Shrinking Violet No More!

I’ve heard the term “shrinking violet” before.  However, it wasn’t until it was revealed that I was acting like a “shrinking violet” that I decided to research the origin and what the purest form of the meaning was.  So, when the comment that I “play the background” was made for the 3rd or 4th time in a week, I thought it best that I began to address or seek out what the lesson to be learned was.

The term “shrinking violet” is associated with modesty. Violet has a Latin origin and comes from the root word viola´ meaning ‘to call attention to or express’.  After researching further I found that violets thrive under a variety of conditions.  They tend to grow in secluded spots, as if wanting to hide their characteristics (being sweetly scented and beautifully colored).

At this point, I knew there was a lesson in this because there are no coincidences with God taught lessons.  I consider myself a pretty outgoing and on occasion, have been called the “life of the party” that doesn’t scream “shrinking violet”…does it?!?!…wait…that’s a wallflower…never mind…lol.   Seriously, after digging further however, I realized that when it came to expressing my gifts and areas of “expertise”, I tend to “shrink back” and not say much about me.  I was determined to get to the root of what this was about and its intended meaning for me. 

A story that my mother would often tell about me, came to mind.  The story as I remember it went like this…I was in Elementary school and one day, I came home crying.  My mother began to inquire as to why I was crying.  I told her that they kids were making fun of me at school.  After asking what they were teasing me about, I finally ‘fessed up and told her they were calling me “Einstein”.  (Yeah, that Einstein…the “great mind” and physicist, Albert Einstein).  My mother began laughing at me and using a teachable moment like only my mother could, she began to ask me questions about who Einstein was and what he was known for.  To make a long story short,  she tried to help me understand that being called “Einstein” wasn’t a bad thing.  I didn’t understand that AT ALLALL I knew was that I was being teased and made fun of and not liked because of one of my “characteristics” (my intelligence) and I didn’t like the way that felt at all.  Little did I know that this would be a pivotal moment in my life. 

There are other stories that come to mind, but I won’t bore you with the details.  Let’s just say that I spent a good chunk of my early life shaping, molding, and conforming who I was to other people’s opinions of me, just so that I would not have that feeling from Elementary school of not being liked or not fitting in.   On many occasions I would “dumb down” who I was in order to fit in.  Thank God for “AHA” moments and I soon realized that I was NEVER going to make everyone happy or like me.  So, I started living my “best self” years ago.  Oh, but isn’t it just like God to show you that you haven’t “arrived?”  Apparently I still had some leftover residue of being a “shrinking violet” in me that needed to be cleared out for next level living. 

Right as this lesson learned was in progress, I was expressing my frustration about still not securing employment to someone and their answer to my frustration was to “dumb down” my resume so that I could at least get a job.  That statement irritated me and then I realized that I would NO LONGER BE A SHRINKING VIOLET!  NO MORE!  This was the END OF THE ROAD FOR THAT FOOLISHNESS.  I know that this may be easier said than done but my awareness will not keep me in this holding pattern for long, should this “shrinking violet” syndrome rear its ugly head again.

What situations do you find yourself being a “shrinking violet”?   I would love to read your comments.  You can also email me at .

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