The Velveteen Principles – Becoming Real

If you’ve read around here before, you know that I find inspiration from pretty much any/everywhere!

Children’s literature is no exception!

The Velveteen Principles by Toni Raiten-D’Antonio is a neat little book. <<< A quick note about both links. The first one goes not just to this book but to every one in the collection – it’s grown since the first book was written. The second link is from the author’s website and is a calming, beautiful corner of the internet.

The original this book is based upon is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. You may rightfully wonder… do we need a second book to understand the first? That would be a good question… and the answer is… NO. The former was a classic long before this little companion was written.

The premise was simple and remains so…

Toys have a secret life we know nothing about…

They are real.

And therein lies the magical thread that pulls us in…

Could it be… true?

I know that as a kid, I wondered. Did you?

But there was a deeper meaning… of course, there was! And it wasn’t light reading either! I mean, for a children’s book… it was emotionally painful in some profound ways (so many of the children’s classics are, aren’t they?).

If there was a bottom line – and in this case, there was, the question was… what does it mean to be real.

And, “real” is where this guide begins. I mean, c’mon, the subtitle is A Guide to Becoming Real.

There are 12 Principles and I will share them only in snippets – because (as always) I want you to buy the book yourself.

  1. Real is Possible
  2. Real is a Process
  3. Real is Emotional
  4. Real is Empathetic
  5. Real is Courageous
  6. Real is Honest
  7. Real is Generous
  8. Real is Grateful
  9. Real Can Be Painful
  10. Real is Flexible
  11. Real Love Endures
  12. Real is Ethical

As you work through the book, filled with exercises and thoughtful prompts, you may find what you need to step out and be seen. Truly seen, or what I would call authentic. Yeah, it’s been a buzzword for decades. I remember when I first heard it used as something to reach for… becoming authentic. It felt so good, so right... like nobody had ever said it before!

Actually, I have lots of thoughts on authenticity. I believe it has been – and continues to be – an elusive dream for many (most?) of us.

I tend to think there will always be a part of us that nobody will ever see, not necessarily for privacy’s sake… but out of fear. The fear can come from within or without. I’m reminded of a book I wrote about years ago: Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? The answer comes down to this, paraphrased by me: Because if I tell you who I am and it’s not good enough, I have nothing else.

That’s always stuck with me. I think it fits here and… honestly… in any discussion about being authentic.


This little book is sweet and helpful, especially if you’re just beginning your self-help journey. I like it and will probably keep it on my shelf at least for the time being.

Short digression: After our move in January, I purged in a way I never, EVER have… and am down to less than 100 books (from more than a thousand originally!). When I think of all the books that I’ve held in these hands… it’s overwhelming. I’m now keeping only those that are most meaningful… for whatever reason. I doubt this one will make the long haul but in the meantime, it’s a pretty little book with some good insights.

OH! And! My quest for authenticity? Yeah, still on it. I’m close. There are still some barriers… erected by ME, of course. What can I say? It’s a work in progress.


  1. Agreed ~ but “never” is a strong word. Our women vote, and our Black people go to college. Um, they are erasing minor work permit regulations in a southern state, and chain gangs are back also ~ so we won’t hold our breath.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s yet another reason not to share authenticity: Authentically, we should be free to be naked at 90°F. Since it would directly hurt no one at all, the only reason we can’t is that this world rewards false venality and puts natural authenticity behind bars. Many times it our most worthy aspects which it is necessary for us to downplay (but bitching and moaning publicly about anything at all is completely acceptable), right?

    Liked by 1 person

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