Wants Versus Needs
“Wants versus needs. There are actual needs, and there are arbitrary wants. The most basic needs you as a human require for survival are oxygen, water, food, clothing and shelter. Anything beyond those are “wants”.
Many things can satisfy your basic needs. A cave for shelter, a blanket for clothing, rainwater for water, but you must have them for basic survival. Wants have nothing to do with actual survival.
When you cannot distingush between wants versus needs, or if you can’t identify a want as a want, you set yourself up to live in a constant state of craving and disappointment.
If you don’t get an item or situation you have been hoping for, ask yourself if it was just an arbitrary want. Was it something you decided to want based on an advertisement or suggestion, or did it just pop into your head?
Don’t get me wrong–I want things I don’t need just as much as anyone. But when it looks like I may not get them, I ask myself what it is, and realize in almost every case, it was just an arbitrary want, brought on by a “that would be cool” whim that popped into my head out of no where.
When you recognize a want as just a want, you begin to realize the silliness of wanting things and situations based on nothing in particular, and the futility of being disappointed when they don’t materialize.
But isn’t it selfish to want money or a job or a relationship or cool stuff? It depends. If your desires are born of the ego, of a desire to avoid bad feelings or lack or loneliness, or to boost your identity, yes–that is selfish, and even if you get what you want, it will not help you to feel good. But if your goals are born of spirit–of a desire to share, to create beauty and good, to help others lose their ever-present fear that drives them to seek happiness in things that cannot give it to them, no, that is not selfish. That is spiritual. That is God-like. Yes, you can want and have abundance.”
I spent most of my life searching for something or someone to make me happy, or to change the way I felt. For some reason I believed that if I had the “right” body, the “right” husband, the “right” house, the “right” job, then I would be happy. I wasted a lot of years “wanting” something else besides what I had. By the grace of God and the twelve steps I learned to be content with what I have.
My grandfather used to say, “Always wanting what is not. When it is cold you want it hot. When it is hot you want it cold.” No matter what I had I always thought that I should have something else. By following the principles that I have learned in my program of recovery, I have learned “in whatsoever state I am in to be content.” God supplies all of our needs, and some of our wants. I had to learn to be happy with whatever God gave me, and stop being an ungrateful brat. Our minister put it in a sermon, “More, More, More….” .
For the first time in my life, I am happy with exactly what I have. I have a wonderful husband and family, a comfortable home and nice truck to drive. We have all of our needs met by God’s grace. I have few wants nowadays, so I am happy with little. I have had much and I have had little. Things cannot make you happy. I have had the “things”, that I thought would make me happy, but they did not.
God has to be number one, then me wanting to do God’s will for me will make me happy.
- Recovery #1 (sallytudor.wordpress.com)