Updated: Sep 9, 2021
“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” -Wes Angelozzi
I love this quote.
I’ve seen amazing things happen in people’s lives, when someone steps up and believes in them and loves them properly. They grow in confidence and heal broken places, they go on to do great things.
That kind of love propels people forward. It propelled me forward too.
As an Aussie, I love many things about our culture, but one thing I really can’t stand is tall poppy syndrome.
The truth is, most of us are guilty of it, probably much more than we’d like to admit. I’ve been guilty of it recently, it’s pretty ugly and not something I’m proud of.
The sad thing is that it’s so rife! So deeply rooted...in insecurity, fear and pain.
Here’s the thing. When you’re infected with tall poppy syndrome, you cut people down, and for a few minutes you feel taller.
But the worst thing about tall poppy syndrome is, you do it to them when they are standing tall, trying to do good in the world....the best way they know how. Maybe even the way that God Himself has called them to.
When you do this, you’re not loving someone for the truest version of themselves.
When you ignore or exclude people, constantly criticise, or invalidate them, judge them, throw sarcasm, invalidate their efforts, expect them to compromise who they are; when you minimise them or their calling, pigeonhole them, and misunderstand them, and think the worst of their intentions, one is instantly disempowered.
Our words and actions cut like a machete...but a person’s truest self is not up for negotiation.
When we find ourselves cutting others down, it’s a symptom that we have a deeply rooted issue that needs attention. We need to check ourselves for infection.
What is the root of our insecurity? What are we jealous of? What do we fear?
If we are brave enough to go a little deeper and to admit that we are operating out of our festering wounds...we can then choose to heal those infected places.
This is where we finally find joy and freedom.
Because when we make the courageous decision to honestly admit that we have a problem, when we choose to face and work on our stuff, we not only stop damaging ourselves and our relationships, but we begin being a positive light in the world.
People are like plants. We start off as a seed and we struggle to push through the soil and burst forth into the world.
We look for and thrive in an environment of light, warmth and gentleness. We are cared for and fertilised by a gentle hand and watered by words of kindness.
We are drawn out of the darkness by the same warm light that eventually leads us to bloom...as a tall poppy.
And as a tall poppy we don’t want to be cut down.
We’ve struggled through really tough ground to survive and get where we are. We want to be loved and nurtured and allowed to be who we’re created to be, and to do what we’ve been created to do...which is to bloom.
Flowers don’t compete with one another, they are without rival. They stand as individuals, but they stand together. They have different colours, shapes, fragrances and medicinal properties. Together, they make a garden and bring beauty to the world.
Choose to forgive others, and especially choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to heal, choose to love well.
Choose to be a tall poppy not a machete.
When your love for someone is true it’s not conditional, it is filled with grace...even when it hurts.
When someone really loves you and you finally realise that they’re not the enemy, their grace compels you to lay down your machete.
Don’t be afraid to fall into the open arms of their forgiveness. Because when a person really loves you, they see you. They are filled with compassion because they understand the truth full well...that years of pain, fear and insecurity is how the enemy tricks you into picking the machete up in the first place. They know because they’ve wielded that machete too.
“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.”
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“I have loved you with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness I have drawn you to myself.”