Happy birthday to my little sister! 🎉
Since she's celebrating her birthday today, it seems like the perfect time to talk about the positive benefits of having a sibling. Like all human-to-human interactions, sibling relationships vary wildly. Some people cannot imagine life without siblings; some people would give anything for that to be a reality. Most people are probably somewhere in the middle — at times, overcome with gratitude and love; at others, irritated beyond belief — but no matter where you fall on the sibling-love spectrum, there are some great benefits of having siblings in your life.
I spent sometime this week reflecting on how lucky I am to have a sister (and doing a bit of research on scientific evidence for why siblings are great). Read on to uncover some of the reasons why having a sibling is awesome!
1. BETTER HEALTH.
While doing a bit of research this week, I discovered that it's been proven that having a sibling can improve your mental health and can even improve aspects of physical health, too (apparently people with siblings are less likely to be obese!). Since I have no control group, I can't verify if this is 100% true in my own life, but it makes sense that having a sibling might increase good health (especially once you read some of the additional points below!). Plus, my sister is way healthier than I am, and that's got to be a good influence, right?
2. INCREASED LEARNING.
One of the coolest facts I learned (and one I'm pretty sure has taken place in my own life), is that playtime between siblings is key for learning. Though I'm in my thirties, I still have memories of playing with my sister. Having someone to play with, to bounce ideas off of, and to share my knowledge with has definitely had a positive impact on my life. In fact, considering I share what I've learned for a living, I have to wonder if I would even be doing what I do if I hadn't had a sister. (Thanks, Laur!)
3. HONEST INPUT.
This probably depends a great deal on your relationship, but one of the great benefits of having a sibling can be honest input. Of course, friends and partners can provide honest feedback, but there's something about a sibling that brings about a whole different level of honesty. No one tells me how it is quite like my sis. For example, while other people might be great listeners when it comes to relationship reflections, my sister is one of the few that'll straight up say what everyone else is probably thinking (aka, "What are you doing?").
4. SYMPATHY SKILLS.
Another fun fact I learned this week is that research has shown that having a sibling can make you more sympathetic, which, now that it's been brought to my attention, makes total sense. When you're a kid, the world feels like it revolves around you. But when there are two (or more) kids in your house, the world might revolve around kids, but not just you. You're able to be close quarters with others' experiences, giving you insights you might not otherwise have and inspiring more sympathy for others.
5. KINDER VIBES.
As with increased sympathy, it's not all that surprising that having siblings has been shown to make you kinder. I honestly can't stay I was the kindest older sibling, but I think the lessons I learned as a kid have made me a kinder adult — both to my sister and to people in general. Selflessness plays a big role in kindness, and it seems like having siblings helps you to be (at least a little...) less self-centered, which promotes kind vibes.
6. BUILT-IN SUPPORT.
Though siblings are on parallel, not identical, paths as kids, they are in the same environment together throughout childhood. All families have their ups and downs, and it's a pretty great bonus to have another kid going through the experiences with you. You get to be each others' support when times are tough. If you have a good relationship, you'll have someone you can turn to throughout your entire life for support.
7. PERSONAL CHEERLEADER.
And, in addition to that built-in support, if you're lucky, you'll have personal cheerleader in your sibling, too. Every time something good happens to my sister, I'm almost as happy as if it had happened to me! And it seems like my sister feels the same way. Whenever good things are happening (and even when they're not), she's always cheering me on, always excited for my successes. I'm sure not all siblings are cheering each other on, but I bet a great deal of them are, and that's a pretty awesome benefit.
8. SIMILARITIES — AND DIFFERENCES.
My sister and I are alike in many ways and very different in others. Personally, I find it really interesting to see how two people raised in the same way by the same people (and having many similar experiences) are so different (but also the same in some ways, too!). There's something really cool about being able to share unique similarities with someone, but also see how someone else has grown up alongside you but in different ways. Siblings are a special kind of mirror, and really offer cool opportunities for reflection.
9. BEING KNOWN.
Again, this probably depends on the family dynamic, but if you've lived with or near your sibling for all of your life, you'll have shared so many experiences with one another. And the more time you spend with people, the more you know about them. Few people will know as much about you (or know you for as long) as a sibling does, which is a pretty awesome thing. There are few (if any!) people you will know through every stage of your life, and that alone makes a sibling bond pretty amazing.
10. SHARED MEMORIES.
All of these are great benefits of having a sibling, but the best thing about a sibling? Shared memories! There's something so wonderful about having someone get inside jokes that you've had since childhood, someone who can look at this Pinterest board and remember everything. Yes, lots of people probably remember those things, but few people were there with you, experiencing them in real time. And that, to me, is priceless.
If you have a sibling, take some time to reach out to him / her / them today! Not everyone is so lucky to have someone that helps them achieve all of these great benefits, and there's no time like the present to share your gratitude.