My experience has been that many of us who have suffered the misery and excruciating pain of untreated mental illness, emotional trauma, or addiction tend to be “brutally broken” but “still have the courage to be gentle to other beings.”
Experiencing the pains associated with our maladies: isolation, guilt, shame, shunning, diminished capacity to function, homelessness, self-hatred, hospitalization, alienation, being stigmatized, anxiety, OCD, hallucinations, psychoses, mania, depression, self harm, suicidality, divorce, bankruptcy, severe trauma, addiction, and more eventually brings most of us to our knees, seeking help from others and sometimes from a Higher Power of our understanding.
Our own suffering engenders empathy for others who are suffering. And getting into recovery requires vulnerability-exposing our brokenness so we can start healing. An act that takes great courage, while being kind and gentle at the same time.
My own personal experience has been that my recovery has a spiritual component whereby I derive the courage from God, and from within myself, to do what is necessary, and the compassion to be kind and to love.