“Why can’t you be more like your sister?”
Does this phrase sound familiar? I believe most of us can relate to it. Even if you’ve never vocalized it, I believe we have all struggled to deal with the sense of insecurity. Well, my situation seems to spell out the perfect recipe for a title like “101 ways to be insecure”.
My sister and I bear great resemblance in physical appearance (or at least in the eyes of others). My habits, behavior and even preferences for fashion and food are similar to hers. Not to mention, my church mates would perpetually “mistake” me for my sister and call me Ruth in amusement. To top it off, I would be more often first introduced as “This is Ruth’s younger sister”. “Hmmm…” Indeed.
So how did I fare against this?
Surprisingly, I have to declare that I dealt with it pretty well. In fact, the feeling of inferiority when compared to my sister has never been a major issue to me. I have no qualms about being first introduced as “Ruth’s younger sister” because it is a fact that I fully acknowledge.
While each individual’s response differs, I believe that a great part of the answer for me lies with my upbringing – my family.
Up till now, I have yet to recall a memory in which my parents have pulled the compare tactic in disciplining me. Perhaps they made a conscious effort not to, or it just wasn’t the right setting due to our age difference of eleven years. Either way, my parents groomed me as an individual through discipline, love and encouragement. This is definitely not to boast of my background, but I believe my security is a strong testimony of how a child’s life could be affected by the parents’ method of disciplining.
But, this is not to say that I have never struggled. Admittedly, there are many times that I have bought into the lie that I could never be good enough, or even measure up to my sister.
My sister was the older “jiejie” that we kids admired greatly – pretty, many “gorgors” chasing her, social butterfly, sporty with a bright deposition, compassionate and kind. Much of this was compared to my more angst-y teenage years – struggling in identity, finding friends, and looking very “toot” with my middle parting and pimple-infested skin. Yet, even at that juncture, my heart had rarely allowed jealously to seep into my heart. Why? Because my sister had always remained very real and transparent as a person. As perfect as she seemed, she had flaws, which caused her to stumble and make irrevocable mistakes that she was open to share with others. Thus, I didn’t have a warped perspective of her being a perfect being, because she was as human as I.
So in the many times I am compared to my sister in my daily life, I don’t feel inferior. Isn’t it only natural that we have many similarities, seeing that we are sisters? I am proud to say that my sister inspires me. Perhaps the way I resemble her in my actions, habits and styles are all unconscious influences from her, but then again, it could well be genetics.
However, that does not mean that I have lost my individualism, for I know I was created to be beautiful and unique in a different way. My sister could never be exactly like me, nor I like her.
This guest post comes courtesy of Rachel Kan, a former intern with Focus on the Family Singapore and university undergraduate.