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Wanting Vs. Needing

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between wanting and needing?

You might be thinking I’m talking about semantics, but there’s more to it. Not knowing the difference between wanting and needing might be hurting you. Here’s why. We often use and think about wanting and needing synonymously; but, their meanings differ and impact you for good or bad - more than you might think. Both are verbs that indicate a desire. We do both because of how we believe they will make us feel. We want something because we believe it will make us feel good. We need something because we believe it will allow us to escape feeling bad. For example: I want a new car, because I think it would be fun to drive something new. I need a new car, because I think it will save me from the annoyance of driving my old car. Do you see the difference in the pressure that surrounds want and need? Want is hopeful. Need is fear based. Need puts the ability to feel good on things outside ourselves and makes us powerless. Pay attention to the words you use. How often have you opened the fridge, while deciding what to cook for dinner and said, “I need to go shopping”? In most cases it is not necessary to go shopping in order to make dinner. What you really mean is that you think it will be easier to buy food to make dinner with than it would be to find a solution with what you already have. Or, maybe you think you’ll enjoy your meal more if you shop for new ingredients, rather than eat what you have. You don’t need to go shopping, you want to go shopping. It’s important not to use want and need interchangeably. When you don’t distinguish between the two, you are disempowering yourself. Letting go of need places the responsibility of your wellbeing back on yourself. Yes, that means that you have to use your own creativity and ingenuity to solve your problems; but that’s good news! You have control over that. Now you know the difference between wanting and needing. Keep tabs on how much need you have created in your life. Stop giving your power away to things you can’t control.

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