The Velveteen Rabbit

By Greg Baer M.D.

May 2, 2014

In her children’s novel, The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams describes a stuffed rabbit—made of velveteen, a type of fabric—that is given to a young boy. Magically, one of the boy’s other toys tells the rabbit that there’s a way he can become Real.

"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, (but) when you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, or bit by bit?"

"It takes a long time,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. 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."

Until we are sufficiently loved—REALLY loved—we’re only stuffed animals, stuffed with misconceptions and pain. But love changes all that. Sometimes the process is uncomfortable, and if we can’t endure that, we withdraw and continue to be stuffed animals. But if we’re willing to lose our hair, and become a bit shabby at times, the process continues until we become Real—until we come alive.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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