Wants or needs?

An interesting article I read yesterday discusses wants versus needs, and got me pondering the difference.

I think the article was trying to discuss more the idea of wanting physical goods to keep up with the Joneses, but it also spoke of the psychological want – like that of a relationship. It suggested a person might feel in need of being with someone, which when the person ends up not being in that relationship, changes to being considers either an altered need, or just determined to be not be a need at all.

However, I got to thinking that I seem to talk myself out of my needs all the time. I tell myself every thing I need is actually only a want. If I’m not going to die because of lack of it (whatever it is), then it’s a want and not a need. I take it to such an extreme that I consider a roof over my head as a want and not a need because some people survived without living in a home. Obviously life is an awful lot easier and safer if you have a home, but it is possible to survive without one; people do.

I consider wanting a car as a want and not a need, even though without one, when my legs are playing me up, I would not be able to get from A to B. This however, is not going to kill me. Therefore I consider it to be a want and not a need.

I want to be treated in a relationship with dignity and respect. I want to be loved for who I am and I want somebody to take an interest in me and to treasure what they see. I’m not going to die if I don’t have it (or else I would be dead by now) so this too, is deemed to be a want and not a need.

I don’t think my view is a balanced or correct one. It’s great that I am not a demanding character trying desperately to keep up with everyone else for show, I don’t want to change that, but I wonder if there is a way to know whether some of the things I have mentioned that other people would say are a need, I can stop seeing as merely a want.

Or is true that everything that will not cause personal injury or death, is simply a want? if this is not so, I really want to know how to tell the difference. Because unless it’s going to cause me serious harm (death-type harm) then I feel I owe it to the world to exist without it.

How do you tell the difference?

After I had left a comment on the blog, another reader replied to me, agreeing that it’s very subjective but suggested looking at the motives for the want. That’s an interesting idea, though does depend on self reflection and a big, healthy dose of honesty.

I find working out what’s reasonable quite hard though, as there are always so many ways to look at something and I often ‘hear’ the ‘devil’s advocate’ argument that goes against my own views.

I think I need to find a way to stop playing devil’s advocate against myself.

10 thoughts on “Wants or needs?

    1. I’ve just had a quick look and think I like Maslow. Quite a lot!
      I fall down on the lowest rung of the ladder with sleep and food though, both my own fault, and it’s nice to see listed various components from ‘love and belonging’ and ‘esteem’…
      Not only is it nice to see those words written down as needs, but somehow, getting the latest car or outfit just to keep up with the Joneses doesn’t seem to fit anywhere on Maslow’s list.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. That’s a hard one and I know I think similarly to you in a lot of ways, possibly in order to ensure that I am NOT going in the opposite direction where people could judge me as greedy or narcissistic etc.
    For other people though? I’m willing and able to tell them that their “needs” are much more acceptable than for myself lol.
    Definitely an interesting one to think about, I hope as you discuss it with Guy you can find a better balance for yourself that gives your own needs a higher boundary than “shelter, food, water, warmth”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks neuronerdal, nice to meet someone else in the same boat! I think there’s certainly an element of wanting to be so far away from greedy and narcissistic like you said, that I fall into the opposite ditch. And I’m EXACTLY the same as you, in having a much kinder rule for everyone else! Definitely will look forward to discussing this with Guy.

      Liked by 2 people

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