I’m having a hard time keeping the relationship I have with my sister together. She used to be so funny, kind-hearted and happy, and my absolute best friend in the whole world. In the last five years she’s turned in to an extremely negative person who is hard to be around. She did go through a rough patch in her life, and I thought if I was supportive and understanding she’d come around. A few years have passed since then, and I’ve drawn the conclusion that she simply doesn’t want to do the work it takes to be happy. I’ve tried being patient, talking to her calmly, giving her tough love, and freezing her out for periods of time. Everything just makes me feel guilty and upset that I’m losing (or have already lost?) my sister. I do understand that she needs to give 50% in order for this to work, but I’m not ready to give up on her. Do you have any ideas on how our relationship can be salvaged, if at all?
--Missing My Sister
Dear Missing My Sister,
Well first off, this sounds like this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your sister. I know it's hard to not take things personally, but as you said, she went through this hard time and making this about you, isn't going to help the situation. When we love people, we want to do everything possible to make it easier for them, including what WE think is the right thing. As hard as it is, it sounds like you need to let her be and figure things out for herself. That doesn't mean that you abandon her, but it does mean that you abandon the idea that you know what is best for her. One of the best ways we can show support for someone is letting them know that you believe in them and believe in their ability to figure what is best for themselves. Perhaps your sister needs to go through this because there is something that will come out on the other side that will help change her life for the better. We never know why things happen to people and all we can do is just be present for them and supportive. My best advice I can give is to let her know that you love her, support her and will be there for her. My best advice I can give to you, is to let go of the idea that you will be the one to change things for her. Be the loving sister you have always been and when things settle down, she will know how much you loved her through it all!
Much love to you,
*For daily inspiration and to find out more about me, please feel free to check out my website www.sharingwithshari.com . You can also follow me around the streets of Los Angeles as I ramble on about philosophy, spirituality or anything for that matter on my webseries, "Dashboard Confessions" at www.youtube.com/sharig74. On Wednesdays, you can find my inspirational column right here under “Dear Shari.”