Why Be A Pineapple?

I learned a very interesting fact recently about sunflowers. Sunflowers look to the sun for their strength to stand tall and to grow. I guess the name “sunflower” is really appropriate. That got me thinking though. What happens when it’s cloudy? When they don’t have their main source of energy? After some quick googling I learned that in times of darkness sunflowers turn toward each other for that strength. The strength to get through those dark times and the hard times. They lean on each other knowing that soon the sun, and their strength, will return. 

But, no one every says they want to be a sunflower. If you look around our society, everyone wants to be a pineapple. You stand tall, wear a crown and are sweet on the inside. There are t-shirts, home décor, even tattoos about it. A good friend recently asked me the question that I have been asking myself,

“Why be a pineapple and stand strong, when you can be a sunflower and help your neighbor be strong too?”

This thought has really resonated lately.

We are on a campaign to be a world full of strong and independent women which I love, admire, and strive to be. We need to prove to men, and ourselves, that we are capable of being successful, independent and strong. That we aren’t controlled by emotions and empathy. That if a man can do it, we can do it even better. I believe women are just as strong and capable, however, I’ve noticed this idea of standing tall and independent sometimes doesn’t lead to being very sweet on the inside.

Women are very competitive. In the workplace we find ourselves competing with not the just men for higher pay and better positions, but with each other to get ahead. Instead of being there to mentor and help each other we instead are sabotaging each other. In the dating world, women may not even know someone and are finding reasons to judge and dislike because the man they are interested in chose someone else. 

But what we seem to forget sometimes is that we need to be there for each other. We need to find strength in each other. We often let our competitive nature get the best of us and forget that instead of pushing each other down, we need to help lift each other up. I’m not saying you need to be best friends with everyone you encounter. But, say “good luck” to the other person interviewing for that job. Smile at your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend when you pass her in line for the bathroom. Compliment the woman in the elevator with you on her hair or shoes. Be a shoulder to cry on for a friend or colleague who is having a rough day. 

There is truth that there is strength in numbers. Yes, we need to be strong and independent women. Yes, we need to prove ourselves. But independent gets lonely. I consider myself to be independent, and until recently I hated asking for help. I’ve built walls up and really struggled (and still struggle) letting people in. Letting people in emotionally, seeing me cry. Letting people help me do simple tasks when my chronic pain was overpowering. My pride was my competition and always won. I didn’t want anyone to see me weak, so as any pineapple would do, I adjusted my crown and pushed through. The more I pushed, the more rotten I became on the inside. It wasn’t until I turned to my neighbor and sought strength that my entire perception shifted. 

Once I made that change and learned the value in seeking strength in another, I really began to feel strong. Stronger than being independent. I felt myself standing a bit taller too. I wasn’t alone. I had support on the hard days, and someone to celebrate with and soak up the good days. It made me appreciate both so much more. As much as I was getting strength from them, they were able to turn to me and get the same. By leaning on each other, friendships were becoming stronger and we became stronger individuals too. 

Turn to your neighbor. Let’s lean on each other and find strength in one another. The world is too dark and cloudy right now to do this alone. 

Julia DonnellyComment