Two Lessons on Emotional Growth

This animation from School of Life describes the two types of emotional desires we seek, and how they have the power to determine the decisions we make.

While scientists grapple with the question of how much our brains grow as we age—do we make new neurons as we age, or are we stuck with the ones we made in adolescence?—our physical bodies are constantly changing and maturing. Just look at a picture of yourself from two years ago, one you didn’t like then; weird fashion phases and haircuts aside, it probably looks a whole lot better to you now.

A less talked about but perhaps more important area of growth is what’s happening on the inside: our fluctuating emotional life.

In this video from School of Life, philosopher Alain de Botton explains how our emotional development influences our desires and our overall contentment.

The Two Types of Emotional Desires

Our emotional side is composed of two primary motivations, de Botton says. The first is to achieve connection, the second it to reach self-expression.

1) Connection: Connection can be understood as a desire to move away from loneliness, shame, and isolation, and toward opportunities for understanding, sincerity, and communion.

“We long to share with friends, lovers, and new acquaintances an authentic picture…