You and I have been talking about authenticity lately. I suppose authenticity could be different things to different people but the bottom line is: authenticity means being true to yourself. This would include giving up the need to have a polished façade and sharing only those parts of yourself that you think are perfect enough for human consumption.
As is often the case, children’s literature boils any complex concept down to its purest form. The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my sons’ favorite stories. Here’s an excerpt:
"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 often 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 these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
I had been planning to post on this book for sometime. This is not a new thought. But, lo and behold----alas and alack, my guru Brene Brown has also blogged on this book. (I have mostly forgiven her for beating me to the post.) In her work on authenticity, she has reached many of the same conclusions that I have reached through a practical path.
Brene and I have reached other conclusions from our two very different paths. Before I even knew of Brene and her work, I had reached the conclusions that courage, healthy self-esteem, trust in others and persistence in life are the characteristics that have allowed me to survive and thrive in spite of a difficult life. Brene touts these characteristics as The Gifts of Imperfection. They, she maintains, are the by-products of living life authentically.
Have you become real yet? Has your fur been loved off yet?