“A sister is worth one thousand friends.”- Unknown
”A sister is both your mirror and your opposite.”- Elizabeth Fishel
“Sweet is the voice of a sister in the season of sorrow.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“Is solace anywhere more comforting than that in the arms of a sister?” – Alice Walker
I have certainly been in a season of solace. I’ve been faced with chronic health issues. Depression. Questioning my self-worth. I’ve wrestled with things I’ve never blogged about— and may never do so. In times like this, you need someone to reach out to. Someone who will always be there, no matter what.
Friends tend to come and go in these seasons. That’s the hard reality of living with chronic illness. Some friends have a difficult time being there for someone who is so unwell.
That’s okay. It’s natural, and we have to give them grace. After all, there are certainly friendships that I have let fall by the wayside. People I have hurt. That’s the natural consequence of living with a mental health issue, and just growing and maturing in general. Your friend circles change.
The one friend who has stuck by me through it all is my sister. Happy birthday, Allie. This post is for you.
About my sister
I became a big sister on December 4, 1987 at the tender age of 22 months. Man alive, I had no idea what I was in for.
I think no matter how old you are when you become a sibling, there is really no way to adequately prepare. You could read a million books and never be ready for the rollercoaster of emotions.
It’s like an episode of “Game of Thrones.”
There’s envy. There’s hatred. Sometimes, there’s resentment. But there’s also the purest, sweetest love mixed in.
Where there’s eye rolls, mean gestures, and slammed doors, there are also giggles, and tears streaming down your face with laughter, and incomparable memories.
We’ve definitely had our ups and downs over the years. There were so many times I resented Allie growing up. She was healthy, she got better grades, she was pretty.
I spent a lot of times wishing my parents could see me the way they saw her. (Or rather, like I imagined they saw her.)
Despite the innate sense of competition that comes with being a sister (Remember the Ever After contest, Allie?), there also came with it a friendship that is unparalleled.
We were maids/matrons of honor at each other’s weddings.
She comforted me while I cried over our grandmother.
She has stayed by my side through massively diverging religious beliefs.
She’s comforted me through insecurities I never thought I would go through.
There is no one like her.
The benefits of having a sister
According to an article on Bustle, there are 8 massive benefits of having a sister:
- Having a sister makes you a nicer person, according to a 2010 study. Brothers were also beneficial, but they saw that nothing compared to having a sister.
- A study through Brigham Young University saw that people with sisters felt less negative emotions. They don’t even need to be close in age.
- The same BYU study showed that people with sisters felt more loved than people without.
- Research shows that having a sister makes you less likely to get divorced, and every additional sibling reduces your odds by 2%.
- I thought this was especially interesting: “Not only do the siblings benefit from the presence of a sister, but so does the entire family: Families with at least one daughter are more likely to engage in conversation and express emotions, whereas sons tend to have the opposite affect.”
- Men with sisters are better at talking to women! They grow up with a better sense of empathy.
- Another study (this time through the University of Ulster) discovered that people with sisters are more independent and goal-oriented.
- Finally, having a sister makes you more psychologically balanced.
Don’t have a biological sister?
I really feel like there is no true replacement for having a sister by blood. However, if you are not so fortunate, there are definitely relationships you can foster that can come close.
- Step siblings
- Half siblings
- Sorority sisters
- Childhood friends
- Family friends
- Fellow church members
Taking regular time to nurture these relationships can provide some of the same benefits as having a biological sister. They are so special and can add so much meaning to your life.
Although, I’m a bit biased and would say nothing truly compares.
There is nothing like a sister
My sister means the world to me. My sister means the world to me. We might be very different people, light years apart in many respects. We might believe in vastly different things, but that’s okay. It’s wonderful even, we can complement each other and help each other grow.
But we are each other’s mirror images. I am dark where she is light.
She is hopeful when I’ve lost all hope.
She accepts me where I can’t yet accept myself.
Allie is my sister, and I couldn’t ask for a better friend. Happy birthday, Allie! I hope this is the best year of your life. Except for the the year you got me as a sister.
Do you have a sister? Which of these benefits of having a sister speaks to you the most?
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