I have been thinking a bit about wants and needs. We often want something…something that seems indefinable, amorphous, something that feels out of reach. Trying to nail down that wanting feeling can be hard.
However, some people have their wants clearly identified. If only, they think, if only I had a new car, then I’d feel really good. Or…if only, if only I could go on vacation and just take some time off, THEN I would feel really good. Or maybe, if only, if only my husband/wife/mother/father/teacher/boss would just change their behaviour, then I would feel okay. Or maybe, if only I had someone to love me in my life, if I only had a partner who really, REALLY loved me, then I would feel okay.
So sometimes we want concrete objects: the new car, the big flatscreen tv, the smartest phone. Sometimes we want time and luxury: vacation, travel, food or entertainment. Sometimes what we want is something from another person: their attention, affection, or some kind of treatment that we experience as positive.
But do you hear the commonality that underlies all of these wants? Do you hear what we expect each of those things, experiences, or behaviour of a person? We expect that WE will feel a particular way, a particularly GOOD way, if we could have the wanted item or experience.
What we really want isn’t a car or a tv. It really isn’t a vacation or someone to love us. What we really, REALLY want, is the feeling that we think we’d have under that desired circumstance.
So no, honestly, I don’t want my boss to stop bugging me. I want to FEEL the way I think I’d feel without that behaviour. I want to FEEL unbugged.
So all I really need to do is change how I feel; take charge of my own feelings, stop giving my power to feel to other people or to my negative thoughts, and just FEEL unbugged.
Sounds easy….and it can be. If we can accept that we construct our feeling of want by our thoughts, fantasies, and wishes, then perhaps we can construct a feeling of having enough in that same way. Or try this: notice when you DO feel “enough…” What is it like in your body and mind when you feel “enough?” When have you had “enough” to eat? “Enough” work for the day? “Enough conversation,” “enough sleep,” “enough music?” How do you experience enough? Then allow that feeling to spread throughout your life…so that what you are right now, what you have right now, what you experience in THIS moment….THIS is enough. Enough for now.
When the craving or wanting or desiring or attachment to objects arises, see if you can locate a sense of “enough” in your body and rest in that.
Needs? Well, that can be a topic for another day!
3 thoughts on “What do you REALLY want?”
So if I understand well, what is underneath our state of wanting is the way we would like to feel? Before I feel i have enough, there is a kind of process going on in my mind. Best exemple i could give you is this one : I’m at the store and i see a new CD from my favourite artist. There is a bunch of questions going on my mind weather if i can afford it, if it would be useful, if I absolutely need it, I would look at the label to see if I like the songs, I would think about the number of cds I have home, etc. I would not just buy that cd because it’s my favourite artist. If i have, lets say, already 10 cds of that artist, I would put it back because I have enough cds. In other words, I think about what i already have before deciding if I have enough or not. Does that make sense??
You are describing the process from a thinking point of view, and I am describing it from a feeling point of view…I think! But the process is often the same. You might decide (thinking) that you have enough CDs but you might still feel a WANT, or a desire to have this particular CD. In that case, you might find a conflict between your thinking and your feeling. According to Damasio, we make decisions based on the feeling we have. And of course our feeling about something is influenced by how we think.
Try the exercise with something you are doing rather than an object, and see how that works for you. Sometimes it is easier to identify the feeling in the body if it is about, say, stopping running (“I’ve done this ENOUGH!!”)
Thank you for the thoughtful comment!!
I’m definitely a thinker ha ha! I’m thinking when I went for a walk not such a long time ago, i felt i had to stop going up a certain street because my calves were burning and i was sort of penting more than usual. It was more exercices than my body could handle. And who is Damasio???