Saturday, December 24, 2011

Need vs. Want

I recently read an interesting post on the Deliberate Receiving Blog.  This is a great blog to gain perspective on your life, obviously something I’m looking for.  She basically says don’t need your wants, and then they will come to you.  I’m not sure I agree with this, but it’s an interesting thought.

It really made me think about Need Vs. Want.  A lot of us have the tendency of saying we need something, when we really just want something, and I thought this might be a good topic to discuss right around Christmas time, when our wants tend to outweigh our needs.

Basic Needs include the following:
1.       Water
2.       Food
3.       Shelter
4.       Clothing

These are some Wants:
1.       Love
2.       iPhone 4GS
3.       Lots of Money
4.       Big House

Ok, so Love really can go on both lists.  I mean, newborns need to be loved.  They need to be cared for and that requires some amount of unconditional love.  As you get older, I think Love becomes a Want.  You Want to feel like someone loves you and that you love them back.  It definitely changes.  You’re always looking for that unconditional “mother” love that you felt as a child.

I found myself recently thinking, “I really NEED a new computer or I really NEED the new iPhone 4GS.”  This statement is erroneous.  I WANT a new computer.  I WANT something that will not shut down on me every 5 minutes, and I WANT an awesome new phone! 

When I think this way, I like to correct myself by thinking of people who live in developing countries and don’t even have their basic NEEDS met.  Their NEEDS and WANTS are intertwined.  They NEED and WANT food and shelter.  They WANT and NEED clean water and clothing.  When I think about my WANTS, and I feel like I don’t have ENOUGH, then I just like to jolt myself back into reality and realize that I don’t NEED for anything, I just WANT a lot.

Post Script:
After I wrote this post (a few days ago), my family sat down to watch "A Christmas Carol."  (By the way, if you have small children you may want to screen the Jim Carrey version before letting your kiddos watch it--it is quite scary!).  Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol back in 1843, but many of the themes from this book hold true today.  I didn't remember when the Ghost of Christmas Present is leaving Scrooge to make way for the Ghost of Things to Come, he shows Scrooge the children of man: Ignorance and WANT.  WANT has destroyed Scrooge's life.  Sure, he has plenty of money, but he has no one to share it with, and he is ignorant to other people's NEEDS.  He has pushed everyone in his life away from him to get what he WANTS.  In the end, he learns that he NEEDS to be more charitable, in order to help someone he cares about deep down,Bob Cratchit, provide the basic NEEDS for his family.  He realizes in the end that not giving into WANT will lead him to have a more meaningful life (and of course escape an afterlife in chains!). 

This provided a classic example of how being aware of our NEEDS and other peoples' NEEDS can help us lead better lives. 

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