EXCERPT FROM THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
By Margery Williams
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“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 all 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.”
Moral of the story!
- To grow into the person you are meant to be accept that part of life is getting hurt. That’s the ‘sandpaper’ that rubs down your sharp edges.
- Accept others as they are without shouting at them for saying the wrong thing (in your opinion!). You really don’t want people ‘walking on eggshells’ when they’re with you. I’m not telling you to accept abuse as that’s a different matter and unacceptable.
- Use each hurt as an opportunity to learn something about yourself. I just ask myself the simple question ‘what is this incident telling me about my belief systems.’
- Sometimes we mind-read what we ‘think’ the other person has ‘really’ said and react to that, rather than what they have actually said. Become aware of this tendency. Pull yourself back into reality by asking yourself ‘what are the actual words the other person said’ and react to these words instead of what you imagine they’ve said.
Becoming a real person doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.