If I ask you the question “Is what you want really what you need?” you’ll probably reply “yes” without thinking, believing that what you want is going to make you happy. What you want and what you need are not the same. Most of us do not know the difference between our “wants” and “needs”. If whatever you want suddenly becomes unavailable, would you still yearn for it or accept the next best thing?
“You will not get what you want, you will get what you need” – Maxime Lagace
As a bargain hunter shopaholic, I have never been able to go into a shop and come out empty-handed. Normally my obsession is too strong. I am attracted to the “Reduced” and “Sale” stickers like a vampire to blood. Just picture the first day of sales: Black Friday, Panic Saturday, Harrods … now picture me, elbowing my way through the large crowd of frantic aggressive shoppers – not a pretty sight. Yet, I have spent the last five months without setting foot in a shop except for buying groceries and essential items. Five. Long. Months.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:12
Life does not happen the way we plan it. We do not always get what we want but we can learn to live with what we have. Covid-19 has taught me the difference between “Want” and “Need”. During lockdown, my mind was focused on health and safety for my family. I had to concentrate on buying essential items only. When procuring a pack of toilet rolls or a loaf of bread became near impossible, I forgot about my obsession.
“Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends” – Coco Chanel
Do I need a new pair of shoes when I have over thirty pairs, half of them unworn and still in their boxes? Do I need new clothes when there is a heatwave and I am wearing shorts? Do I need make-up or a new bag when I am loving my time cooking up a storm? The answer is NO. It is neither “Want” nor “Need”, it is “Greed”.
We can be trapped in a materialistic world and become obsessed with gaining more than we have, to the point of excess. There is nothing wrong about having a bulging bank account or being the CEO of our own company, but when that obsession turns to greed, then we lose our humanity. It might seem physically fulfilling but emotionally, we are dead. Our needs are not met when we focus on what we want. We need a balance in our lives to create harmony.
The Key to Happiness
Life is not perfect, and we will not always get what we want. The key to happiness is the fulfilment of simple “needs” not “wants”. We have a natural tendency to want more and more. Instead, we should concentrate on our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. We should stop chasing what our mind wants in order to get what our soul needs.
“Life does not always give you what you want, but if you look closely you will see that it gives what you need for growth” – Leon Brown
I stripped-down to the bare minimum and got rid of excess baggage. I followed Marie Kondo’s method on how to declutter (Konmari.com). I have now three big bags of clothes and shoes, ready to go to a good home. Sharing with others help my happiness to grow immensely. The feeling is more spiritual than physical. I can say that it is not true that the more you have the more you will be happy. For once you stop looking for what you want, you will find what you need. As the saying goes, “The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least”.
“One can find material things, but there is one thing that cannot be found when it is lost – life” – Steve Jobs
Now, please do not get me wrong. I am a total sucker for expensive perfume. There is nothing sexier than being surrounded by a mist of powerful alluring rose fragrance. Could that be compared to drugs, I wonder. The more intense, the better it is. That is the way I love it. Back in March, I placed an order for a bottle of my favourite perfume but due to lockdown, delivery has been delayed. I am afraid I cannot remember if I ordered a Bottega Veneta or Dolce & Gabbana. I believe I knew what I wanted then, but now I am not too sure. But then again, as I am running out of my current one, I guess I really, really want it. Aahhh, women are so complicated!