If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. ~Linda Sunshine
Let me give you a little background before I launch into my blind-leading-the-blind advice about sisterly bonding. Little me was born into a family with four older siblings in their mid teens, I was the baby and treated as such. Having just turned four, I'm pretty sure I was envious of my new sister. I'm the type of person, even now, that adores the center of attention. I don't strive to put myself in it the way some do, but when I find myself there, I am quite content. Therefore, I was probably not so pleased when I received a little sister, her adorable chubby cheeks and little tiny toes stealing all of my attention. I had a problem with tattle tailing and she had an issue with biting. Who knew that adorable face could cause so much damage! Though we had some great moments, we could have had a lot more if I had been able to share. If I'd been happier with myself and didn't feel the need to put her down. But, as we all know, this blog isn't about the past. It's about the PRESENT. And being positive in the moment, right now. So while I can't go back to the days when my sister tortured me and I provoked her, I can do this: I can work on being a better sister right now. I can work on strengthening the bond between us and undoing whatever pain I may have caused her. Here are my ideas for building a better relationship with my sister(s).
Four ways to strengthen relationships with your siblings:
Let the past go.
This is a LOT easier said than done (especially if you were the one that was hurt more often in the past), but, as I've stated It's not coming back. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt us or cause pain, but it's over. Consistently dwelling on it really doesn't help anything. If you can't let it go, talk it out. Talking about it, getting it out on the table and into the open, might really help the relationship (even if it's painful). The quote "Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five" may be true, but siblings can work on forgiveness. Forgiveness, like most worthwhile things, takes work and consistency.
Acknowledge the now. You are a different person than you were when you were a child. You have changed. Your sibling has changed. Be aware of that. I've often thought "If we weren't sisters, would we be better friends?" Sadly, I think we would. Try to think about who you are now and try, if you can, to think of your sibling as a friend.
Be open to communication. Listen to each other and really try to understand what the other wants from you. Maybe one of you wants to be BFF. Maybe the other would rather have very limited contact. Try to find a compromise and, to do this, you have to communicate. Communication really is KEY.
Look for the positive.
I bet you could see this one coming a mile away, but it really is important so I couldn't leave it out. If you've read this far, you obviously have a desire for a good relationship with your sibling so stop thinking and focusing on the things that bother you. Think, instead, of the things you love and enjoy about them. I'm going to start right now on this one. Here are some things I really love about my younger sister: she gets so excited about silly things (like spiders and cars), she has the BEST laugh in the whole world, she is fiercely loyal and loving, she calls me out on things that no one else has the nerve to do and always supports my music and writing.