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Apparently, if we can get passed how bad it makes us feel, there is a lot of good which can emerge from a period of feeling awful. Pain and suffering, including that caused by withdrawal from antidepressants and other drugs can be a catalyst for transformation, a gift, which when unwrapped, can contain the seeds of a renewed life. "Are pain and suffering destructive experiences to be avoided, or are they opportunities for people to develop an extraordinary life? The wisdom of spiritual philosophies throughout the ages has converged with modern psychological research to produce an answer: Suffering and sacrifice offer profound gains, advantages, and opportunities to those open to such boons.... 1. Suffering is Redemptive Buddhism teaches us that suffering is inevitable but can also be a catalyst for personal and spiritual growth... ...Christianity also embraces the redemptive value of suffering....For Christians, Christ's suffering served the purpose of redeeming no less than the entire human race, elevating Jesus into the role of the Western world’s consummate spiritual leader for the past two millennia... ...Positive psychology recognizes beneficial effects of suffering through the principles of post traumatic growth, stress-related growth, positive adjustment, positive adaptation, and adversarial growth... 2. Suffering Signifies a Necessary “Crossover” Point in Life Psychologists who study lifespan development have long known that humans traverse through various stages of maturation from birth to death. Each necessary entanglement on the human journey represents painful progress toward becoming fully human, each struggle an opportunity for people to achieve the goal of wholeness... ...A recurring theme in world literature is the idea that people must plummet to physical and emotional depths before they can ascend to new heights... In eastern religious traditions, such as Hinduism, [...] karma involves the acceptance of suffering as a just consequence and as an opportunity for spiritual progress. The message is clear: we must die, or some part of us must die, before we can live, or at least move forward. If we resist that dying – and most every one of us does – we resist what is good for us and hence bring about our own suffering. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung observed that “the foundation of all mental illness is the avoidance of true suffering.” Paradoxically, if we avoid suffering, we avoid growth... 3. Suffering Encourages Humility Spiritual traditions from around the world emphasize that although life can be painful, a higher power is at work using our circumstances to humble us and to shape us into what he, she, or it wants us to be... ...Humility is a major step toward “recovery” in twelve-step programs such Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gambler’s Anonymous, and Al-Anon... The spiritual principle at work here is the idea that victory is only possible through admitting defeat. Richard Rohr argues that only when people reach the limits of their private resources do they become willing to tap into the “ultimate resource” – God, Allah, the universe, or some power greater than themselves. 4. Suffering Stimulates Compassion Suffering also invokes compassion for those who are hurting. Every major spiritual tradition emphasizes the importance of consolation, relief, and self-sacrificial outreach for the suffering... ...Psychologists have found that just getting people to think about the suffering of others activates the vagus nerve, which is associated with compassion... 5. Suffering Promotes Social Union and Collective Action ...Freud viewed social relations as the cause of suffering. In contrast, the spiritual view of suffering reflects the opposite position, namely, that suffering is actually the cause of our social relations. Suffering brings people together and is much better than joy at creating bonds among group members... ...Psychologist Stanley Schachter told his research participants that they were about to receive painful electric shocks. Before participating in the study, they were asked to choose one of two waiting rooms in which to sit. Participants about to receive shocks were much more likely to choose the waiting room with people in it compared to the empty room. Schachter concluded that misery loves company. Schachter then went a step further and asked a different group of participants, also about to receive the shocks, if they would prefer to wait in a room with other participants who were about to receive shocks, or a room with participants who would not be receiving shocks. Schachter found that participants about to receive shocks much preferred the room with others who were going to share the same fate. His conclusion: misery doesn’t love any kind of company; misery loves miserable company... ...Suffering can also mobilize people... In North America, African-Americans were subjugated by European-Americans for centuries, and from this suffering emerged the heroic leadership of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesse Jackson, among others. The suffering of women inspired Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a host of other heroic activists to promote the women’s suffrage movement... 6. Suffering Instills Meaning and Purpose The sixth and final benefit of suffering resides in the meaning and purpose that suffering imparts to the sufferer. Many spiritual traditions underscore the role of suffering in bestowing a sense of significance and worth to life...In Islam, the faithful are asked to accept suffering as Allah’s will and to submit to it as a test of faith... ...For Christians, countless scriptural passages emphasize discernment of God’s will to gain an understanding of suffering or despair. Suffering is endowed with meaning when it is attached to a perception of a divine calling in one’s life or a belief that all events can be used to fulfill God’s greater and mysterious purpose... ...Psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl suggested that a search for meaning transforms suffering into a positive, life-altering experience: “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning...." ...The ability to derive meaning from suffering is a hallmark characteristic of heroism in myths and legends. Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell (1949) discovered that all great hero tales from around the globe share a common structure, which Campbell called the hero monomyth. A key component of the monomyth is the hero’s ability to endure suffering and to triumph over it. Heroes discover, or recover, an important inner quality that plays a pivotal role in producing a personal transformation that enables the hero to rise above the suffering and prevail... Conclusion For an individual or a group to move forward or progress, something unpleasant must be endured (suffering) or something pleasant must be given up (sacrifice)... ...Great heroic leaders understand that suffering redeems, augments, defines, humbles, elevates, mobilizes, and enriches us. These enlightened leaders not only refuse to allow suffering and sacrifice to defeat them; they use suffering and sacrifice as assets to be mined for psychological advantages and inspiration..." Full article here: Psychology Today - Want To Be A Hero? Embrace Suffering and Sacrifice Also see: The Descent Experience