather remain open?

It’s amazing when someone transforms into someone totally unexpected. It’s like the sweetest surprise and it often begins with you being open to seeing them differently.

You’re turn. Tell me in the comments if you’ve had an experience where someone you thought didn’t like you or someone YOU didn’t like, turned into something much sweeter than you could have expected.

It’s good to share those stories. It keeps us on the lookout for more of them.

With love,

P.S. I haven’t forgotten to share my conception story with you. It’s taking me a while to write, but it’s coming, so keep an eye out!


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8 Responses to Keep Yourself Open

  1. Cristina says:

    Such an interesting reflection… I wonder if/ I wish I could be able to see people as babies and have the same patience, persistence or sweet approach towards them

  2. Janet says:

    Oh wow! The rollercoaster ride of my 29 year marriage has had difficult moments where I need to remember to soften, accept and love and those feelings will all eventually be reflected back on me. Thanks for the reminder with your story. Always learning!

  3. Carolyn says:

    This literally came at the perfect time. Wow! Its funny how with babies we tend not to take that kind of thing personally, we know they will usually vget past it, that they are just babies and sometimes that happens… but with others we tend to take it to heart. I am in a situation right now with some family members (husband’s side of the family) that I used to be really close with over the years I have been with my husband. Gradually over the past year we have been getting more distant, and in the past 9 months or so they just shut me out. (Over a few different reasons) I am the type of person who does not like confrontation or drama, I try to stay out of it because it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I was with them the other day with our families and I could just feel they didn’t want me there, wouldn’t even acknowledge me, etc. It just made me feel so awkward! And the funny thing is I even told my husband I would stay home to avoid that, and one of the other family members insisted I come, that the others (who are not fond of me) would be fine. This situation has not resolved but this is just a reminder for me to have an open heart and still show them love and kindess… they may come around eventually! If they don’t then oh well, I can still be okay. Thank you.

  4. Lorell says:

    I’m going through something like this with my teenage daughter who is being very difficult right now. We are still in the stage of working on it and I need to understand for myself how to”hold out my hand” in a way that makes sense for her. Thanks for giving me a nudge to not give up. I know she won’t be teenaged forever.

  5. Evonne says:

    Every time I read one of your emails it really resonates deeply with me, thank you 🙂
    My daughter was stuck to me when she was a baby so I really relate to this, but the reason it resonated so much is to do with a relationship that I have. Its the approach I am taking with my friend, so this really made me feel like I am on the right path. My tendency in the past was to pressure and I have recently taken a good long hard look at myself and why I was doing that. Its been a HUGE lesson for me, and I am still learning.
    Thanks again and I love the tone of your messages, very humble and at the same time very thought-provoking.

  6. Jan says:

    Thank you so much for your generous heart. This hit very close to home and I appreciate being reminded to love people where they are and let it be. It’s all working out after all…thank you:)))))

  7. Margot Hanley says:

    So beautifully written Erin. I am a life coach working with parents and family members of gender non-conforming children. I teach this same concept in slightly different terms. I love your beautiful example with the baby. Thank you!

  8. cherie says:

    Goodness doesn’t the universe send us what we need when we need it? This is such an apt example – so easy to accept and understand because of course your darling is a baby – but it is so true that it can be applied all around us.