Grief and loss and suffering, even depression and spiritual crisis, the dark nights of the soul only worsen when we try to ignore or deny or avoid them. The healing journey begins when we turn toward them and learn how to work with them. When we stop fighting against our difficulties and find the strength to meet our demons and difficulties head-on, we often find that we emerge from our difficulties stronger and humbler and more grounded than we were before we experienced them. To survive our difficulties is to become initiated into the fraternity of wisdom.
The real tragedy is when we refuse to acknowledge and respect our own suffering, and instead spread it unconsciously to others. As the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has written, “Suffering confers neither privileges nor rights. It all depends on how one uses it. If you use it to increase the anguish of others or yourself, you are degrading, even betraying it. And yet the day will come when we shall understand that suffering can elevate human beings. God help us to bear our suffering well.” – Jack Kornfield