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Brothers and Sisters

Posted on October 23 2016

I come from a fairly big family. I have a sister and 2 brothers. We are all pretty close in age, youngest 32, and me, the eldest at 38.

These people make up a massive part of my world. I adore them. I crave them. I love them so much it hurts. I would die for them. Seriously.

They were my first friends, and also my first enemies. They were my first introduction to unconditional love, and also pure -albeit short lived - hatred.

With such closeness comes hurt. When one is hurting, we feel it. When one experiences success, we rejoice in it. We celebrate each other's wins and we wallow in each other's pain. It's an inexplicable bond.

I can talk to each of them for hours. About anything. We have shared memories, experiences and heartache. We reminisce like oldies on a porch. We talk about each other. About our parents. Our family. We discuss, dissect and philosophise. We share a certain intellect and language which can sometimes be compared to a gang. It's not intentional, but has been called intimidating and exclusive to those in our circle.

We laugh like there is no tomorrow. I have never experienced more mirth than when in the company of my siblings. They are exceptionally funny people. Sometimes inappropriate, but always hilarious.

As much as there is love, we speak to each other like SH*T. Not always, but often. We've done it forever. We barely blink an eye when on the receiving end, but to the average onlooker, our tirades would blow back your hair and burn your eyeballs.

We have always done it. It has always been this way. Obviously yes, at times we can hurt each other, but we brush it off. Cos it's us. But the problem is, it's not always us. Sometimes I forget who I'm speaking to and my acid tongue flicks out like a viper. They flinch at my words and I am instantly regretful. These people have not been desensitised.

Constance Hall wrote a post on Facebook this morning. She spoke about being told that other people were bagging her. The people that screenshotted another persons vitriol obviously thought that she should know that she was being spoken about. They thought that they were doing the right thing.

I'm sure their intentions were pure, however, not everyone can handle it.

We need to use our filters. I've heard people say 'oh I don't have a filter, I just say whatever comes into my head'. I'm sorry, no. I'm not ok with that.

Think about who you are talking to. Think about the way they may react to your 'honesty' or 'opinion'. Think about whether your tone can be brushed off or whether it will be felt like a knife, slicing and cutting into someone's heart.

I've been guilty of this. I can be outspoken and insensitive. But I need to increase my own awareness.

I'll quite happily call my brother a f*cking idiot. But I'm not going to say that to the guy that stuffs up my coffee. Why? Because manners. Because OUCH. My brother won't think twice about my flippant insult because he knows me. He'll probably fire back with an equally insulting jibe. And I'll handle it. Because I know him. He doesn't really think that, and neither do I - it's our personal language. Maybe it's wrong, but we've had years of knowing our limits, our boundaries and expectations.

Next time you decide to give someone a bit of 'home truth' or tell them something 'for their own good' - stop. Really consider the effect of your words. Is that person in a frame of mind to hear it? Will you do more harm than good? If the answer is 'I'm not sure' then just don't say it.

If they are hurting or upset, and you know that they deserved it/played a part in it etc, still don't say it. Chances are they actually know that. No one is perfect. Give them a hug, or if you are anti-hugs like me - a sympathetic pat. Being cruel to be kind is not always and doesn't have to be an option.

Speaking your mind can be a liberating, wonderful thing. If it's used for good and not evil. If it's for empowering, encouraging and motivating.

Closing your mouth can be just as liberating. If it's for protection, concern and respect.

If you absolutely must say something then do it. But try and think a little first. Please.

Claire x

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