Want Vs. Need

In our society we use these two terms interchangeably all the time.  The difference between a want and a need is important to recognize.

Want – may be described as to have a desire to possess or do something.

Need – when you require something because it is necessary rather than just a desire. 

This shows the difference between these two terms – when something is necessary or required it is a need, when it is just something we desire, it is a want.  

When we don’t ask for what we want and need, we discount ourselves.

Melody Beattie

The challenge in this area is because each of us have different wants and needs depending on where we are in our lives.  If we are to be in a relationship with someone else, we need to take this into consideration.  One person may consider something a “want” while the other person would say it is a “need.”

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For example, there could be a family of 5 who live in a one bedroom apartment.  Then there could be a different family of 5 who live in a 4-bedroom house. Each family has different ideas of what they consider “needs” based on their financial abilities. 

Take time to consider what you have in your life and what you would consider a want vs. need.  Take a look at your debt and decide if it is from wants or needs.  Look at the contents of your garage or closet and categorize those items in a similar fashion. Having the latest cell phone or a huge home is only good if you can afford it.  If you put yourself into unreasonable debt to own something, then it will most likely just cause more stress than enjoyment. 

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To quickly determine the difference between a want and need, think of a need being something required for your very survival. 

For example:

  • Water to drink
  • Food to eat
  • Clothing to stay warm
  • Shelter to live in

Conversely, a want is something that will make you happy, make your life more pleasant, and possibly easier.  These are necessary for us to live a fulfilling life also.  

Taking an inventory of your possessions will help you to gain an appreciation for everything you have and are able to do in your life.  It will help you to recognize the many things you own that are not “needs” but rather “wants.”  These should bring you joy and happiness in owning them, which is a good thing.  

It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need.

Amy Poehler

Especially in today’s climate in our country, we need to be enjoying ourselves and having positive experiences.  By focusing on the things we have in our lives that are not necessary for our very survival, we can gain appreciation for their presence in our lives and the positive feelings that come from owning them.  

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