Emotions and needs are deeply connected. When our needs are recognised and met in one way or another, we often have uplifting feelings. When the need-meeting process falls apart, our emotional state can become much more distressing.
The importance of exploring and negotiating needs is central to the Gestalt Cycle of Experience and approaches like Non-Violent Communication and Human Givens. Unfortunately, when emotion-driven thinking is steering the ship, the brain often gets scrambled which makes calm reflection about needs one heck of a challenge.
'Let's not forget that the little emotions
are the great captains of our lives.
And we obey them without realising it.'
Vincent van Gogh
So be prepared to sink beneath the story you're sharing, vital though this is, and spend time connecting with and exploring the murkier levels of your bodily-felt emotions and their underlying needs. Needs also drive our judgements - see Being kind.
There are some great books that can help us learn to be empowered rather than undermined by our emotional life. Living Like You Mean It by Ronald Frederick has been positively received by many of my clients over the years. If you're on a mission to befriend your feelings, you may find it super helpful.
While I'm not trained in Emotion Focused Therapy, these strategies for working with emotions described by Les Greenberg sit well with me. I hope you find them helpful.