Being Kind to Our Special Ones
Gioia and Rebecca have enlisted Gioia’s daughters to do a “Youth Series” for our newsletters this summer so you will be hearing more from them. This month Tabitha, Gioia’s oldest daughter, wrote about her relationship with her little sister Annabel.
The best decision I ever made happened a few years ago when I decided I should treat my family better. I used to be such a brat, and I still am, but I like to think to a much lesser extent. I’ve kind of always felt like I’m in a power struggle with my dad. We’re very similar, so we’ve sort of clashed and fought for dominance. And I used to act like I ran the whole house. I was in charge. If Tab (that’s me) didn’t want to do something then we wouldn’t do it. I guess I thought it was power and it made me strong, but it didn’t. It made me into a person with a cruel and harsh attitude. I would insult my little sister Annie for no reason with mean comments. You know the ones that tear down a person like “What are you wearing?!‘
One day, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have to treat them in such a way. I realized that I wasn’t gaining anything from it. Maybe I had been lashing out at my sister to hide my own insecurities, but I can imagine that it really took a toll on her self-esteem, and I felt really guilty for putting her through that abuse. It really hurt our relationship. When I finally just stopped saying them, we got close.
Now Annie is my best friend. She gets all my jokes and references. The other day in the car, she said to me, “You know I’m basically you”. It surprised me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I feel so comfortable talking to my sister that it’s like talking to myself. Sometimes I’ll be somewhere and wish she was there because I want to reference something that only she would understand. It’s like she’s a part of me.
My goal of sharing this is that you’ll think about your relationships and your impact on others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I used to dismiss that like it was nothing but now I see that how I act has such a large effect on the strength and quality of my relationships. I am so glad that I made the change in how I treat others, especially those in my family. It used to just be, oh yeah Annie I love her duh she’s my sister, but now that we’ve become so close, I cannot imagine my life without her.
I know I’m starting to sound like I’m just reading off fortune cookies, but I can’t stress enough how much I encourage you to really think about your relationships and how they could change if you behaved differently. Family members and siblings are such a gift because they’ve been on a journey with you your whole life. I hope you all reach out to your family members in an attempt to strengthen your relationships because I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the comfort, support, and joy that I have felt because of my new relationship with my sister.
Tabitha’s words struck a chord for Rebecca, who just returned from a two-week vacation during which she and her twin sister, Jenny, both 54, spent more time being bratty 10 year olds with each other than showing the kindness Tabitha was describing. Rebecca was reminded that, even though she and her sister bicker, they understand each other better than almost anyone else in the world. Gioia and Rebecca are also as much sisters as they are friends and business partners and, when they’re in the thick of doing their work, often have to consciously remember that even when they don’t agree on things, they need to be kind to each other above anything else.
Tabitha, Gioia, and Rebecca
Art directive: make a collage artwork with pictures of your siblings, family members, or close friends.