How often do we tell ourselves that we Need something?
- I need to get out of bed right now.
- I need to do the dishes.
- I need $500 to pay my bills.
- I need to call my mom.
- I need to finish this report on time.
- I need to meditate more.
I do this all the time. In fact, I probably said the word Need to myself at least five times before I even sat up in bed this morning. And I noticed it far more than normal, so I got up, sat on the bed instead, and meditated for a while.
“Why am I saying Need all the time?” I asked myself and Life the Universe and Everything (LTUAE). “I don’t really enjoy it. It creates pressure within me, a feeling of pass/fail, a grinding sensation of obligation instead of enjoyment.”
The answers flowed like water, visuals and phrases melded together in that wonderfully silky way only a meditative state can deliver.
What do you really need? I heard in my head. You need air, to breathe. Water, to drink. Food, to eat. Shelter, to stay warm. What beyond this do you need? What is necessary?
“Love,” I replied. “Money to pay the bills. In fact, a big chunk of money would be great, to pay off debt. I need to make my business successful. I need to support my family. I need to help my husband. I need —“
Do you Need those things? Are they necessary? Would your human life end without them?
“Well… no. It would feel like it was ending, if a chain reaction was set off and everything went wrong and we were broke and homeless and scared. But no, it wouldn’t be the end of life. Not right away.”
Then these are not Needs. These are Wants.
And just like that, my mind sort of exploded open. I’ve always defined Wants as things that would be nice to have - luxuries, things like Christmas presents and fun vacations. Wants are the icing on the cake. Needs make up the cake itself.
So I sat with it some more, and I recalled The Desire Map, which I completed last year. The core of Danielle’s philosophy is that when we approach the things we would like to have as Desires, we open the door to more flow, more ease and grace, more fun and sexy and adventure. Needs are important, of course - they allow us to live. But beyond survival, beyond the bare bones basics, in that grey area of all the things that make up our life but don’t actually determine our survival… those are the things we desire.
Turns out I was equipped to view my life through a lens of want and desire, instead of need. I decided to re-write the morning’s list of concerns, saying Want instead of Need:
- I want enough money to pay all our bills on time.
- I want enough money to pay off all our debt, either all in one go, or for consolidation purposes.
- I want Studio Kittie to flourish and thrive and help all the right people while supporting me and my family.
- I want to energetically support my husband in all his endeavors because I believe in him.
The change was dramatic, and delicious. Instead of hard nuggets of pressure, I felt like each item was an exciting event on my horizon. I could feel, in my heart, the pleasurable sensation of anticipation replace the gritty feeling of anxiety. And most astonishing, instead of a terse list of things I’d better do or else, suddenly I had a list of intentions I wanted to see manifest in my life.
Needs are tied to our biological survival mode, and for good reason. But too much survival mode and we burn out. Is it not better to observe the things we would like to see enter our lives through that rosy-golden lens of Desire? For when we Want something, our imagination can show us the way to achieve it.
I invite you to try the Need vs Want list making game for yourself. Write down five things you truly feel you Need in your life. (It doesn’t matter what they are, they are valid because you feel they are.) Pay attention to how you feel when you tell yourself you Need to figure these things out. Then, on another sheet of paper, or maybe right alongside the first list, re-write those Needs as Wants. Allow the language to change, allow your imagination to flow. Pay attention to how these things feel the second time around. Is there more lightness, more spaciousness, more ease and flow? Do you feel less pressured and more excited? How does your creative problem-solving self begin to approach them differently?
If you’re open, please share the results of your game with me. I’d love to compare notes. I think this might be a game changer.
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