Sibling rivalry — it’s a situation anyone who’s grown up with a brother or sister is familiar with. We see it everywhere in media: from classic childhood fave The Lion King, to legendary films like The Godfather, and to our TV guilty pleasure Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There are the stereotypes: the ideal child, the mediator, the black sheep. No matter how many times parents express how they love their children equally, there’s still that underlying battle of becoming the favorite. Don’t get me wrong, we believe our parents. It’s just that sometimes we can’t help but feel jealous of, or inferior (or superior) to our siblings.
I have two brothers, one older and one younger. I’m sandwiched between the two, the unica hija, as people would call it. I’m close with both, but I had a secret competition with my older brother. A competition only I participated in, one that took me years to come to grips with. Scar disliked Mufasa so much over how favored he was. Kylie wanted to be like Kendall for a time. I felt the same toward my older brother.
He was just too perfect. Back then, I would drill it into myself that A) he was the smart one, and b) I could never compare. He struck gold in competitions I couldn’t even get in; major universities were fighting to get him in their roster while I just passed what I could like everyone else. He had an amazing resume ready: pilot, engineer, and overall cool guy, while I was just lost. The bar was set so high, I thought I wouldn’t ever reach it.
Growing up with a sibling like that, and a younger brother who can compare (read: soccer player), it seemed to me like conceding was the only option. Sibling rivalry slowly became a game of “Who would become the better adult?” and honestly, the answer is no one. We’re all alright.
There wasn’t any competition to begin with; if anything, that “competition” was just in my head. Props to my self-proclaimed battle though — it made me the strong person that I am now. It taught me how to hustle and challenge myself more, to go and push myself to the limit — a trait the Type A in me is thankful to have.
Sibling rivalry is good, as long as it’s treated as a healthy competition. Instead of making it a battle of who’s going to be the better adult, I’ve made it a battle of how to be a better adult. I’m slowly getting surprised with what I can do, and I’m sure it’ll be the same with you.