Near the beginning of the story the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, the oldest toy in the nursery, "what is Real?"
"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 time, not just to play with, but really loves, 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."
... I ain't gonna lie. I totally cried when I read this.