Although we'd all rather not experience challenging emotions, they are a necessary and unavoidable part of life. Simply put they are the reason we've made it as far as we have.
Emotions communicate important information to us about our environment and basic needs to help guide our decisions and keep us from harm.
When we're in potentially dangerous situations our emotions will alert us by making us feel fear, which motivates us to assess for threats and take action. This is what kept our ancestors alive and will continue keeping us alive.
Our emotions signal whether or not our basic needs are being met, such as feeling exhausted when we've not had enough sleep or irritated when we've not eaten. Acknowledging and responding to these signs helps to ensure that we make healthy and helpful decisions that aids our survival.
Each time we get something right, learn a new skill or try a different activity, we feel positive emotions, like pride and enjoyment which gives us a sense of mastery and motivates us to keep developing.
Similarly, when we fail to do something successfully we might feel disappointed, embarrassed or angry, which may encourage us to overcome obstacles or reconsider our path.
Without experiencing these incentives we may not progress as far as we could.
As social beings we rely heavily on our emotional connection with others to thrive and survive, which is why feelings of sadness and loneliness exist. These feelings are meant encourage us to find our community and get the support we need to navigate life.
We can see the importance of connection in the earliest stages of life, where the bond between caregivers and infants keep us alive.
Can you think of a time when your emotions helped your survival, growth or relationships?