How To Resolve Conflict With Your Sister And Have A Better Relationship With Your SisterProsperity Sisters, We Welcome You!
I'm Rachel Lim Shuling, and I'm Sueyan Lim Shuyan. And today, we're going to be talking about how to have a better relationship with your sister.
Yes. Our intention for creating this program is to help other sisters to have an even better relationship. So we'll start by talking about the problems that we faced recently in our sister relationship...
So, one of the problems that we faced is because when we start to do business together, then it becomes a bit blurry. Like when is it your business partner, and when is it your sister? And what happens to the dynamic of the relationship? And it all becomes a problem...
For me, I was also dealing my own confusion about the business and myself. And then Sueyan also started to shut down. She didn't want to communicate with me. So these were some of the problems we were facing.
It became a crisis!
So we can share with you the event that made a change... a point where there was a breakthrough (at the soyabean shop).
I think we had the breakthrough when I told my sister about some of the resentment I had inside. And how it's impacting and affecting our relationship and our business relationship as well. And because suddenly now that things are being said, then things can be changed and can be solved.
What resentments did Sueyan have?
You felt I wasn't listening to your input... that I was pushing aside your input...
Yes. I felt that my opinions are not being heard. Usually, I have few opinions. And sometimes when I do speak up for what I think, then Rachel will say things that make me feel like "Oh, her idea is better..." or I feel she doesn't appreciate the input that I put in. I felt my ideas were immediately being shut down."
But I also know that it's not entirely her fault... which is very confusing because of what's going on in your own mind, how you're behaving, and you don't know what to do about it... So, I do understand that it's partly to do with my own reaction towards the things that she says, and not just because of what she's saying...
What did Sueyan do before the breakthrough occurred?
You went for the breakthrough session with Robert...
Before our conversation in the soya bean shop, I actually knew that there's a problem and I know that I want to feel better about it. And yet, there was this nagging feeling, nagging voice in my head that says to speak up. Speak up and say what you feel as you feel it. But yet I don't really feel safe or comfortable to express what I'm feeling.
And I had this thought : If you have nothing good to say, then don't say it. And usually, when you have not a very good response from people... maybe that's the programming that I've had... like not to say anything negative (ya! I used to have that a lot!)
So, after I went for this breakthrough session, which is to breakthrough about people or events in your life, I did a breakthrough on my sister. And it made me feel even more... it confirmed that thought in my mind that I need to speak out, instead of keeping it inside because doing the same thing over, will just create the same result. So, I need to do something different in order to get a different result.
Deeper description of what do you do specifically during that breakthrough session?
During a breakthrough session, we will pick a person or an event in your life that is bothering you - consciously or subconsciously. So I picked my sister. And what we will do is we will list down all the positive and negative traits about the person. And see where we ourselves exhibit these traits. The objective is to see that in any person or any situation, there is always good and bad. But sometimes because your mind is so fixated on how bad something/someone is, you don't see the positive in the relationship.
Of course it's things that I know. But somehow, the dynamics of the group makes it easier to actually know for sure that there is good and bad.
For 30 minutes,
Step 1. Choose a person or situation that is bothering you.
Step 2. List down all the good and bad traits of the person or situation. How would you describe this person? Like very pretty, annoying, angry, or this person is irresponsible. Any trait you can think of this person, you can list them all down.
Step 3. See how you also have these traits.
For example, if the trait you really dislike about the person is... "Oh, she's very selfish." Then you have to write down a letter representing instances where you are also selfish. For example: you are selfish when it comes to your drink. So you write a 'D'. You feel that you are selfish when it comes to your room, you write an 'R". You are selfish when it comes to taking the bus and you want to sit down, you write a 'B'. And you write down all these instances where you are also selfish. And you can see that what you dislike in the other person, you have those qualities as well.
If you find it very hard to express, then you can only list about 5 or 10 traits. But if you really concentrate and think about it, you can list down about 20, 30 or 50 traits even.
But the most I'd reach, in identifying the same traits in myself is 15.
Another part of the breakthrough is, we pick someone from the group, who exhibits similar energy to the person you are breaking through on. Then you do a role play to pretend you are talking to that person, and that person is talking to you.
This takes about 15 minutes.
So I picked someone in the group whom I thought to be quite similar to Rachel, and then she would pretend to be Rachel and say what she thinks Rachel would be saying to me, or what she feels like saying. How she would respond to this.
So we would start by telling the 'acting person' what you would like to say. So for example, I would tell the 'acting Rachel' what I want to tell her, that maybe I wouldn't dare to tell her in person. Or something I may want to say, but not actually want to tell her to her face.
Then the lady who is pretending to be Rachel will respond to me, based on what I have told her. And we'll start to have little conversation.
Towards the end, we'll imagine that the person is going to die in the next minute. So this person is going to leave your life. So what are you going to say to this person?
That seems very powerful. To imagine that this person is leaving your life.
So the aim is, when the person is about to die, of course you want to show some appreciation or that you love him/her. Or you want to thank this person. Even though it seems like this person has hurt you a lot.
So you do your best to express what you want to say, but you didn't dare to say before. Hear the response from the other person. Have a conversation. Then at the end, imagine that this person is going to die or leave your life. So this situation kind of helps you express gratitude for this person?
But what if this person is about to leave your life, and you still very angry? Then it causes you to say more things that you weren't able to say before?
There is a facilitator during this session. So this facilitator will help you to show feelings of gratitude or appreciation to this person who is leaving your life. And if you are closing your heart, and not willing to forgive this person, the facilitator will keep trying to push you to open your heart. To show love for all the experiences you've had with this person.
So am I right to say, that the intention of the whole breakthrough exercise is to help you to come to a point where you can forgive the person who you feel bothers you?
I think it's more accurate to say it's to help you open your heart, to not hold the grudge any more. To let go of these thoughts or memories that are hurting you.
So I felt the work that you did "by yourself" really helped our relationship. Because before that, you were not willing to talk to me. You were not willing to tell me what's going on. You just have a passive aggressive behavior towards me. I didn't know whether to ask you.
I guess that's more like the pattern : to keep quiet if I have nothing good to say.
I also feel that if I have all these resentful feelings, and I don't know what to do, I would rather try to solve them on my own. Create some distance between us. Maybe when my resentful feelings are resolved, and I feel better, then the dynamic can become better.
I'm also not sure if it's the best way to solving problems. Because in our relationship we are two quite different types of people. Rachel is the outspoken one. She will speak up. I will feel attacked when she's very opinionated. I would rather keep quiet and not say anything. So even though we are very close, we have very different personalities and how do we come together and resolve these issues?
And it becomes harder, or more important. Because it's your sister.
When it comes to friends, you can choose a friend who you can click with, has the same personality as you. And when you meet conflict, you can just not be friends any more. But when it's your sister, you could disown her. But I would prefer not to.
So I find it much easier to avoid each other. Try not to talk to her. But then it's not exactly the best solution either.
In fact, we both went through it. I did my best to leave her alone. But, it wasn't solving anything! It was just a stalemate! We were in a rut... It was very uncomfortable and it affected our business a lot as well.
For me, I was feeling very frustrated. Because our business wasn't moving forward. And I was doing my best to do my own inner work - by reading a lot of books and doing journalling. Asking a lot of questions... hoping that the answers will come out.
So I read this book, and it talked about synergy in a relationship. So I realized I'd been putting our business first, and my relationship with my sister second. And since the business was formed on the basis of our relationship, the business was reflecting the state of our relationship! Our relationship was in a very bad place, and so our business was also in a very bad place.
So, if I wanted our business to do well, I needed to refocus my energy and focus on what is important. Because the most important thing you have in life is your relationship. Whether it's your relationship with an object or with your sister.
The desire is important. For example, I have the desire to work it out. And Sueyan has the desire to work it out. That's why we are now starting to improve our relationship. It's an ongoing process. It's not today we've found a solution, and forever our relationship is awesome!
If that were really true, this wouldn't have happened. Our relationship was already awesome to begin with! So problems will occur. And it's either you use a method that's worked for you before, or you find a new way to solve your problems.
And I feel what Sueyan said, the process of claiming within yourself, the qualities of the other person... That process has worked for me as well. When I felt angry at someone, and I really calm myself down, focus and think about where I am also exhibiting these qualities, then I am also able to open my heart and forgive the person. And accept the person for who she is, rather than who I hope or desire her to be.
I feel the breakthrough occurred for me when I went "Heck! Better just say whatever I really feel inside."
So we went back to our childhood. And I think because we're sisters, so the things that have happened in the past sort of subconsciously scar you. And I had these memories, but I didn't think that they affected me a lot. Like memories from 3 years old, 5 years old, 7 years old... Yes. even at 14.
And now when you are doing things with Mattin. And I felt like you would abandon our projects together. Which makes me feel like I don't have the faith to be in this project with you... because what if you abandon me again, and stuff...
And it's these things in the past that affect you. But you don't realize. And they may actually slowly creep up.
So, what we are saying is, our recommendation is to do subconscious work. We do a lot of our own subconscious work. Through releasing. Even breakthrough is a form of subconscious work. And even journalling is a form of subconscious work. Because these activities help you to access things that you don't usually think about.
So what we're saying is, one way to have a better relationship with your sister, is to work on your own subconscious. Subconscious thoughts, feelings and problems. Things that have been bottled up in the past for long, and they're still affecting your relationship today.
Another solution is to have the courage to speak up what you're feeling. If the person makes you feel shitty... even if you know it isn't her fault. But at least if you say it out, then you can start to feel better about it. And maybe there doesn't need to be any solution when you are just expressing how you are feeling.
And a lot of it has to do with listening. Listening to what the other person has to say. And not just want to offer a solution to your problem.
And when Sueyan went for her breakthrough, I asked her : What really worked? What really helped? What did the other person say? And she said the other person just kept quiet. Didn't say anything. And Sueyan somehow felt that it helped. So I take responsibility and tell myself that in future, I do my best to keep quiet and just listen to her.
I think it's just the dynamics between any older and younger person. Because Rachel is seven years older. She's had a lot more experience and read a lot of books. It's something similar to your parents. Their intention is to try and help you feel better. But maybe I'm 22 and going through another rebellious phase... I don't want other people to tell me what to do and how to solve my problems. Maybe we are all just wanting to figure out our own path and solve our own stuff. It's through experiences, right?
On the other side of the fence, when Sueyan doesn't speak up, I don't know what's going on with her. And if she gives me feedback, at least I can do something about it. But when I don't even know what I'm doing wrong. What is it I'm doing that's pushing her buttons, I'm at a loss. Because I'm just being myself. Doing what I always do. I didn't change. I didn't suddenly start speaking differently.
To have the courage to be true to yourself. If that's how you feel, then just own it. Say this is how I feel. You're just expressing how you really feel. As opposed to "I shouldn't feel this way". And that's why I didn't talk to her for some time too. I stayed away because I was afraid of how she would react if I asked her : "Sueyan, what's the problem?". I was afraid I'd come across as antagonistic. I didn't know what the solution was either. So I was afraid to approach her.
It was only when it reached a point where I knew that ignoring the issue is not solving anything... I have to say something. At least if I say something, and we can get it out, then something can change.
I also think it's got to do with 'People don't know what they want. But they know what they don't want.' You offer them something that they don't want and they may go "ee" or "I don't want that", but they may not be able to tell you what they want. Sometimes, you like to ask me the question : What do you want instead. And sometimes I'm not really sure if you do something different, would it really be better? At the same time, I'm aware that whatever it is that's causing me to feel yucky, has nothing to do with you. It's just me. What do I see that I don't like?
I don't know the answer. What would be better? What would I want? I also cannot offer an answer yet.
I think what Sueyan means is that it requires patience. Not expecting that it will be immediately solved. I think that's what I was doing when I asked her : What do you want instead? I'm hoping that we can put our attention on the solution, rather than the problem. And thus work towards a solution instead.
I suddenly remembered one more thing that Sueyan and I did when we had conflict... we prayed. We prayed a lot. Because it was such a big problem in our lives. At night, I would get out of bed, kneel on the floor, stare at the sky and pray. I would say "Dear God / Universe/ Whoever, please help this whole thing to get better. Please help me let the whole thing just get better. Please take this problem away."
For me too. Before sleeping, I would lie in my bed and ask for help. "Please help me to feel better. Help me to do something. Give me some inspiration on how this thing can become better." Every night, keep asking and keep praying.
I think we were too fervent. And that kept the answer away. I was too focused on the problem and not relaxed. At that point, I didn't feel sure yet that this whole thing was going to be resolved. It was as if I was in this place and it was "Oh my god. It's the end of the world. I'm totally helpless. I'm totally desperate." And I think that kept the solution away for awhile as well.
It's only when you start to relax a bit. Not look at the problems for awhile. Maybe do something else. Read a book. Go out. Eat something. Then things started to get better.
For me, in my mind it was : "Why is this happening to us? Why is this happening to me? We had a very good relationship and why now or how did it lead to this? Really, how did this even start and when did this even start to get worse?" To me, if I can figure out why it started, then I can solve it. Like if I know the thing that caused the problem, then I can get the solution to counter the cause. I think that kept the solution away.
But I think having a relationship with somebody is still an ongoing process. Cannot be complacent. Even if it's your family. You really still need to put the time, effort and energy to make the other person feel safe. To find a way to give the other person what they need. And even if you spend a lot of time together, it doesn't mean your relationship is building and growing stronger.
Yes. Every minute you spend together, you could be destroying it. So it's a choice. You need to make a choice whether you're going to build it, destroy it or maintain it.
One more thing that might be useful to listeners, is that we got really emotional. We both cried in the soya bean shop. Because we both realized we are not alone in this at all. Whatever I was struggling with, she was also struggling with. And then we realized how close we are. How much we really love each other.
It made us realize we are both going through the same thing, only in a different form. Maybe because of different personalities. But at the root of it, we are facing the same challenges.
And that we both also desire the same thing.
The further we are away from each other, the closer we are.
And then we can laugh and cry about it.
To summarize, we can say where our relationship is now. So Sueyan, how do you feel our relationship is like now?
I feel it's a bit better. And I've come to more understanding of how to see her as my sister. And because of our work. I think I've become clearer in my mind about our relationship. As compared to being very confused and jumbled up.
I think I've become more able to accept my feelings.
But I do still feel that it's slowly getting better.
How about you? How do you feel our relationship has become better?
I feel there is progress. As long as Sueyan is willing to talk to me. As long as we are willing to be honest with each other. And even be willing to work on this program together.
In a way, I feel grateful to it. Because it's like our old relationship has broken down. And we are creating a new and even better relationship. And it's also opening me up to learn more things also. Keep reminding me to be a better listener. Be a better communicator. And these questions like : What does it take to grow a business with your sister? Or how do you grow your relationship as business partners? I think all these new questions that are arising from the breakdown, I feel grateful to it. Because this way, I know my life is growing. I'm getting better.
For me, I start to appreciate the challenges that I'm going through can have good in it. Previously, I was struggling to see the good out of this situation. But I think if through this, we can help other people, then it's very good. And I also feel that I am growing as a person. Having to face disagreement and locked up resentful feelings that are coming out - waiting to be released and transmuted.
So that's where we are now. We are still regrowing our relationship. It's like nature. You have to plant the seed again. Our relationship grew into such a good point that we chose to go into business together. But then we plucked the fruit and now we have to replant the seed and regrow our relationship. I'm sure it'll grow and once again start to flower and fruit. And then probably something else will happen. But it's ok. Because by then, we will have more tools to work together.
You can follow our story on prosperitysisters.blogspot.com. We'll continue to update our story there. We invite you to join us and maybe share your story as well. Thank you for listening. We'll talk to you again soon. Bye! We love you!
I love you sister. I love you sister. We did well. We did it.