Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.
Several years ago, I received The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas gift. It has long been a favorite of mine and especially poignant on the topic of authenticity or being Real. If you are a fan of the book as well, you’ll remember the conversations between The Velveteen Rabbit and the Old Skin Horse. One particular conversation about being Real went like this:
“Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
Old Skin Horse understands transformational love. He explains to The Velveteen Rabbit that real love encompasses real experiences (both good and bad) over real time. Old Skin Horse goes on to share:
“Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Becoming Real is hard work. Becoming Real means that it isn’t all play time. Becoming Real involves facing loss, hardships, and challenges, and owning our imperfections. Becoming Real is no easy game; it is a way of growing into our authentic selves.
Like Rabbit most of us want to know if becoming Real hurts.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” Rabbit asks, “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.
But the Skin Horse only smiled.
Here’s to our journey of being Real together.