This life I was blessed with two brothers. One arrived 15 months after I did and the next 11 and a half years later. I have learned so much watching them grow up. I was recently reflecting on the relationship I have with the older of my two brothers and how special the relationship we have with our siblings can be.
As I felt the impulse to write, I realised this letter is much bigger than the brothers in my nuclear family. I now have many men in my life who have shown me that it is possible to be a tender and vulnerable man, and that to be this way is a true strength, not a weakness. These men have reminded me of the sweetness and tenderness I felt with my own brothers when they were small. In essence, although inspired by my brothers, and addressed to the older of my two brothers, this is also a letter to my dad, my male friends, my granddad, my uncles and all men and boys… all my brothers.
Dearest big little brother,
I know how strong you are and I know what makes you the man you are today. Although I did not take too kindly to your arrival, once trying to sweep you out of your cot with a broom, I did get used to you and I was very happy to have you around. We had many, many great times together as children. You were so funny, brave and cheeky as a child. We both faced many challenges as we grew up; despite this you have been able to hold onto your playfulness today.
I came into the world screaming and did not stop… I get the sense that I did not embrace coming in to the world. When I look at baby pictures of myself I see a very worried and unhappy baby. In contrast, you always had a smile on your face and barely made a peep. Our mum still talks about how different you and I were as babies. I was the ‘screeching nightmare’ and you were the easy, placid and sweet one. I do remember that nothing seemed to bother you at all – you had a solid strength that I admired. You embraced the world from day one and I felt safe when you were around. You made things feel easy and I wondered what I was so worried about. I feel like you were sent to be my brother to show me how I could have this too.
You were always so tough, strong and brave. Sometimes when we would fight, you would hurt me. Even though you were younger, we both knew you would always win when it came to a fight (and you always did). It was no fun when I was fighting you, but if I needed help it was so reassuring to know you were there for me. I knew that no matter how much you pretended to not care, you never wanted to see me get hurt. You also knew that I always had your back. Although I was not tough and strong like you, I was brave and I would do whatever I could to keep you safe.
Unfortunately it was not long before I found out that we would not always be able to protect each other. I can feel how we both shut down, in our own way, as a result of how hurt we were by some of the things we went through together. When our parents divorced you became so hard and tough, I felt like you shut everyone out. This was different to the natural resilience you were born with. Although you were born super-strong, in the beginning you were also open and tender. Looking back, I can feel how you protected yourself by shutting down. You made out that you did not care but I always knew deep down that you hurt, just like I did.
I realise now that it has been hard for me to understand what you have experienced as you have grown into a man. I think this is because we both shut down in different ways. You pretended to not care and I put on a happy face and exploded at intervals when I could no longer maintain the facade. We were doing the same thing in our own way.
Growing up, I observed that there were differences between what was OK for you and what was OK for me. You seemed to instinctively know that you weren’t allowed to play with dolls or wear pink. You weren’t supposed to cry or show that anything hurt you, while I was allowed to play with whatever toy I wanted and could wear any colour of the rainbow.
Remember when we used to play ‘executives’? It is so funny to look back on. Even the roles we played then were so stereotyped. You were the CEO in your grand, makeshift patchwork office made of sheets and boxes with Golden Books on the shelves, while your sisters played secretary and brought you mud pies and ‘tea’. It seems obvious now that the messages we were being fed about who we were supposed to be and the roles we would be expected to play were being received loud and clear by us then.
For a couple of years it was just you and me – not boy and girl – but it wasn’t long before things changed. Although I have always known that you love me there have been many times when I have felt judgement and scorn for me as a girl and a woman. If I ever called you a girl it was guaranteed to make you angry. You often told me I ran like a girl, kicked like a girl, cried like a girl… and even though this is exactly what I was, I knew it was always an insult. Later on I saw and felt the way you and your friends looked at and treated women and at times it made me sad to feel how my sweet, lovely brother had learned to become detached and cold.
I knew that you were not naturally like this. I knew that in truth you respected women and saw them as your equal, but… the world was not set up for that. The world showed you that women were to be used, ogled and controlled. I knew that you became tough and strong, and shut down to how you really felt, to fit in.
It became obvious that you cared about what people thought more than you ever let on. I always knew anytime you hurt someone it wasn’t the true you. It was the actions of a hurt little boy trying to cope in the best way he knew how.
Remember when our little brother came along? He was so beautiful and sweet. He was not as good at putting on the tough guy act. We were all so much bigger and felt like we had to protect him. He wasn’t afraid to cry… he even loved watching Cinderella and he didn’t care if anyone thought that was weird.
You were so gentle with him, but I could tell that his sweetness scared you… it scared me too. I realised it would be much easier for me to have another brother who acted tough and strong all the time. Our little brother reminded me how vulnerable and tender men really are. He also reminded me that this beautiful and vulnerable way of being is often shut down, as the world is not made to support men to be themselves. I look back now and can see I was afraid that he would get so hurt he would change who he was to fit in or protect himself.
You did your best to teach our little brother to be tough but I think you secretly admired the way he did what he liked and wasn’t afraid to show his feminine side. I never realised until today – as I wrote this letter – just how strong our little brother really is… and always has been.
For me, growing up with two brothers has been precious. It has allowed me to better understand what many men and boys go through as they make their way in the world. It is amazing to see you today and feel who you really are without needing you to play a role or be tough or strong.
It has been awesome to feel you relax in my company as I allow myself to accept you exactly as you are, let go of the way I need you to be and the roles I expected you to play. I know that I have been able to do this for you as I have been re-learning how to do this for myself – after all, this was the way we were when we were very small. I no longer need anything from you… but I have never appreciated you more.
Your little big sister
Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.
By Leonne Sharkey, Melbourne.
Published with permission of my brothers.
Men and expression – echoes from behind the wall
My Sister and I
We are taught from young the roles we will play in life, it is as though we are given a script when we enter this world and we are expected to stick to it.
“Even the roles we played then were so stereotyped. You were the CEO in your grand, makeshift patchwork office made of sheets and boxes with Golden Books on the shelves, while your sisters played secretary and brought you mud pies and ‘tea’. It seems obvious now that the messages we were being fed about who we were supposed to be and the roles we would be expected to play were being received loud and clear by us then.”
Those people that have freed themselves of the shackles of life are the ones that are shunned by society because they reflect back to humanity just how caught up we all are in the stereotypical life we are led to believe is the life worth living. When in truth it’s a living hell.
Men are very sweet and tender on the inside, regardless of the rough, uncaring exterior.
I believe it is possible for a sibling to come into a family to support another as I have experience of this with friends who have children where one is quite unsettled and the other is so chilled. We all have lessons we need to learn in life as this supports our evolution so that eventually we will hop off the wheel of rebirth and continue our journey back to our origins.
Thank you Leonne, this letter is an inspiration to express our appreciation of each other.
Letting go of neediness allows for the expansion of appreciation and you have expressed this so tenderly Leonne in your love letter not just to your brother but to all men who have been affected by the impositions of society which robs us all of experiencing the innate gentleness of men in their essence.
This is a beautiful appreciation letter to your brother, how gorgeous appreciation feels, why is space given to judgement in our world, surely we all need and deserve more appreciation.
True love: ‘I no longer need anything from you… but I have never appreciated you more.’
Giving space and just observing is what makes every relationship flourish.
It’s a beautiful letter Leonne and testament to the woman you are who was aware of what was going on around her for people as they grew up and were moulded away from their sensitive and true nature. I also appreciated the line about the explosions that would happen when the pressure of living the facade became too much, that explained times in my own life when this had happened to me. I had not considered how much tension I was in from separating from my true self.
Melinda Knights your words stuck a cord with me
“I had not considered how much tension I was in from separating from my true self.”
To admit that we miss our true selves is to admit that this life is not it and has never been it. We have misled ourselves if we believed this way of life held the answers to the unrest we constantly live with which is the underlying anxiousness we all feel. If this life was ‘it’ we would not self medicate ourselves with food, distractions of all kinds but would relish every moment of the day. How many of us can say they relish every moment of the day? Very few.
I have two younger brothers and I dearly love them. Quarrels and Fights are another chapter, I do love my brothers after all fights and quarrels we have.
This is a very beautiful letter Leonne. Lucky brother to have a sister like you to appreicate him so openly and lovingly.
Everyone in our lives is a blessing, here to teach us something, to reflect a different quality to learn more about ourselves to address tensions we may feel and to express and experience an expanding love with.
When we focus on the ‘what is not’ we are not able to see the blessing that is before us, however, when we open up and focus on the love that is there we get to enjoy the graces that life and people bring.
Appreciating the many blessings we are all given throughout our lives in the many relationships we get to experience and how often we can let things get in the way of truly connecting and embracing the learning that we are being offered.
Feeling deep appreciation for the innate tenderness of men as I reread this letter.
When another person sees the truth of you, the real you, your strengths, your amazingness it’s 100 percent life changing, we should definitely remind each other more often whether that’s by letter, text or email or we just say it.
Loved it Leone, the way you portray your childhood makes it feel real for me and I can feel the Love that you are sharing for us all as tears of Joy were welling within my body. I relate to every aspect of what you have shared and understand that as a male what females have to suffer to understand us tough guys. As I am now also becoming more connected it is becoming simpler to feel the awareness that will return me so I can be in full connection to the precious and tender boy I remember from my childhood.
Greg Barnes you are to me a gorgeous expression of what it is to be a tender kind hearted man. It is very honouring to meet a man who is willing to express his tenderness.
“As I am now also becoming more connected it is becoming simpler to feel the awareness that will return me so I can be in full connection to the precious and tender boy I remember from my childhood.”
Thank you for sharing Leonne, it is so beautiful to feel your appreciation for what both your brothers offer to the world and how this is true of all men beneath the layers of protection that have been built up in response to society’s expectations of boys and men which are gradually starting to be challenged.
” after all, this was the way we were when we were very small. I no longer need anything from you… but I have never appreciated you more. ” This is lovely Leonne , how wonderful for your two brothers thank you for sharing.
It’s really beautiful to see that when we honour our deep connection with us and others, beyond any social imposition, we easily come back to the love and vulnerability we come from
There certainly is a strong connection by no mistake with your siblings (if you have any). Both my sisters and I know each very well. When we are not abusing this right of passage for our own gain, we have a relationship very enriching, playful, and confirming in love.
This is a very gorgeous sharing, to have men and boys honoured in this way and appreciated for who they are. It is very beautiful to meet a man who is willing to express his tenderness.
Thank you Leonne for sharing such beauty in your letter. “I no longer need anything from you… but I have never appreciated you more.” This is an absolute all time pearl of wisdom to embody for us all – for our relationship with ourselves and everyone.
It did that for me too and this is what I love about these blogs, there is so much for us to learn about our own patterns of behaviour that, if willing and open, can offer a healing.
Lucky brothers getting a letter that celebrates them for who they are. Our siblings can see through the layers we put on to protect ourselves because they felt what we did, they saw what we did and we each coped in different ways. I always find it very interesting to talk about growing up with my siblings because we can all learn so much about ourselves and how we deal with things as adults – seeing where the coping behaviours were laid down in our childhood.
What an amazing thing to share, I was able to see myself in both your brothers as on the one hand I had to harden up to cope with all that came at me, but I also knew there was a tenderness there that I could connect to when brave enough.
It is very precious when we see and appreciate the real tenderness in grown men; a trait they have been told to push away and deny in order to become tough and hardened. This, at times, seemingly impenetrable exterior is not who they truly are and has nothing to do with real strength and power but everything to do with expectations, impositions and demands.
Leonne I loved reading this blog, I too have 2 brothers but they are both older than me. It is so sad to see the hardness they have developed from the ‘role’ models who knew no different influenced by cultural belief systems and expectations.
Its kind of the batten being passed in the race until one of them decides no more and drops it and no longer wants to pass it on to make other loving choices.
But I too was part of the belief system that boys had to be hard, they needed to toughen up, they couldn’t cry, they had to conform in such a way that they were the head of the household and protect us. And it is only in the last few years that I have appreciated that there is a tenderness which I would love to see more of and yet at the same time they are hesitant incase they are judged or called names. When I am gentle and tender and allow the space, I observe them to be different and that is beautiful to see and feel.
A gorgeous gesture Leonne. Whether we are male or female, if we do not honour our innate preciousness and see this quality reflected in all others, no matter how buried it may seemingly be beneath all the layers of ideals, expectations and beliefs we perform to and thus allow to shape us, we will create a divide within us that will externalise into the gender divide that is so prevalent in our world today.
A beautiful sharing that will empower men to honour and appreciate the strength of their natural tenderness.
As I read this it supported me to reflect on my relationship with my own brother. We were never close as children, we were always guarded with each other and it was a very abusive relationship. I have never been open with him since then and held him in judgement. The more love and understanding that I bring to myself, I am growing in understanding for my brother and the choices he has made in his life and learning not to judge that or to want it to be different.
It’s been a while since I first read this blog, sweet and powerful, losing none of its tender loving care.
This is such a heart warming letter Leonne and I am reading it again at just the most perfect time having just come back from visiting my brother who is 19 years older than me. We have never been close because of the age difference, but today as we looked through an old photograph album I had felt to take with me, I could feel a closeness that I haven’t felt very often, but which today I realised, was always there. Maybe it’s time to write him a letter and share with him what it has been like being his very little sister. Thank you for the inspiration.
What becomes clear when reading your words is that we are constellated to learn from and support each other. If we had the focus more on this aspect in our life, simply honouring and cherishing the many people in our life, I am quite sure there would be less struggle and hardship.
Leonne I love your bio! A beautiful letter to your brothers, and really to us all. Again it’s a moment to stop and understand more deeply what other human beings go through in life, how they react to hurts, shut down, and change in essence who they are. This importance of understanding one another is so vital.
I love that through the understanding and love inspired by Universal Medicine and the healing journey that is possible with these qualities as your foundation, that you can express so beautifully to someone…. offering within it the love and understanding you now embody, for them to be embraced by. Stunning.
Leonne, this love letter to your brother is gorgeous, I can also feel how naturally tender and sweet boys are and I notice how there is so much pressure for them to harden up and toughen up. It is very beautiful to know men that are coming back to their tenderness and gentleness and are not afraid to live this even if the world is telling them otherwise.
It has been quite a while since initially reading this blog and it is gorgeous to re-visit it and feel the depth of appreciation you have for yourself and your brothers. A profound and intimate sharing Leonne – thank you.
Leonne, I loved your honest reflection, expression and openness. Thank you for sharing your understanding around the changes that unfolded in your relationship with your brother. Life imposes the many tensions that can affect relationship but what is true and comes from the heart always finds it’s way out.
Thank you Leonne for sharing this love letter to your brother, it is beautifully honest and open and reminded me of the power of true appreciation towards those whom we are close.
A beautiful love letter Leonne thank you, it is exquisitely tender, loving and honest. What a blessing it is to have people around us reflecting so much for us to learn and appreciate. Your love and appreciation is deeply felt for your brothers. It is inspiring how you’ve expressed so openly about what it was like to be raised witnessing the changes happening around. These changes can happen to both boys and girls whenever we choose to shut down who we are and take on a façade that is not us; we ultimately hurt ourselves and others. Deep down we are all tender, loving and gentle, it is never lost, we can at any time access who we truly are and live our true self.
I cried when I read this and I am still crying, the sweetness of your expression has truly touched me, thank you.
A stunning example of the conditioning boys go through to become men and how they lose their natural, innate tenderness and sweetness along the way, perceiving it to be something to be pushed down and hidden for fear of being labelled ‘a girl’ or some other equally cutting remark. The world loses out when we don’t get the full, unexpurgated version of men and yet we crush these elements out of them at a young age by a constant drip-feed of our ideals and images of men, guaranteed to send their softness and playfulness packing.
It is really a very special thing to read a blog that speaks straight from the heart without censorship.
What a beautiful blog Leonne, to express so intimately about your brothers and your experiences of growing up together. What you have shared would resonate deeply with many.
I am amazed at how quickly and insidiously the roles, ideals and beliefs become ingrained in us. You were not necessarily told this is what you were expected to be as a woman or your brother what was allowed or not allowed of him as a man, yet you both picked it up and very young too and it changed the way you expressed, almost capping the natural innocence that was there at birth.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this again Leonne and for a moment there I wished I’d had a brother. How awesome it is to have this level of understanding and see things from this perspective, knowing how your brothers behaviour has developed. When we understand others in this way it makes it easy to see past the armour of protection.
It’s sad that this world teaches us to be hard and tough as a way to survive when there is so much more that can happen when we allow and accept tenderness and the delicate, fragile nature of our being present within both men and women. It’s wonderful that there are people who are returning to this natural way of living and are reflecting it out as they interact with others in their daily lives.
Tears bounced out of my eyes as I read this beautiful blog from the heart, thank you for sharing Leonne. The bond we have with siblings is deep and precious, so many shared moments and memories, your appreciation of your brother’s love is palpable. I can feel how my brother (like most of us) has his armour in place but at the times when he allows himself to show his real tenderness I am reminded of the truth of him and it’s beautiful.
The bond we share with siblings feels to me closer than any other, yet it had only been until much further into adulthood that the appreciation for this love has developed and deepened, and has done since I chose to commit to a more loving relationship with me.
Leonne what a heart- warming blog that has supported me to appreciate how far I have come with my sibling relationships. The love you have shared that asks them not to be anything but holds them in your loving words is so embracing to read and feel.
I am inspired by your blog Leonne, to be very tender with my baby grandson, to allow him to be himself always, and to appreciate all that he brings, his joy, his playfulness, his determination and love for exploring everything around him.
And what a lucky grandson is he Bernadette to have you care and nurture for him in this way.
This is such an on the money sharing about what happens to most boys along the path of getting older. How most of us lose that tenderness to fit in or because we are hurt and don’t feel the love or feel pressured in to burying our sensitivity because boys don’t cry. Whatever the reason it’s a shame this has to happen and I look forward to a time when tenderness holds more value than being tough.
Very true Kevin – what a welcome period in time that will be when tenderness is the norm regardless of gender. What I have noticed over the years of attending Universal Medicine events is the way men have become more and more comfortable with dropping the tough persona, in whatever guise that may be, and returned to their natural way of being. The reflection of these men to others as they go about their lives back in their own communities would be phenomenal.
Very true Kevin and as parents and people whom are able to inspire and nurture this quality in boys and men we have a responsibility to break down this false facade created by society.
“…..the love you carry as a child can’t be negated and the other stuff that goes on can’t really knock it.” This is a powerful statement and feels very true to me. This brings a new perspective to all of my relationships.
This for me is the blessing of having grown up with siblings. The marker of the bond that cannot be broken and the marker of familial ties that cannot be torn no matter what, shows me what is possible in every relationship I am in. It shows me that there is something solid that underpins each relationship and it’s not something that you can ever give up on, because it can’t be erased. I know that with friends I no longer see it rings true for how I feel about them too. It’s like anything we post on the internet is there forever. The love for them I carry in my heart does not change even if there is no more physical contact. An imprint has been left there that is mine to carry and cherish should I choose to see it for the blessing that relationship was and because of the imprint – still is.
I was pondering on the deep felt love that is shared between siblings. To me the level of love you share and the bond you create with a brother or sister is so precious. Even if you seemly don’t get on on the surface, the love you carry as a child can’t be negated and the other stuff that goes on can’t really knock it. I love all my sisters dearly and although I don’t see two of them very often the love I have for them does not alter. I was feeling very strongly how this foundation of love acts as a marker for all other relationships entered into. For me the solid strand that ties you together can not be broken even if the relationship were to break down, the bond continues.
It is really gorgeous to read how through Universal Medicine you have been inspired to live in a way that has allowed you to let go of the roles and expectations that life has imposed on you and truly appreciate not only yourself but the men in your life so that you can now express your love, understanding and appreciation so beautifully.
It is some months since I re-visited this blog Leonne and it is as inspiring now as it was then. Appreciation and acceptance are the key words leaping off the page at me this morning.
Leonie, this is such an honest letter. I was really touched as I read it. It is sad when we see the boys around us shut down because of the way the world is. It can happen to all of us and what a blessing it is that we have had the teachings and inspiration of Serge Benhayon to allow us to see how we can let people and love into our hearts again. We are all precious, we are all love and we all deserve to be nurtured.