Personal Spiritual Transformation and Development
St Stephens Practice, 21a St Stephens Road
Norwich Norfolk NR1 3SP
+44 (0) 7901 655655

Listener: How do we distinguish between what we need and what we want?

Loving this question. How do we know what is important or just something to attain?

A need prompts the path forward. While a want is a short lived satisfaction. For example if after looking high and low for those perfect red shoes myself  I ask myself “Hmm.. Do I really need these?” The answer maybe “Yes!! They’ll be perfect for the upcoming wedding!” This answer is short lived – shoes for the wedding than thrown to the back of the closet, no longer important. This makes them a want. I want shoes to match my dress.

However if I have an issue with my feet and buy shoes which really fit properly then it’s more of a need, as to have comfortable shoes helps you to go forward (both literally and figuratively). And red? Well, that works either way.

A want often is something which when we get it we feel good for the moment but then soon forgotten as another want comes along. There is nothing wrong with wanting but when you have limited funds it is often good to think – what will this do for me in the long run?

You may want a really good piano so much you can’t rest until you find it. When you do was it because it enhances your piano playing? Or just looks nice in situ?

A need will push you forward and a want will pepper your path. No doubt adding to it but usually, as said before, once that want is satisfied another want moves into the want position.

Good exercise right now –

1.Make two columns – one titled want and the other need.

2. Write down anything in your zone of awareness at the moment that you have been thinking about. With a little thought you will clearly see that your need are there for the long term while the wants a drop in the ocean.

Also check out the motivational energy behind each of those – I may want to write a book (many of us do) but when I need to write that book the surge of energy coming up behind that desire pushes me to do it. If I don’t, my energy feels frustrated. If on the other hand writing a book is just an idea, a thought and there is no real drive or motivation to commit to it -it’s a want. Wants tend to burn out easier than needs. Remember with a need there is energy driving it forward. While a want not attained retires as something new takes a fancy, slipping into wanting consciousness.

Thinking of buying something but not sure if it is a want or a need? Do nothing. Just wait. If after a few weeks you can’t get the item out of your head then it is a need. Your energy is holding that object in the forefront of your consciousness informing you – you need this. In the grand scheme of things this will enhance you in your life – move you forward. Not just in the material sense but one which supports your wellbeing.

Therefor need is answering a prompt on a deeper level. You may want to have pizza for supper or you may need to have supper.