The Velveteen Principles
There is a difference between superficial beauty and the inner beauty we all possess as unique human beings. One is the product of the object culture, which reduces us to the things we own and the milestones we accomplish. The...
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There is a difference between superficial beauty and the inner beauty we all possess as unique human beings. One is the product of the object culture, which reduces us to the things we own and the milestones we accomplish. The other is the result of a life well lived, where our struggles and challenges make us more loveable and truly ourselves. Inner beauty, the kind you can feel and others can see, is what happens when you stop chasing false ideals and become the Real person you are meant to be. The Velveteen Principles is a guide to becoming Real-Real with ourselves, Real with our hopes and desires, Real with the people we love, and Real with everyone else, too. Through the simple wisdom of a children's classic, it invites us to strip off the trappings of the object culture and remember the things that make us unique, happy and worthy of love. And it shows us that, just as it was for the Velveteen Rabbit in Margery Williams' enduring fable, Real is a process that is sometimes intimidating and sometimes painful, but in the end, far more rewarding than we ever could have imagined. In a time when the pursuit of instant gratification and the stress of daily life can swamp us and cause us to "break easily or have sharp edges," this book offers a safe and steady course toward peace, self-acceptance and true love. It's easy to lose our way. It's easy to forget the simple joys of life. But with the help of a wise old skin horse and a sawdust-filled bunny, The Velveteen Principles will set you back on the course to Real, and remind you that Real isn't how you are made, it's something inside of you. And once you are Real, things will never be the same.
In the tradition of The Tao of Pooh, a noted therapist shows how the wisdom of a children's classic can lead to a life of love, fulfillment and purpose. Who wouldn't want to go back to when life was simple and a stuffed animal could fix all your problems? ^ Botox parties. Extreme Makeovers. "Reality" TV. These are just some examples of how we have lost sight of something so basic yet so essential to true happiness: On our way to becoming status-seeking super-humans, we forgot how to be Real. ^This charming gift book guides readers down a simple path to reclaiming joy, fulfillment and individuality, using an unconventional source-the children's classic The Velveteen Rabbit. By sharing the timeless insights and poignant quotes from the popular children's book, the author identifies 10 keys to becoming Real, with the promise that when you become Real you will love and be loved with all your strengths, weakness, faults and gifts. As the Skin Horse explains to the Velveteen Rabbit: ^
Her husband, a white-haired man dressed in khaki pants and a flannel shirt, was small, alert and quite fit. He had pushed her wheelchair with relative ease and then knelt next to her. He pushed back the sleeve of his shirt, revealing a very old tattoo of a buxom young woman - maybe it was Betty Grable - and stroked his wife's hair. As he adjusted the plastic tubing for her oxygen supply, he spoke softly in his wife's ear. Whatever he said made her smile. As I peeked over my magazine I became strangely jealous. Here she was, at the end of her life, physically debilitated and struggling. But she was not shy or embarrassed. Instead, she exuded a peaceful sense of certainty about who she was and her inherent value. It was clear that her husband adored her and cherished every moment they spent together. I considered his tattoo and thought of the time when he was young and probably quite obsessed with pretty women. And who knows, maybe his wife was once the girl who had fulfilled his fantasy. But in the moment I witnessed, what he loved was the true and essential person inside the body, the invisible beauty he may not have seen in younger years. In the weeks after seeing that couple in the doctor's office I struggled to understand why I had been so envious. I had a husband who loved me. I felt good about my work and about my two children, Amy and Elizabeth. But I felt, deep in my heart, there was something that older woman possessed that I wanted. It was there in her face, and in the way she interacted with her husband, but I just couldn't name it. The answers we need often come to us at unpredictable moments and from surprising sources. This happened to me on a summer evening as I prepared dinner. I was in the kitchen, taking vegetables out of the refrigerator and grabbing pots and pans from the cupboard while my daughters sat together reading on the sofa in the next room. Elizabeth, age six, was reading to two-year-old Amy. Amy had her favorite blanket in her hand, her best bear, Lauren, in her lap and her thumb in her mouth. Elizabeth's stuffed bear, Ted, was propped next to her. They had reached page sixteen of The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams's story, which was one of their favorites. 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?" "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," 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 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 those things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." In the kitchen, I was suddenly flooded with emotion and understanding. The Rabbit and the Skin Horse, I realized, were talking about the difference between superficial beauty and the kind of Real, inner beauty that we all possess as un