During the Victorian era (1837-1901), it was protocol for ladies to wear tightly buttoned-up dresses and it was also protocol for everyone to button up their intense emotions. Because of this rigid approach to the expression of emotions, flowers became a way of conveying deep, intimate or intense emotions when you dared not say it aloud. PDA* in any manner was simply not allowed. Flowers became a creative way to express the poetry of what was going on in your heart or the message / poetry you wanted to bring to someone else’s heart.
This birthed the initiation of ‘Floriography’ - otherwise known as ‘The Language of Flowers’.
It’s also been said that flowers can cause a release of specific brain chemicals that ignite specific emotional reactions:
- When you receive flowers, it triggers the release of dopamine - a brain chemical that causes the recipient to feel pleasure.
- Receiving flowers also trigger the release of oxytocin - the hormone (brain chemical) responsible for a sense of connection/bonding. This is the same chemical that is released when you are physically or emotionally bonding with someone else, as in a mother nursing; two lovers holding hands; or being in the community of loved ones.
So, not only can specific flowers convey a specific message - it can literally affect your emotions by affecting your brain.
My passion for both flowers and the human heart causes me to be intensely fascinated with The Language of Flowers and how it can impact hearts and lives in a simple, yet beautiful, manner.
I’ve decided to start writing about The Language of Flowers and to zoom in on one flower at a time and the message that it conveys (or hopes to convey) by being given from one person to another.
The first flower I will start with is the magnolia. Such a simple, yet elegant and striking flower. A flower that touches your heart and leaves you wanting more of its beauty. A flower that is effortlessly beautiful. A flower that effortlessly blooms without any high maintenance or excessive demands.
A flower that means: ‘You are worthy of this beautiful magnolia.’ So, for me, magnolia symbolizes worthiness - a concept that many women severely struggle with. If not all women.
It reminds me of the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve hid themselves from God after they have sinned. He asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?” In other words - where did this shame and negative self-awareness come from? Why are you hiding yourself and your heart from Me? As if to say that from His heart, He still sees them pure and holy and worthy, but something in their minds and hearts have changed and they were oppressed with shame.
From a psychological point of view, shame is the opposite of worthiness. Worthiness says ‘I am enough. I don’t need to be or do anything more or less to be loved and accepted.’ Shame says ‘Who I am is too much or not enough. I will never be enough. I’m not worthy of love and acceptance.’ So, as you can see - polar opposites of the heart.
In the Victorian era, a magnolia was given from a man to a woman when he wanted to convey the message that she is worthy of the beauty that magnolia has to offer her heart. In a sense saying that she is worthy of the love that he has to offer her heart.
My prayer for your heart is that you will receive the love and acceptance extended to you - even if it’s hard to comprehend. May you know that you are worthy and that you never, ever have you hustle for your worthiness or that you have to prove your worthiness. May you come to rest in your worth and may your sense of worthiness give you rest.
I look forward to journeying with you through The Language of Flowers.
*PDA: Public Display of Affection.