A Tall Poppy is a successful person who as a result of their achievements, talents and skills is the target of jealousy, criticism and cutting remarks. It’s a term which is commonly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

I had never heard of it until recently but boy was I familiar with the meaning. I’m sure everyone has been a Tall Poppy at one time or another.

Perhaps you experienced this phenomena in grade school when you received a gold star or were selected to help the teacher with a specific task because of your grades. Then during recess time children taunted you with cries of, “Teachers pet,” or “You think you’re so smart.”

Or maybe you were a Tall Poppy as a young adult shining as the super star on your sports team and then bore the brunt of ridicule and criticism by teammates and competitors for the smallest infraction.

Tall Poppy Syndrome may be haunting you at work where you are climbing up the corporate ladder and co-workers slander you behind your back, insisting that you aren’t anything special and wondering who you must be sleeping with to get the position.

Maybe you are a mom with a healthy fit body and other moms in exasperation  gossip amongst themselves how you must be starving yourself or neglecting your family to take care of your own needs.

Regardless of the situation there is a common thread in each of these scenarios.

One person is moving forward making positive change, working to be the best that they can be. This person is striving for their goals and dreams and achieving them.

The other commonality is the person or group of people who are engulfed by jealousy and are unable able to cope with someone else’s success.

At the core of their jealous are belief’s about themselves and the situation. Some might be thinking, “Nothing good ever happens to me only to other people.” They play victim, the blame game and won’t take responsibility for the creation of their own lives.

Others may not feel good enough, smart enough or capable of achieving their goals and so in a rage of inner hurt they do the only thing they know how, lash out at another’s success. The hope being to bring the Tall Poppy down. The underlying subconscious belief, “If I can’t have it, I don’t want you to have it either.”

Keep this in mind the next time you achieve a goal and one of your friends sulks instead of celebrating with you. When you are put in the spotlight for something great and a colleague whispers negative things about you.

What you are experiencing is unfortunately something so common its been labeled as a syndrome. But more importantly as you keep shining have compassion for those who try to dirty your achievements for they are battling their own insecurities and negative beliefs. It’s their issue not yours. Keep being a Tall Poppy.

I started off this post by saying I was familiar with the meaning of Tall Poppy. Truth is I have been on both ends. The achiever being criticised and the insecure girl who was so hurt she needed to lash out and belittle the success of another. It was only when I changed the negative beliefs held deep inside of myself that I was able to break free and begin celebrating the accomplishments of all.

~Love, Esther

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