One of my favorite excerpts from literature comes from The Velveteen Rabbit. It’s a story for children but I don’t think we grasp the true meaning and depth of this story until adulthood. And I doubt there is a more poignant exchange in all of literature about life. The passage is about Becoming Real.
It’s a conversation between the Skin Horse, the wisest of all the toys, and the Velveteen Rabbit. The Rabbit was struggling to feel at home in the nursery as he wasn’t as impressive or expensive as the other toys. He asks the Skin Horse what it means to be Real. The Skin Horse replies:
“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,' Rabbit 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.”
Yes, you might have scars from broken dreams or missteps. You may have marks from growing or falling or stumbling. Yes, life might break you down every once and a while. But You Are Real. And the scars and marks are signs that you are really living life. You’re loving with open arms even with the fear of being hurt. You’re vulnerable and showing up for people in your life. You're stepping out into the arena - failure or success - instead of sitting on the sidelines. That is Real and that is beautiful. Real is never ugly. Real is contagious and inspiring.
So take a lesson today from the Velveteen Rabbit and don’t be afraid to be Real. It’s a beautiful thing.
Be Your Best Today,