It can be appealing to go in search of our most wonderful emotional experiences. It is easy to be seduced by the long-term benefits and immediate pleasures these kinds of emotions. This journey can have strict exclusion policy on our darker emotional experiences as these interrupt our route, knock us off course, or are just unwelcome guests on our quest…
…I wouldn’t discount them too quickly. All of our emotions are useful, even the more uncomfortable or painful ones. By considering our emotions as negative or unhappy, it can bring about a desire to avoid them, which can create a new kind of discomfort or pain. The good news is that these seemingly unhappy domains are really powerful places for growth, knowledge and maturity and can lead to something beautiful.
Positive psychology is about embracing all of yourself for your benefit, not just the good bits. We would be much better equipped to achieve a deep sense of wellbeing by accepting all of our emotions on board to help us where appropriate. This kind of emotional intelligence can provide an adaptive advantage by recognizing the gift in each emotional experience, enabling us to navigate successfully through the present for a better future.
Anger can inform us that our personal values have been violated and something needs correcting in order to maintain healthy boundaries.
Sadness can help us feel more empathy for others and give us a deeper connection with others (if it is able to be a shared experience in some way).
Guilt can signal that we have behaved in a way that has violated our moral code and need to alter your behavior or rethink your values.
It is not necessarily the experiences of these darker emotions that make you happy but the acceptance of these emotional states as friends rather than foes can have the side effect of making us happier. There is no direct path to what makes us happy but you can enjoy the journey better when you know you are travelling with friends.
I would encourage you to read the upside of your dark side and also embracing the dark side of life, and positive psychology 2:0 if you are interested in looking into this further.