Marianne - Tall Poppy

Are you afraid to follow your passion because you think, “Who am I to be so special?”

Do you think that shining your light will make others see you as cocky or arrogant?

Do you play small because you are afraid that you’ll get cut down by people you care about?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be suffering from Tall Poppy Syndrome. 

Here is the Wikipedia definition:

Tall poppy syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term primarily used in the United KingdomCanadaAustraliaNew Zealand and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.

Metaphorically, the tall poppy in the field gets cut down to blend in with the other poppies. In real life situations, it manifests itself within us when we are afraid to shine our light for fear of ridicule.

This fear of being criticized when our talents or achievements elevate us above our peers has many root causes and can be subconscious. It undermines us by preventing us to play a bigger game or really go after what we want or be our highest and best self. And, it appears to be more common in women.

Think of the ways that you have held back from fear of other’s criticism – maybe it was a friend when you were a teenager who felt threatened whenever you accomplished something that she didn’t. So you made sure that you didn’t outshine her… ever.

This syndrome can also be seen in families where a parent doesn’t want one sibling to outshine another for fear of the other sibling feeling inadequate. Or, a woman who doesn’t want to make more money than her husband because he may feel bad about it.

Instead of “rocking the boat”, people make choices that don’t upset the people in their life, however unhealthy those choices may be.

The important thing to understand is that it really truly doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. That is their “stuff” and something they may have to work on.

What matters is how you feel about yourself. People have all sorts of agendas that cause them to try and cut you down. Make sure that you don’t buy into their stuff. Don’t let their negative agenda rent space in your head, or heart, or worse… your spirit!

It is perfectly ok to be the glorious, joyful, unique and wonderful tall poppy. And maybe, just maybe, you can lift the other poppies up along the way. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?