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Does Suffering Lead to Empathy

Is true empathy for others possible without personal suffering?  
Suffering as a concept can be beautiful. It breaks down our ego (sense of self), helps us see the world and our role in it differently and ultimately helps us grow in our spiritual journey.  In practice however, it just plain sucks.  
One of the most profound outputs of suffering can be empathy. Empathy for ourselves initially, but then, empathy for others.  We as humans are limited in our capacity to feel and truly understand outside of our own experience.⠀Pain and suffering are spiritual gold because they can be a pathways to understanding another's pain and helping them.⠀
Put differently, we are more effective in helping others when we can relate to their pain and suffering and in order to do this, we need our own reference point to draw from.⠀⠀

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