Saturday, 17 September 2011

Need or Want

Need or Want

I hear people all the time talking about need. In our society everything becomes a need. My client's tell me all the time that 'they need' something. It could be a person, to be listened to, to do something, to have something. It doesn't matter because what matters is they feel powerless. I usually challenge the statement  because to me a need is a necessity and, therefore, means something we can't live without? So in fact if we are talking basic needs then we're talking survival and what we need for that is food, water, clothing, and shelter. What I'm getting at is a need is something you have to have and a want is something you'd like to have.

So what makes us use the word need instead of want bearing in mind that using the word need renders us powerless whilst the word want instills desire and motivation. In my opinion it's part of the western culture's pursuit of happiness and the idea that happiness is produced by consumerism or is somehow in the gift of other people. We believe we need a particular thing - it could be the latest gizmo or a new car, a new house, a relationship, a baby, a particular qualification or accolade - it doesn't matter - what matters is the belief that with the acquisition our cup will runneth over. I'm here to tell you it doesn't. My main client group are people who are successful, who have big houses, expensive cars, go on exotic holidays and often have relationships with  significant others who they like and or love and they are not happy? 


Now I don't have a problem with material success per se in fact I like things or gizmos myself but I do realise that I can be happy without them. I don't need things. I am aware I can live a happy life without them it's just at the moment I want to use my iPad or iPhone. If someone waved a magic wand and they disappeared I may miss them but I'd adjust. I have been in a committed relationship for 40 years and whilst I would be wretched should it end I would endure. Now I can hear you saying that I don't know and to be fair having not experienced it I don't. I do know though that I have been happy in the past without things. Ironically I sometimes think I was happier without things but that of course could just be that I was younger and the world seemed a hopeful place? As to being on my own I wouldn't want to be on my own but I do know I don't need my OH to make me feel good about me neither do I need him to make me feel complete. My relationship with him enriches my life and without him the world would seem a blacker place for a time but nothing can take away the love I've shared with him and for that I'm thankful. In other words I want him in my life I don't need him in my life and to think I do doesn't really help either of us.

So back to need and want. Ask yourself do I really need this or do I want it. If it is a want what am I going to do to achieve it? Things may help you to survive in comfort but of themselves don't make you happy and neither for that matter does being in a relationship. If it did more of us would have a smiling instead of whingeing and there would be less divorce or separation? You may find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with my point of view but what would be good is if you told me!

6 comments:

  1. I tend to agree with you - lot of sense in the old adage, you cant buy happiness.

    Me, I like the simple pleasures in life best.

    I seldom need anything, and occasionally I want more, but usually its wanting something of myself (very driven) rather than an acquisitions.

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  2. Exactly what I needed to hear after the end of my relationship 3 weeks ago. Thank you

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  3. thanks for commenting and I'm really pleased you felt the post helped :)

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  4. Hi Zoe thanks you for your input - we often to seem be on the same page. These days I find myself giving things away - which disturbs the kids they think I'm getting ready to pop off! :)

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  5. The need/want thing is really where all the misery is at.I can honestly say that all the material things i have had and i have had my fair share of houses , cars ,bikes ,clothes ,toys, etc have never brought any lasting happiness.Just a fleeting thrill followed by the anxiety of of one more thing to look after.
    The buddhists have got it right on the old attachment thing methinks.
    What is making me happy right now is a cup of Tea and what is making me sad is the thought of having to go to Sainsburys to buy all the things i need ... plus they reward me for my greed with Nectar points or they would do if I had a card.
    I am off to meditate on that one before I go to the shops !!

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  6. Hi Anonymous your post is the most sensible thing I've read today. I'm sure after your meditation session you'll deal with the Sainsburys' visit with ease. Thank you for commenting. I hope you will eventually stop posting as anonymous and introduce yourself :)

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