The Velveteen Rabbit
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
I love the story of the Velveteen Rabbit… you know the one…. It’s the story of becoming real. In this story, the Skin Horse describes how one becomes real and in the end, when one has been loved long and hard, there are worn and torn spots. The Skin Horse does a nice job of reminding us that when we remain accessible to people, when we let ourselves be seen and impacted and loved, we risk some bumps and bruises.
It’s risky for sure; being real. We talk about transparency and vulnerability, but the talk is hard to turn into action when we have years of bumps and bruises. I get that.
There is a risk to not being real too though, isn’t there. We know that when we hide behind a facade of perfectionism or ‘everythings-fine-ism’, we don’t let people get close. This lack of connection actually feeds depression, isolation, insecurity and anxiety.
The benefits of being real far outweigh the lifestyle of perfectionism.
How to be real:
1. Find yourself & Embrace your uniqueness – do a values list, develop a mission statement, ask yourself the hard questions. Find a good counsellor you click with and do the work of healing and growth.
2. Practice authenticity in your relationships – show up! Be honest, speak truth, experience emotion, and be vulnerable. Show emotion and learn to be comfortable with the emotions of others.
3. Surround yourself with people who share your values and practice life with a similar perspective.
We live in a time in history where although we are overexposed to each other, we lack deep relationships. Anxiety, depression, isolation are at an all time high and yet we have more access to each other than ever before. The reason perhaps is because we lack deep, intimate connections with each other.
4. I encourage you to try something new. Decide that you are going to show up today. Show up at work, in your relationships, for yourself. Make eye contact. Express your emotions. Ask curious questions of your people. Ask forgiveness if you’ve hurt someone. Forgive someone if you’ve been wronged. These acts of courage will not only feel liberating, they will likely also inspire others to do the same.
You may find that this process of becoming real is the key to experiencing the kind of relationships you’ve craved for a long time. As with our friend the Velveteen Rabbit, we are likely to find that Real isn’t how you’re made, it’s a thing that happens to you. And it comes from years of letting yourself be seen and loved. It means risking being hurt but knowing that the process of becoming Real is an act of courage and well worth the risk.