In the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, author Margery Williams provides the story of a stuffed rabbit and his quest to become real through the love of his owner. The book has become a classic as much for adults as for children.
Discovering your “real” self is often what brings someone into counseling. People are trying to behave in a way that does not fit them. They say and do things that are not really true to their values and beliefs to be accepted in a relationship or within a social group. Maybe they don’t feel worthy just as they are. Not living your real self can create tremendous stress and strain. No wonder people end up feeling lonely and unhappy because they are not living the life that they want but a life that they think they should be living.
Read below the most familiar passage from the The Velveteen Rabbit. Or listen to the actress Meryl Streep read the passage on youtube at 3 minutes & 45 seconds into the recording at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_m054tLKvs
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘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.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘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. 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.”
Being real is not easy but as The Skin Horse says, “…once you become real you cannot become ‘unreal’ again.”
Isn’t living your best life as the real you worth it?