Over the years, I’ve set thousands of goals, and still do. Not because I haven’t achieved my goals, but because my family grows and evolves, and I never stop adding wants and desires, with action, into my family journey. As an example, here is how I’ve achieved the goal of sharing clothes in the family.
The first time I asked the hard questions was the time I woke up. You need courage to do that and I had it when I was 16 years old. I asked myself “What do I not like about my family and how can I change my life without getting rid of any family members?” Obviously, getting rid of my family was not an option, and understanding this was enlightening by itself.
Who said life was fair?
I asked and asked and asked for weeks without an answer. Then, it hit me that the answer was to change myself. That was a very hard understanding and I went through some resistance to it for a while.
I believed my family members “wronged” me and changing myself meant they could keep doing what they’d always done, which was unfair!
Fairness has always been my weakness (still is in some ways). I’ve always wanted things to be fair and had this internal sense of justice my family just didn’t get.
So, I asked myself “What does fairness mean?” It was amazing what came up, which was different from the dictionary definition of the word.
I understood that, deep inside, what was fair to me was not fair to my sister, my mom or my dad, and that fairness was a false belief in equality and balance. I believed that pain, happiness, success and failure could be distributed equally to share life’s burdens and joys.
They couldn’t! There is no such thing as fairness. Fairness is a subjective and personal standard. As soon as I realized I was the only person who needed to follow my own code of justice, this gave me a great sense of power.
During that period, I asked many of other tough questions. There were things in my family I liked and things I didn’t. Today, I would like to share with you something I liked.
Sharing is caring
Since I was about 14 years old, I was in a wonderful relationship with my younger sisters. The moment we became good friends, we started sharing our clothes with one another.
That was awesome. We were three and didn’t have many clothes each. Sharing meant we had three times the selection. We came up with a rule that the owner of every new item had the right to wear it first. We talked about it and agreed not to share eyeliner and underwear, but other than that, we trusted one another fully.
Over the years, even before I had my own family, I met many people who cringed at the thought of sharing clothes with their siblings. For me, it was a positive mindset, and I wanted to transfer the trust I had with my two younger sisters to my family. Full trust! Not just in sharing clothes, but in sharing everything we could – our valuables, the food on our plate, our hair accessories, shampoo, our contacts and our skills.
The motto was “Sharing is caring!” I shared everything with my sisters and wanted my children to have the same feeling I had.
I want you to know this was not something my parents initiated or promoted. In fact, they sometimes interfered, but we still had a wonderful feeling of shared life, trust and caring. No matter how small our wardrobe was, or how we grew out of some clothes, we wore this feeling on our hearts. It will never get old, never shrink in the washing machine and never wear off.
Around us, there were other family members, friends and acquaintances who fought over their “own” things. They would say things like, “Don’t you dare touch my things”, tell their parents, “He was in my room”, “He touched my things”, “She took my skirt”, “This is mine”, “Mind your own business” and so on. I could write a list of thousands of nasty things people say to their family members in the name of “privacy”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m into privacy big time. My sisters and I respected one another’s privacy. We never opened letters that were not meant for us. We never took things from the wardrobe without checking first whether their owner wanted to wear them. In fact, our togetherness helped us keep our privacy from our parents and the rest of the world.
The more I thought about it, the more I understood it was not the clothes, or the wardrobe, that mattered, but the sense of love and connection that created a bond between us. Sharing clothes was just symbolic.
Sharing Clothes – Sharing Life
My other siblings and I had good relationships, but they were not the same as what I had with my two younger sisters. Most of my friends, clients and students hated their siblings’ guts.
I had a clear goal to make sure my children would have love, trust and respect with their siblings. So my husband Gal and I came up with some strategies to make it happen.
- We decided to have our kids 5 years apart. Research shows that having a gap of 4.5-5 years between children minimizes the chance of jealousy and sibling rivalry. It worked for us!
- We share our food with our children and even encourage them to taste from one another’s plates.
- When we go to a restaurant, although everyone orders what they want, we share the food and swap plates during the meal.
- We drink from the same cup, or just straight from the bottle. I know not everyone likes it, but we’re OK with it and our children are very healthy.
- Getting clothes “handed down” from an older sibling is an honor. When you love and admire your brother or sister, wearing their clothes feels great.
- When my kids ask to use my makeup or my jewelry, I say they can use it as much as they like. I use theirs too…
- If I buy something and they like it, I immediately say, “Great, the more we use it, the better a purchase we’ve just made”.
- We condemn people who say bad things about their siblings. We told our kids that generally, it is unkind to say bad things about any person, especially a sibling. When they share with us about a friend who hates his siblings, we say, “Poor him. He doesn’t have you as a sibling”.
- We tell them that they are great siblings to one another and share stories from the past, when they were kind to another sibling. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- We borrow their clothes, and they borrow ours!
I have 3 children – a 29-year-old daughter, who’s a mother of a 1-year-old, a 22-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter. We share clothes, shoes and food and we do it even though we don’t all live in the same house and we have different fashion styles, heights and sizes. We share whatever we can.
I’m proud to say that my children talk about their siblings with pride and not with hate, jealousy or resentment. This goal was achieved a long time ago and Gal and I just look at them with pride and enjoy the ride.