Do you wonder what’s the difference between needs and wants? You have an idea and you’ve heard many times that knowing that difference makes all the difference! Well, you’ve got that right, because understanding this can actually change your life completely.
Difference Between Needs and Wants Through Examples
You might think that’s an overstatement, but no. I’m not exaggerating.
The reason for this is the simple fact that you most definitely can have an amazing life without having to fulfill certain wants. While without satisfying certain needs you’ll prone to experience different issues.
This post will tell you the true difference between needs and wants. And motivate you to never give up on your needs while supporting you to give yourself permission to ditch some wants that you’d be better off.
And to make it easier for you, this topic is explored through examples.
In this post I’ll also share a program that can help you with uncovering your true needs and desires, so keep an eye on the recommendations.
If you’re on board, then let’s start focusing on our hot topic.
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WHY UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEEDS AND WANTS IS IMPORTANT
I know you’ve heard about the importance of satisfying your needs so many times that it might even lose its charm on you. But it’s so true, and quite frankly, it’s amazing that nowadays we’re welcome to explore our needs and our deepest wants.
It’s because we now know that it leads to a better, more fulfilling, and successful life.
The most interesting thing here is that when we rely on self-reflection and self-awareness and practice it well, we learn to differ our wants from our needs. Which is crucial for us to be able to fulfill our authentic needs.
Because we can replace our wants and wishes with other wants and wishes, but our needs can’t disappear. We can ignore them, but we really shouldn’t.
Of course, here I’m not saying in any way that we need to satisfy every single need at all times. Or that we have the right to exploit other people for it.
I’m saying we shouldn’t try to suffocate our needs if things didn’t work out as planned or ideally. But what we should change is the way we’ll meet these specific needs.
So, this means you can replace one of our wants with another one and still be able to satisfy the need you’re going after.
Or even better, we’ll easily (or easier) replace it with a better one, because now we understand what is it that we need.
WHAT ARE NEEDS AND HOW THEY ARE RELATED TO WANTS
In the shortest and the simplest, needs are essential for our life, while wants are replaceable.
And there are needs that we can’t live without, and others we can live without, but if we want to have a quality life we really shouldn’t.
But what we’re free to do is to satisfy our needs in different ways. And that’s where the wants come in – our wants are motivated by our needs, meaning they move them. In other words, needs stand behind our wants.
And when we fail to realize this (which we all do often), then we might believe our needs won’t be met if we didn’t get what we want.
Also, if we were more aware of this, we could avoid many internal (us) as well as external conflicts (others).
Because then we would know that there’s still a way to satisfy our needs.
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LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE WELL-KNOWN MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
You’ve probably heard of the famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but if you haven’t take a look. Or simply remind yourself of it quickly.
So they are:
- Basic, physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love, acceptance and belonging needs
- Respect, validation and appreciation needs
- Self-actualization (self-realizations) needs
As you can see in the photo, they can be presented as a pyramid, which means the pyramid can’t get to the top without the basis, so the lower need is a prerequisite for the higher one.
What’s important to say is that these needs are universal, which means we ALL have them. What can be different is the way we satisfy or chose to satisfy them.
So it’s clear that those prejudices and misconceptions of having different needs if you’re a woman or a man simply aren’t true.
So next time someone tries to sell you a story where they couldn’t be fair to you because they have certain needs you don’t, you show them this universal needs list.
Joke on the side now and let’s say you have a need to be loved by an intimate partner. And when you fall in love with a certain person, you want that person to be your intimate partner, so you can meet your need to be loved.
So this particular intimate partnership is the object of your want or desire, and the need to be loved is your true need.
So what happens if unfortunately, the intimate partnership breaks? And you feel like you’ve failed or that it’s never gonna happen for you? And for example, this repeats more than once?
Do you think you should give up on your need to be loved? Or that you’ll be satisfied if you just ignore this need for the rest of your life?
And you really shouldn’t, because there’s still a way to satisfy your need.
And self-reflection and self-awareness can help here. But how?
Just a quick digression here – to learn more about self-awareness I recommend reading these 2 very helpful articles on this topic:
- What Is Self-Awareness and Why Is It Important? [+5 Ways to Increase It]
- Here Are The 4 Simple Introspection Steps That Will Boost Self Awareness
Firstly, it helps with an understanding you shouldn’t try to shut down your need because this won’t actually work.
And with more self-awareness, you won’t find this out the hard way after you’ve failed to do this. You will understand it sooner or you already understand.
Secondly, practicing self-awareness and self-reflecting will help you satisfy this need easier and faster!
HOW THIS WORKS
Let’s stay within the intimate partnerships as examples.
Well, when you have an intimate partner we just talked about, you have the thoughts you have and you feel different emotions that are also there.
Also, you have reactions followed by certain actions in relation to them. And you maybe don’t think about them too much.
But what truly helps satisfy your need to be loved by an intimate partner, the way you need it, is being attentive to those thoughts and emotions so you get to understand them better.
So for example you feel angry and hurt because of your partner’s action and you follow the urge to yell at your partner because the emotions of anger and hurt are there.
But what you can do instead is try to understand where these emotions and thoughts are coming from. What do they mean for you?
And at the same time, you can control yourself instead of lashing out. Because well, you cherish your partner and care enough to show it to them that you respect them.
So then you choose the most appropriate way to deal with what happened instead of just chasing the urge, which won’t benefit you too much or at all.
When you choose a constructive way to deal with the situation you both get to practice self-control as well as self-reflection more, and preserve and improve your relationship, too. Which then keeps satisfying your need to be loved.
I´ll say it’s a win-win!
So what self-reflecting will help with is:
- understanding what´s happening to you better
- finding the best solution to address the problem.
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Let’s get back to our first example now.
HOW DO YOU REPLACE WANTS THE BEST WAY?
So we said your partnership broke off (hypothetically). Or it could be something else that didn’t work out in another area of life. Think about your situation and put it in the same perspective.
What do you do if your needs weren’t met, or can’t be met in a way you intended? How do you replace your want with the other one? Do you just get a new partner and get it done?
You can if you’ve learned more about what you really need and it happened that you’ve found that desirable partner for yourself.
But if that’s not the case, you will probably get yourself in the same situation you were in before that because you’re focusing on the want instead of understanding what you need.
And that’s the same for every area of life. Because simply getting out of some situation doesn’t fix your problems. It only gives you a moment of relaxation, a short period of time where you’ve released yourself from the inconvenience.
Unless you’ve harvested your lessons, so as a result you now know more about what is it that you truly need. As well as what will satisfy your need or needs.
The reason for this is we often (unintentionally) choose to sacrifice the need to get what we want, to fulfill the temporary desire that is or isn’t directly related to that specific need. And what we should sacrifice are some of our wants, so we’re able to meet the need.
What I’m saying here is that we don’t have to pursue everything that we desire. This may sound counterintuitive to you so you may say:
”But wait, everyone is telling me that I can have everything I want in life. Are they wrong?”
No, they’re not.
You can have everything you want, but not unless you know what you need. If the thighs you’ve got don’t satisfy your needs, then they’re useless, right?
Does this sound logical now?
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That was a small digression to support your efforts to reflect on your needs and meet them in the best possible way.
Now we can move on where we left off.
BUT HOLD ON, HOW CAN YOU KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT?
In the beginning, we said you hypothetically see a particular partner as the one for you, and this relationship gives you the feeling that your need to be loved is satisfied.
And what if you want a particular person (partner) and you hold on to him/her because you think this will satisfy your needs, but this turns out not to be the case? So you sense it, but you ignore it because this is too much work for you now.
Or instead, you self-reflect. And then you don´t ignore the signals and get to the bottom of it all.
So then you understand where the true issue lies.
Question your situation:
- Is the partner enough for you at all?
- What do you really need from your ideal partner? Do you have unrealistic expectations (for example you expect that your partner fulfills every single of your desires and needs and take over all the responsibility from you)?
- Are your standards and demands too high, so nobody (not only your partner) can really live up to them but you keep blaming the partners?
- Or on the other hand, you´re struggling with your too-low standards so you take what you can get?
- What truly connects the two of you or keeps you together in the first place?
And so on, and so on.
And the need to be loved by an intimate partnership was just one example. This is applicable to any need and want. So go ahead and try it out yourself!
Try to write or sketch, whatever works for you best! Use the photo of the hierarchy of needs to define what is a need, and what is a want (or a desire, wish), related to that need.
Also, think about priorities – what need is more important at this moment?
And then think about how the wants or wishes can be replaced with other ones, while your needs still get to be met. This will affect your way of thinking in situations you need to consider changing your wishes. And positively affect your relationships with people, friends, intimate partners, and family.
Feel free to comment to tell me how it went! I´d really like to know!
So I hope you now understand better why and how the wants and wishes can be replaced to assure you meet your needs.
WHY YOU SHOULD THINK DEEPLY ABOUT YOUR NEEDS
There are many reasons for this, but I’ll point out only the most important one. It’s to avoid exhaustion that leads to quitting on your needs and then on yourself.
So how does this happen? Let’s stay with the intimate partnership exemplary.
So you have a bad experience once, so you say ”O.k. I’ll try again” and you don’t think deeply about your needs and what you’ve learned about yourself through that relationship.
As usual and as well as many people do, you’re focusing on your ex’s bad actions, how they weren’t fair, or good enough to you, etc.
It’s fine to acknowledge these things as well as deal with them. But what I’m saying is you need to think about whether that partner is what you need at all. Meaning if there’s potential there to satisfy your needs. And what you think it’s better or best for you.
If you don’t do this, very often, the next step is choosing a similar partner, and then again you end up in a similar situation as you were with the previous one.
Again you leave the partner, choose another one, and what do you think happens?
Now you feel scared, irritated, exhausted, confused, unhappy, guilty, question your worth, question if you deserve a good partner after such bad things you’ve encountered and ”mistakes you’ve made” and end up quitting investing yourself in this.
And if you have kids with this partner, things are getting more and more complex for you.
And sometimes you’ll be left out without enough strength to move on after all that. So you can end up stuck in that position for who knows how long.
CHOOSE WHAT’S BETTER FOR YOU
Do you now see why it’s important to think about your needs? And also, I’d like for you to understand that it’s never too late to think about your needs. Because this is your way out of any unfit situation.
Then you don’t have to stop investing yourself.
So don’t give up on yourself. Instead, choose to self-reflect and find your way and yourself again. Choose self-love.
You don’t need to give up on your needs. Instead, give up on the things that don’t do you good, after you’ve learned why they’re not doing you good.
Even if it can feel counterintuitive at the time, you don’t have to follow every desire, every emotion, and sensation.
A simple example of this is the fact that you may have feelings for and desire someone who’s abusing you.
Do you think this is what you really need? Or that this is good for you? But still, you can have feelings for a partner who’s abusing you.
Does anyone really need this? Ever?
If you seek more motivation, consider reading my post 101 Strength and Motivational Quotes, and What self-love Rally Means: Misconceptions Shattered, they might be right for you.
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- liberation from fabricated societal expectation and norms that not only don’t serve you, but are in fact representing oppression which is suffocating your soul that only wants you to live in alignment with whom you truly are and not what society expects you to be
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- finally become comfortable in your own skin, doing your own thing, and going where you truly want to go in life
- build the life you are proud to call your own and experience lasting fulfilment because your consciousness is so expanded that you don’t need to worry about whether things will work out for you ever again, as now you have skills and support to make them work.
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FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEEDS AND WANTS
I’m so glad you’ve stayed until the very end because this is a commitment to yourself. And that’s the most important commitment for anyone.
We talked about the core differences between needs and wants and why it’s beneficial for you to know this and use it in your best interest.
Whatever area of life you’re struggling with, you can use this way of thinking and this approach. You can progress most certainly.
What do you think about all of this? Let me how you feel about it in the comments. And don’t forget to take advantage of the program I mentioned, considering you can only win.
And before you go, consider sharing it so it gets in front of more people who can benefit from it.
See you in my next post! Here is one: