Need vs. Want
This week, we’re exploring the fundamental difference between NEED and WANT. As a mother, I find this often comes up in my family. “I NEEEEEEED that bag of chips! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED that video game chair!! Why can’t I have it?!?”
But why did my son feel this “need” so deeply? Was the desire to emulate his YouTube idol so overwhelming to his sweet, angsty, pre-teen psyche that it felt like a profound need? What is driving him? What lives at the heart of his huge need for that video game chair?!
Generally, we understand the distinction between what we need – food, water, shelter, love, touch, safety – and what we want, which is pretty much everything else, but there is another need too. We need to connect with a calling or purpose. We need to be of service, to make a difference, to utilize our gifts, express our passions, and create. This need is essential to our human experience. We need to be fully human.
Often, we’re separated from this need by the priorities and values of others, and that can be deeply damaging. I grew up with a friend who had a tremendous gift for dance. She fell in love with performing and wanted to do an elite training program rather than a traditional college. Although she was accepted into the program, her mother, likely concerned for her daughter’s security, would not let her pursue her dream of dance. My friend was never the same after that. She struggled to stay focused on her studies and eventually dropped out. Only years later did she complete her degree and get herself on track.
My friend’s story isn’t an epic tragedy. She has everything she needs, including a family that loves her and wants what they think is best for her. Some might argue that her family did right by her, making sure she didn’t “waste her time” following her fancy into an unstable career, but those people never saw the light in her eyes when she performed. It was her calling. She needed it. She still does. What could have been had she been supported in that program? What would her life look like today?
We make all kinds of decisions for all kinds of reasons, and the opportunity to find a purpose exists in every situation. Purpose comes in many shapes and sizes, and if we miss it once, we can certainly find it again. Whether you know your passion or not, I am here to help you find out and fulfill on what you need to be fully human.
*p.s. We ended up caving and getting him that video game chair for Christmas. When he saw it under the tree, he met us the most sincere, sweetest tears of joy. Sometimes we give in to wants too, and in that case worth it ;).