Once you are real, you will never be the same.
Have you ever read “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams?
If not, this excerpt explains what “real” is and how you can become real. After you read it, I’ll tell you something I’ve learned.
“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 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 authentic, genuine and transparent in our relationships or in other words being real and open is difficult for many people.
Why Is Being Real So Difficult?
Becoming vulnerable and open to the possibility of being hurt is a scary experience. Just the thought of being rejected can bring about anxiety and fear in most people. The fear can be so great that it holds us back from experiencing a close relationship filled with unconditional love.
When love is given unconditionally and received openly, the love in the relationship is real. Real love is unselfish, kind, thoughtful, responsible, respectful, steadfast and lasting. Having real love doesn’t mean that life is easy breezy. Real love in a real life eases the pain of trials and hard times. A real life not only has a deeper meaning, but it also has direction and purpose. You can’t have a real life or real love if you don’t first become real.
Being real isn’t based on outer beauty. The only way to become real is to cultivate the inner beauty. Changing inside is a painful journey. Tweaking our character, polishing the rough spots and completely removing the sharp edges takes work, dedication and a willingness to experience pain. Changing to become real is painful and difficult.
Believe me, after two failed marriages, being vulnerable to the possibility of pain is terrifying even with the prospect of unconditional love dangling like a carrot in my future. I know though that there is nothing sweeter than unconditional love because it gives you freedom – freedom from ridicule, freedom from judgement, freedom from rejection and freedom to love completely.
Like the Skin Horse said, “Once you are Real you can’t be ugly.” It is worth being hurt during the struggles of life in order to be fully accepted and loved unconditionally for our imperfect self. The long journey to becoming real in a real relationship is what makes life and love so beautiful.