I’ve picked up this old book that my mom gave me, and then my sister also gave me, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. If you don’t have it… buy it. It’s a lovely book with a passage for each day – a lesson or a fable of sorts and I find it useful to read it early in the morning when it’s just Landon and I in the quiet living room before the world has woken up.
November 3rd’s lesson is from the Velveteen Rabbit. I hadn’t thought of that story in ages but come to remember that the rabbit wanted more than anything to become real. The old horse in the nursery where the rabbit lived told him that becoming real doesn’t happen overnight to toys or people. “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. 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 that don’t understand.”
In order for toys to become real they must be loved by a child. In order for us to be real we must become lovers of ourselves, our lives in all of their complexities. I struggle with self confidence quite a bit. For someone who was confident and secure growing up even in high school when most are not, it seems to have deteriorated some over time. I am not sure how or why but it’s something I have to work on all the time. It’s easy to let our confidence wane. To forget what makes us real. Forget what makes us our authentic selves. It can be physical appearance, family, money, loneliness… we allow ourselves to let the outside world and others influence our confidence and how authentic we feel. I love the story of the velveteen rabbit also to think of the love of a child making us real. I feel more defined than ever by being Landon’s mom. To say “this is my daughter” makes me feel so special. To define myself now as her mother… it feels amazing.
As you learn to acknowledge, accept, and appreciate what it is that makes you different than all the other toys in the cupboard, the process begins. As you learn to trust the wisdom of your heart and make creative choices based on what you know is right for you, process becomes progress. As you learn to endow even the smallest moment of each day with love, progress becomes reality perfected. You become not only real to those who know and love you, but real to everyone. You become authentic.
Here’s to finding and remembering our authentic selves.