The best Christmas gift I ever received was the book “The Velveteen Rabbit”. I was six years old and living in Philadelphia. I loved the story but didn’t have the book. It was the one thing I wanted that Christmas and I was fortunate enough to be given this gift and to this day, it is my favorite gift and favorite book. What made the book even more special is my dad wrote on the front page of the book “Carolyn, love can make anything real. Love Dad” Just thinking about this makes me tear up.
For those of you who don’t know the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, I will do my best to provide a brief synopsis. A little boy gets the gift of a velveteen rabbit for Christmas. In the beginning, the rabbit was a great gift until the little boy began getting other toys that peaked his interest. For a long time after Christmas the rabbit lived in the nursery with many of the other toys the boy and other family members didn’t bother to play with anymore. The rabbit begins a friendship with the boy’s uncle’s former toy, the skin horse. The horse is the wise man in this story. He has seen and experienced a lot and is there to explain life to the rabbit. He explains something called the “nursery magic” which happens to only a few toys. The “nursery magic” is when a child loves you so much that you become real. What you look like doesn’t matter, it is only how you make that child feel and how that child makes the toy feel that matters. The rabbit is fortunate enough to be selected by the boy as a play toy and through many afternoons playing outside and nights sleeping close the boy, the rabbit and the boy form an unbreakable bond and the “nursery magic” happens to the rabbit. When this happens, most of his fur has been loved off, the pink satin lining his ears has turned brown and his eyes are scratched. But none of this matters, because he is real; he is loved.
This story taught me a very valuable lesson at the ripe age of 6, when you are loved, what you look like doesn’t matter, because to the people that matter the most, to the people that love you, you are beautiful and you are real. Being real to the people you love and love you means that you can be who you are no matter what baggage you carry, what faults you have, what you look like, etc. you are loved. Nothing else matters.
Love is a very simple emotion. It can, at times, bring its own baggage, but love at its core is simple. We love because we have a connection. We love because we can’t imagine life without that person. We love because we are each other’s brothers and sisters in this journey called life. When you love, you act in love, you talk in love, you think in love, you feel in love. Love helps us shed the hardened armor that we wear to protect ourselves from being hurt and from showing the world how vulnerable and tender we really are. Love is an amazing feeling. When we love and feel love we feel invincible, we feel that anything is possible and that life can only get better.
When I speak of love I am talking about all types of love, romantic love, friendship love, familial love, etc. Love is love. True love is unconditional. Love is accepting a persons greatness and weakness, it is accepting a persons strengths and faults, it is accepting the whole person, not just the parts that you like or that parts that are easy to love. Love is loving when it is difficult, when the road gets rough and still standing by the person with no judgment and saying to yourself and that person, “I love you”.
I am extremely blessed to be loved by many people and with their love I have become more real. Their love makes it easier for me to accept myself, my faults, my dark side (as Kelly Clarkson puts it). Their love has made life easier and has made life wonderful. The only thing more powerful that being loved is loving. Loving someone with all of your being is amazing. It can be painful at times but that only makes the love stronger.
I believe if we all start acting from a place of love, life can only get better. Act from a place of love with your friends, your family, loved ones and most importantly yourself. When you act, speak, think, and feel from a place of love, only great things can happen. When you act in love you expect nothing in return. You act from a place that makes others feel and know that they matter. Everything that you receive is a bonus. When you speak in love, you speak from a place deep within and share what makes you real and help others share their realness. When you think from a place of love you focus on what is positive and what you are grateful for. When you feel from a place of love you feel from your soul. You feel that connection from one human being to another.
The first step in acting, talking, thinking and feeling in love is to act, talk, think, and feel love for yourself. You cannot truly love another person if you do not love yourself. So with these last two weeks of 2021 I encourage you to look inward and see all the amazing things about yourself that there is to love. I want you to learn to love your bright side as well as your dark side. I want you to learn how to love yourself unconditionally. I want you to learn that the more you love and accept yourself, the more real you become. If you are stuck on what there is to love about you, ask those who love you. Ask the people who see you for who you are and love you. Sometimes we have to see ourselves through the eyes of others to see what they see. Loving yourself is a process. It isn’t something that happens overnight. Just like the nursery magic, it takes time and it can be painful, but in the end, it is all worth it. The relationship you have with yourself can be the most challenging and yet the most rewarding. Invest the time into the your relationship with yourself that you invest in your relationship with others.The more you love yourself, the more love will pour into your life. Love begets love.
With much love, Merry Christmas!