Most people are afraid of getting hurt. That is why so many people invest so much in their relationships with animals. We have 3 dogs and a cat, and I love them as part of the family, but my greatest personal growth has come from not running away from human relationships. That is where the true manna can be found. As opposed to an animal, people can hurt you. They will hurt your feelings, your sense of self worth, and your ability to love. By their words and their actions they will make you feel small. For me, because I had significant childhood issues I was dealing with, a comment could throw me back in to feeling like I was little and powerless. When you feel powerless as an adult, you either become withdrawn and depressed, or you become angry. Throughout my twenties and in to my thirties, I did both at different times. As I worked through those issues and became more of an adult emotionally, I was no longer frozen in emotional time as a kid and no longer reacting from that state. My self worth came from a knowing that I am perfect as I am and no changes are needed. I no longer saw the world through rose colored glasses of past experiences. When you live more and more in the wholeness, you recognize your holiness, and in that holiness God is found. So when you unwind all of the false beliefs you have about yourself, what you discover is God within. If you get hurt easily and you have reacted to this by putting up an emotional wall, you are cutting yourself off from Love. You think that you are "protecting" yourself, but in reality you are damming the flow. Ironically, the way to not get hurt is by getting hurt. When you allow yourself to feel everything, when you allow yourself to be in relationships where someone you love might hurt you or leave you, you learn how to deal with and grow from those hurts. What happens is that you learn to rely on yourself, not in the sense of being like Rambo, but in the sense of being your own nurturer, your own comforter. And you learn to rely on God, who is always there for you. Then when you enter in to a relationship, you can love fully, without expectation of what the other person will give to you or do. All the love they give you becomes a gift for which you are very grateful. If they leave you, will it hurt? Probably, but you now have the ability to comfort and fully love yourself. It is a great thing when equally you can love being by yourself or being with people. That is an authentic and fully open person.