Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

“When people show you who they are, believe them.”

Maya Angelou

There I was, reading my daily devotional, and I came across this quote by Margery Williams, Author of The Velveteen Rabbit children’s book. Do you remember this story? Truly a classic. The quote reads, “Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, your eyes dropped out, and you get loose in the joints. You’re very shabby. But this doesn’t matter because once you’re real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” Sit with that for a minute. Re-read it, go ahead. Deep isn’t it? And oh so incredibly true.

It got me thinking. How many of us are that velveteen rabbit? How many of us are accepting of the fact that being worn down and used is okay, because it means you’ve lived and you’ve loved? In many ways I get the sentiment. In fact, I’d say I quite relate. I’ve been there. Except I’ve also pulled myself together. A more pleasing to the eyes version of myself has since emerged. In this daily devotional bible plan, the author, Anabel Gillham, expresses another similar sentiment of mine. She goes on to say, “One day I realized I was loved when I knew this, I stopped trying to be beautiful, talented, and efficient. Stopped worrying about what was wrong with me. What others said or thought didn’t distress me. I had become “real.” Like, whoa! Can you relate?

We wake up and immediately put on our armor. We’ve got to be strong, resilient, focused, fearless, dedicated, honorable, diligent, and the list goes on and on. Willing to set our true selves aside to play whichever part we have been handed the script for that day. Whether it’s our employee selves, our parent selves, our spouse selves, our child selves, our sibling selves, our boss selves, you name it. In some way shape or form, you’ve been there. Some days you’ve woken up and have had to dig deep in that storage closet to pull out the most indestructible of all shields of protection, just to make it through. Fake it ‘til we make it, is the mission. Survival is the goal.

 Then there are the days when you wake up out of the alternate reality you’re living in and say, “Today I don’t want to put anything else on. What I carry is enough!” You show up in the world as your authentic self and though it’s a shock to many, YOU my dear, are relieved! Wondering why you weren’t true to yourself all along. What were you afraid of? You, with those worn out smiles. Were you concerned what others would think about you? What others would say? That armor comes in handy doesn’t it? Yet that’s no way to live. Joy comes when you release all inhibitions, care or concerns about the outside world and start showing up as yourself. THIS is beauty embodied! Un-distressed, you my darling have become real.

(I’d like to interject here with a fine print realness clause and say, this is not in any way permission to be rude and crass, instead, permission to show a realness that reflects your personality and values. Now, carry on.)

This is easier said than done I know, but as we get older, we can pick it apart. There are those of us who put on a façade. We portray an “us” to the world that deep down inside wishes to be released. Released from the pressures of doing it all. From the expectations put on us. Yet we wake up each day pretending to be the very things we wish we could let go. You begin to resent the very people you are willingly helping and doing for each day. Yet, you keep helping and doing. Maybe you talk about them later with those you can confide in. It’s the only way you can find relief. Nonetheless, you wake up and do it all over again the next day. You, are the velveteen rabbit that’s disheveled and picked apart with nothing to show for it but bumps, bruises, and depletion. There’s no love shown here. Not by others, or by you to your-self. The more you subject yourself to living this lifestyle, the deeper into the abyss you fall.

We can see from miles away when someone is deflecting, hiding behind the curtains of their roles and responsibilities, behind their busy work. It’s hard to connect with individuals like this. And through no fault of their own, they have developed these coping mechanisms. It’s what makes them feel accomplished, even satisfied. The truth lies in the false sense of security these things build in us. We think, it’s what we should be doing. It’s what others expect from us. But where does that leave us in the end? Worn out, dazed, confused, breathless, stressed, anxiety ridden, and I’d even dare to say LOST.

So, how do you transition from a life of self-perceived efficiency? YOU JUST LET GO! Yup, it’s just that simple. You make a decision, say no more, tomorrow is a new day and start building healthier habits that align with your authentic self. Do what comes naturally to you. It should happen with ease, unforced, as fluid as running water.

In the words of one of my favorite fitness trainer, Elise Joan, and also elegantly expressed by Bruce Lee, “Be like water. Water can crash, it can flow, it is simultaneously powerful and gentle. That is empowerment. Strength with compassion. Give yourself some grace. Be comfortable enough to fall down, rise back up, and practice not judging ourselves in the process. Eliminate that inner critique and turn it into your inner cheerleader instead.” Acknowledge the fact that you showed up in life, doing the things that challenge you. Showing up sans-armor; armor-less.

How will you know when you’ve arrived?  Our dearest Anabel expresses it best, “Tears can come, joy will be a part of your life, and you’ll look at others and understand that you will live to please only one person- Jesus Christ.”

As always, I hope this message has encouraged you. To live your life to the best of your ability. To shine brighter each day and be your best self.  Yours truly. – Lin Green

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Karin says:

    This is such a beautiful description. Your writing style is so eloquent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Your feedback means the world.


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