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Tall Poppy Syndrome
by Michael Webb

In Australia there is a phrase “the tall poppy syndrome.” It
describes the condition when a person is uncomfortable if one
flower raises its head too far above the rest. They think it looks
unnatural, so what do they do - they cut it down to the level of
the other flowers.

Do you have the same habit with your loved ones? Some people have
the hardest time letting others take some praise. If our coworker
gets a promotion we tease them about what devious things they did
to get it. If our brothers and sisters brought home better report
cards we discounted the difficulty of the classes they took. We
find it hard to accept that some people are going to naturally rise
above others. That person might even be a spouse who makes more
money, has a better physique, more friends, or is better educated.

We also have this nasty habit of cutting down all the poppies
around us if we are feeling particularly low about ourselves. I
remember when my sister made a rude comment about my thinning hair
so I launched back an equally unkind comment about her thickening
waist. We could have acted more maturely and watered each other
with kind comments and encouraging remarks, but ignorantly we were
tearing up the flower garden so no one could enjoy its beauty.

Do you like to insult (talk trash, ‘dis, cut, slice) others? Does
it make you feel like your poppy has grown higher? My personal
peeve is when spouses spout insults about each other in front of
their friends. They think their clever but insulting remarks will
make their flower look prettier but in reality your mate’s flower
is wrapped around yours. If you cut theirs down, yours will be
butchered too. Whoever came up with the “sticks and stones” phrase
wasn’t very bright. Insults are verbal sticks and stones and they
can tear up a field of beautiful poppies in no time.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda L wrote Apr 14, 2015
    • Thanks for sharing. I’m not unkind or insult others when they do better or things always seem to work that their way. I do compliment them, however, I’m envious and feel as if I’m a loser. It’s hard to erase negative thoughts about yourself.

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