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Are You A Shrinking Violet?

Updated: Jul 13, 2019


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I’ve been paying attention to what I'm seeing in the media, whether it be in magazines, on the news, and social media. I'm seeing two things. I'm seeing very strong women's voice, women's empowerment, which I absolutely love! Conversely, what I'm seeing is women that are shrinking violets.

I'm seeing such a rousing stand for women's empowerment I believe because women are still those Shrinking Violets meaning, they are unseen simply due to their use of submissive language. Submissive language is holding women back. Women need to walk in their own confidence and recognize this language. The first step is in recognizing this behavior. So, the other day I took my sons to the pool, but I’m battling this terrible summer cold. I honestly thought I could suck it up, but about 45 minutes and I just was feeling crummy. I told the boys I had to go home to rest and I found myself saying “I'm so sorry” about 100 times! Finally my eldest said to me, “Mom you need to stop saying you're sorry.” The look on his face said it all, he was annoyed with my rampant sorries.

I use this as an example because as a mom, it feels like we have to conform to being the best of the best out there, and if by happenstance we are ill or just don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all, we have immense guilt and shame. With that comes the use of “I”m sorry”. Do you use that routinely in your everyday activities? -I’m sorry I didn’t get that done

-I’m sorry (just as you enter a conversation) -I’m sorry (offering a different view)

Other submissive language to be aware of: “Just a moment of your time.” “Real quick.” “Sorry to interrupt” “I’m not sure.” “I will try.”

Do you end your sentences with a tone of questioning at the end? For example, “I bought this new cookbook with great recipes on eating Keto?”

As if you’re asking the person if you SHOULD HAVE purchased the book? Use the term “we” rather than take credit for you work? Quiet your voice, change your tone?

Softening and deference? Lots of times submissive language is entwined with submissive body language. Do you hold your arms and legs in tightly to yourself? Do you keep your eyes lowered? Do you ensure your belongings are snuggly within your space? So where does this submissive language come from? Lack of confidence, learned behavior, social norms, empathy for others space, maintain an image of respect? Yes!

None of these are “bad”. In fact, women are highly empathetic, in the book How Women Rise they say “every limiting behavior is always rooted in a strength.” You more than likely want to create inclusivity, don’t want to be seen as brusque or rude, or simply would rather listen than speak. However when we use these words, statements, and take up “less space” we say to the world: “I lack confidence. I’m good where I’m at. No need to ask me what my thoughts are.”

This is draining and damaging. There is a way to turn it around. 1. Identify the submissive behaviors

2. Recognize your strengths, use them Are you kind, generous, innovative, creative

3. Reframe. What did you say or think, how can you say confidently?

Example: “I’m sorry to interrupt…” “Excuse me, I have important information to share with you.”

4. Accountability create a network which keeps you on track

-Keep a journal for every time it happens, what took place, what you could have done differently?

-Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you become aware or these behaviors with a wink or a nod.

5. Consistency

Constantly reframe and practice new thought patterns, use the systems you’ve put into place to create awareness. By practicing these new habits slowly over time, they will yield long term results. #sneakeredlife #coachlife #walkinyourown Pssst... Would you rather listen than read? Click below to listen to the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/piper-harris-716600322/podcast-6-shrinking-violet


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