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 distinguish 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 nowhere.
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, and then I would be happy.
Then in my addiction no matter what I had there was nothing that filled that empty hole in my soul. I was never happy or serene. I did not even know what that was. I lived in Chaos and from “crisis to crisis”.
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, and to “live life on life’s terms”.
My grandfather used to say, “Always wanting what is not. When it’s 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 a paid off 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. And…really it is all just “stuff”…and can be taken away at anytime.
God has to be number one then me choosing to do God’s will for me has given me peace and serenity.
12 Step work takes me out of me (It is the 12th. Step in action) it remind us to be grateful, and that But for the grace of God; I could be in jail or dead. No, life is not perfect, but I love being free and saying, doing, and feeling whatever I want to. I just have to be willing to reap my Consequences. I got “sick and tired” of being “sick and tired”.
I found my “higher power” in AA. At three years, I went back to church and studied the Bible, but my recovery came from the twelve steps. I was a very unhappy and depressed child. I lived in my own “fantasy” world. I hated “reality”.
My “higher power” at first was my group and my sponsor, because I hated God so much and I felt he never answered my prayers when I had prayed for protection from my abusers. You probably have already heard it before but just in case you haven’t: God never gave up on us, we gave up on Him.