Understanding: Wants vs. Needs
A version of this post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.
How often do we create mountains out of molehills? We should start by defining our needs and our wants. What qualifies as a need? What is a want?
A need is something you have to do. A want is something you would like to do. I often confuse them. There are days when I take my needs for granted and sacrifice them at the expense of my wants.
Let me start with some examples:
Parenting time with my kids
Paying my bills
Weeding my property
Following my food plan
… The list goes on.
I used to think all of these were needs. And as you can see by the list, they don’t all seem reasonable to complete in a day. As a result, I would improperly prioritize those items I felt would yield the largest gain or results. I focused on growing my business, because if my business was successful, everything else would fall into order behind it (or so I thought). But I didn’t realize that neglecting myself and my actual needs was a serious issue. I believed I was too busy to get the rest of the list done.
Since embracing mindful thinking, I have been able to accomplish everything on the list daily, and more. I realized that the more I prioritized myself, the more time I had for everyone else.
Waking up this morning, I immediately centered myself with gratitude, spirituality and mindfulness. This week, I took my medications daily and made sure that my bedtime was consistent. Everything else is a by-product of those good behaviors and habits. I naturally had time and energy this week to follow my food plan. (I even found time to walk a few miles while working and ride my exercise bike today.) I was able to spend time with my kids: watching their shows before and after dinner, reading to them before they went to sleep, and hearing something good from each of them regarding their days.
The one thing I didn’t have time for today was beating myself up or playing the victim. Was I perfect in my quest today? No. My inboxes aren’t empty. Yet. They are smaller than they were yesterday and I found acceptance about not requiring them to be empty each and every day.
The reality is that an empty inbox is a want – not a need. Realizing this allowed me to focus more of my time on my needs and less on my wants. An amazing thing happened…I found the time I needed for my wants because my needs were being taken care of at the exact same time.
Don’t let perfect ruin good! And don’t let good ruin doing something!
I used to let the desire for perfection paralyze me and prevent me from moving forward. The perception that I could not work on my wants until all my needs were perfectly satisfied was crippling; the only thing I ever did perfectly was nothing.
Since then, I have learned that the only ‘right’ way to do something is to get moving. In meditation, gratitude, and spiritual practice something is always better than nothing!