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The Tall Poppy Syndrome

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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