I don’t remember reading The Velveteen Rabbit as a child or having it read to me. But I did vaguely recall the story so I wasn’t too surprised that I had a strong reaction when I saw this in a post the other day. I waited to write about it because I wanted to make sure I understood why this spoke to me.
Sometimes I think children’s books are wasted on the young. But then I wondered if I had heard this as a child and just didn’t remember and it helped shape me. It helped me form my core beliefs about who I am. So maybe that makes these stories all the more important for our kids to hear.
It’s a fact that what we hear repeatedly over and over is what we believe. Think about that for a minute. If we were told as children we were never going to amount too much, we were no good at anything, we were dumb, doesn’t it make sense that we would continue to tell ourselves that as we get older. Then after years of repetition it wouldn’t take long to become a deeply ingrained belief.
Not true at all, but still something we believe.
But what if we read things like The Velveteen Rabbit and picked up bits of self-esteem building, positive language and managed to internalize that instead of what other flawed, hurting people said? What impact would that have? Would it help cancel out the negative things?
I would like to think that’s what can happen. Actually, that’s what I know happened to me. I had no one encouraging me to dream, to achieve, to reach my goals – unless of course not doing anything I wanted to do was encouraging…
Somewhere along the way I heard, read, saw what I needed to lead me to where I am now. Writing, encouraging, living a life I had no idea was possible when I was a kid. And that little girl who is alive and well and happy inside of me reads things like this now and she smiles.
This reaffirms that it doesn’t matter how our lives start. We can overcome all of that. We can reach our dreams, goals and live an awesome life.
Pay attention to what you’re telling yourself, what you’re thinking. I think you may be surprised at how much it mimics what you were told as a child, especially if it was negative. I’m not sure why the negative stuff sticks longer, but it does.
The cool part is that we have complete control over what we think about ourselves.
And if you find your mind is full of negative, awful stuff right now reread this part of The Velveteen Rabbit and repeat until the negative stuff is gone. You’ll be glad you did!
‘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.’
The Velveteen Rabbit