What does it mean to have a sister? Does it mean you and your sister should look alike? Have the same talents and interests? Get along, ALWAYS?
If I think of myself and my own two sisters or look at my two little girls, these questions do not apply at all! We are all different and have different personalities; we don’t look the same and we don’t have the same talents or interests. What binds us, then? Love and respect.
Sisterhood – whether it’s your biological sisters, women in your network, other women at church – can be a huge blessing in your life. It depends on who you surround yourself with and what kind of ‘sister’ you are to those around you.
Being an Image Consultant, and thus working in the beauty industry with a variety of women, the number one factor I have seen that influences the relationships between ‘sisters’ (either in a positive or negative way) comes down to this: do you COMPARE yourself to your sisters or do you CELEBRATE them and find ways to COLLABORATE with what they have to offer?
As women, we tend to compare ourselves to other women. We will then either strengthen the negative self-image we already have by reminding ourselves that: “I’m not as pretty, talented or impressive as others.” Or we will boast by seeing another sister and telling ourselves that, luckily: “I can do that task better; I’m better dressed, have better hair and skincare, and am better in many other aspects.” In whichever direction the ‘comparing’ goes, it is poisonous to the relationships with our sisters.
How can we counteract this century-old tradition of comparison? By starting to celebrate and collaborate!
This is a topic very close to my heart, because it is a journey I have walked myself. With a few practical guidelines, I want to encourage you to take this journey on, too, to get to a place where you realise that you are not in competition with your sisters, but that together you can achieve so much more.
5 steps to stop comparing and start celebrating & collaborating with your sisters:
1. Start with yourself – work through books, podcasts, sit with God, do a personality test, find out who YOU are and what makes you special. What are your strong points, but also your weak ones? Find your PURPOSE.
2. After you have reintroduced yourself to yourself and got to know who you are, it is time to accept who you are. Accept your talents, good characteristics, passions, etc., but also the parts of yourself that are not naturally strong points. If it’s a negative characteristic that’s holding you back in life – for example, a bad temper – realise you need to work on it and get help. (You do not need to feel ashamed of your negative qualities; we all have them! It is in your hands to do something about it.) If it’s a talent you maybe didn’t get but you need in your life, then collaborate with a sister who has this talent. Together you are stronger.
3. Re-train your brain. Whenever you are out walking in the shops or exercising in the gym, and you catch the feeling of comparison popping up, immediately stop and ask yourself WHY you are feeling this way. Maybe there is something in your life – a traumatic event, words being spoken over you or just something you ended up believing about yourself – that you need to deal with. Get to the heart/core of the WHY.
4. Find a new perspective. If you are busy looking at a toned sister in the gym with envy, try to think what it takes from her to look like that: which restrictions, sadness, underlying reasons, time and resources it takes from her to look toned and fit. If someone looks well-dressed, maybe she has just reached the point where she knows who SHE is and how to dress well, according to her style. She has maybe intentionally been working on her wardrobe and that’s why she looks put together. Don’t judge them, because of a negative experience/feeling in your own life, by comparing what you have to them. We are all different: we have different situations, problems, baggage, talents, personalities – the list goes on!
5. Now, celebrate what you previously envied about this sister. You don’t always have to tell the person, but sometimes your sister also needs to hear it, even if you don’t realise it. Celebrate her endurance for continuing her health journey and reaching success. Then feel inspired in your own journey. Celebrate the sister who dresses well, who paints beautifully, who plays around with words like a pro, or who loves running (that’s not me!) I have a LOT of respect for people who are good with accounting. I need them in my life!
Sisterhood can be a wonderful blessing in our lives if we can see ourselves for who we are, flaws and all, but if we can also see our sisters for who they are, flaws and all, and just love and respect each one. We should start celebrating one another – as well as celebrate the contribution “I” bring to the sisterhood – and then collaborate.
Through collaboration, we can build a strong body of Christ. That is why everyone is different, so we can work together. Love is at the core of our Father’s heart and He wants us to love our neighbours as ourselves. First, we need to accept God’s love for us and then we need to love ourselves, before we can love our neighbours just as much. However, to love myself, I need to know that my identity is rooted in Christ, that I am made in the likeness of God. I need to know He has placed special attributes in me; I need to know what those attributes are and accept them.
Let’s go out today and start celebrating our sisters! You’ll be surprised at the joy and contentment that will settle in your heart.
Women of Reverence welcomes our guest contributor Janine Norje
Janine Nortjé is a daughter of The King, a wife to André and the mother of two beautiful little girls. She is passionate about helping other women see their own worth and identity in Christ and to help them feel
confident in who they are.
Janine uses her knowledge and resources as a qualified Image Consultant with an honours degree in BSc Consumer Sciences, as well as her teaching skills from being a qualified teacher, to live out this passion.
Confidently You, her business is the vehicle
for this dream and she calls herself a proud entrepreneur. For many years she has had big dreams of what God has planned in her life, but she never believed that she could reach those dreams. Janine gives all credit to her Heavenly Father for taking her on an identity and
confidence journey of her own, to finally step into the calling God has
for her life.