The Story of Sisters, Patti & Sally
Two sisters in their 40’s were sitting in a coffee shop one Sunday
afternoon in Tampa, FL, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. They’d been
vacationing together for the past week. Though they’d been having
a great time soaking up the rays, Sally was beginning to get on
Patti, the older sister by 2 years, wasn’t used to spending that much
time with Sally, and she found her to be such a slob, never picking
up her dishes or trash. She always flew by the seat of her pants,
slept in until 11am, and was generally an irresponsible person for 41.
Patti felt like if it wasn’t for her planning fun things to do, like the
dinner cruise they took, they wouldn’t do anything but sit around
and stare at each other.
She was observing Sally now, who had a blank stare on her face,
her piercing blue eyes some place else. She always was the prettier
sister with the long blond hair and slender figure.
As her jealousy and resentment grew, Patti venemously spewed
out, “What are you going to do with your life when you get home
from vacation? How are you even affording to be here?!”
This cutting comment took Sally off guard and she replied
hurtfully, ”What’s gotten into you? You know I’m looking for a job
and have been for the last two months. I’ll continue to search.
I’d had some money saved for this trip which we planned a year ago.”
Patti apologized for being so curt with her, but Sally’s guard
was now up. Both of them stewed the rest of the day, and any
sense of closeness and connection that was cultivated over the
last few days was gone.
This is how resentment works. We carry it around, and we don’t
share what is really going on for us. We get in a foul mood,
start to feel angry or frustrated, and we often take this out on
the innocent people around us.
Some people like Patti are proud of their ability to “tell it
like it is,” to be a straight-shooter, direct and to the point.
When alone, Patti asked herself what was bothering her. She
realized she was anxious about going back home to all of
her responsibility, a high demand job, two teens, and an
Instead of sharing with Sally her true concerns, she got on
her sister’s side of the street. Focusing on other’s stuff is a
convenient distraction when we don’t want to deal with our
own life matters. Ouch. But true it is.
Further, a more effective way to connect with people is to
be authentically kind. This is quite the practice. It challenges
us to honestly communicate our thoughts and feelings AND
be kind at the same time.
It has us look honestly at what we are activating in another
human being by our words and energy, not with harsh self-
recrimination but with curiosity.
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Jean Jacques Rousseau
To paraphrase a well-known saying, I have met wisdom
and I have met kindness; kindness is better.
Wisdom is profound and we are impressed by it, but kindness
is both profound and simple. It warms the soul long after it
is experienced. Kindness is at the very heart of what it means
to be human….
For Today: Kindness to myself and others is a hallmark of
(December 9 passage from For Today—OA literature)
If Patti had communicated how she was feeling anxious
about going back home and why, the outcome would have
been so much different. The connection would have remained.
When I speak of authentic communication, it usually implies
we want to communicate a difficult issue to another. Add to
that kindness, and it means we want to convey it in such a
way that honors the other and preserves the connection.
Let’s say that Sally got fired from her last job due to a drug
habit. She kept repeatedly missing work and so they let her go.
Patti is aware of her challenge with opioids which she became
addicted to after being in a bad car accident 2 years ago.
If Patti were to practice authentic kindness, she might say
something like, “Sis, I know you’ve been going through a
tough time with the opioids and they let you go because of
that. It feels like you are a little bit lost right now. I want you
to know that I’m here for you. And something needs to change
because if you continue heading down this road, the end
isn’t gonna be pretty.”
What’s even more important than the words is Patti’s
energy or tone behind the words. She truly loves her sister
and wants to support her to get past this hard time. She is
not being critical or mean-spirited but honest and kind.
People tend to listen to us better if we are being kind
and empathetic. They will feel our love. We will more likely
activate in them a loving response, and our words will land.
This practice of daring to be authentically kind is one part of
a four part process we created out of our own experience for
arresting unhealthy people-pleasing and helping you create
beautiful boundaries. The result?
Closeness, connection, more energy, more fully living.
Without connection, we die. We must have it.
How can you begin to honestly communicate what you truly
think and feel, while at the same time, do it with kindness,
love and respect for the other?
This is a wonderful question to ask yourself before falling asleep
at night. Write it on a post card and place it on your bathroom mirror.
The mind will seek answers for you.
Angie & Morgan
PS: If you want to dive deeper with me and Morgan on this, register
now for our FREE, live, women’s empowerment retreat, Let Go
of What They Think, on January 22 and 23, 2021 (10am to 5pm CT).