My approach to life is to charge along being myself (in case you haven’t guessed that is outspoken, slightly eccentric, and rather type A). But sometimes life presents me with a situation that can’t effectively be handled the “the Sophie way.”
When my strategy for dealing with a particular situation isn’t working, and I face the dilemma of finding an alternate approach I often ask myself, “what would my sister do?” And while some of you might find my approach less authoritative than asking “what would Jesus do” or less humorous than asking “what would Brian Boitano do” as they do on South Park, I like to go with what I know. I am more familiar with how my sister thinks (or at least how I THINK she thinks) and how she acts than I am with the actions and reactions of nearly anyone else on the planet.
Considering my predicament as if I were my sister is a great way to stop running in circles on my little problem wheel and gain distance from a situation.
The first step to applying “sister think” is to break an issued down into its facts – as if I was going to relate the problem to my sister with minimal editorial comment (and I am NOT good at eliminating editorial comment). Sometimes this step alone is enough to trigger a creative new approach because it backs me away from my gut reaction to the problem and lets me see it more dispassionately.
If seeing the issue broken into discreet pieces isn’t enough to spur a solution, I go the next step. I put myself in my sister’s shoes (metaphorically of course, because sisters do NOT appreciate having their shoes pilfered and worn, particularly before they’ve had a chance to scuff the bottoms). I imagine that I am Irma (this is NOT my sister’s name and I have selected it because it is likely to make my sister laugh hysterically) dealing with the recalcitrant child, or the uncooperative co-worker and address the situation accordingly.
Of course I can’t really be Irma. The best I can hope to achieve is a Sophie-channeled approximation. Still, this temporary personal transformation can work brilliantly—particularly if the problem at hand calls for strengths my sister possesses that I do not (diplomacy and limitless patience come to mind). And I consider this convenient alternative-perspective on life and its situations one of the great gifts that having a sister has given me.
How about you? Do you ever put on your sister’s shoes or borrow your sister’s strategies for dealing with life’s problems?