Do I need it or want it?

25 Aug 2022
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When I was a child, my parents often tried to teach me the difference between needing and wanting something.

I was told while I may want that toy, I did not need it and while I may not want to do the washing up, I needed to do it.

This would happen frequently, and I stopped listening when they repeated these words.

As an adult we soon learn we cannot have everything we want or even need at times.

For anyone caring for children, or older people, or someone with special needs, you soon realise that your own needs become second to the human you are looking after. Also, when caring for pets, you may need to put their needs ahead of yours, like taking a dog for a work even though you need to rest.

 

If we feel we need or want abstract things like love, appreciation, loyalty, praise, or many other qualities, it may be hard to distinguish between needing or wanting.

 

That’s just a few ideas, I am interested whether you see the difference between needing and wanting? If so, how does it affect how you respond to needing or wanting in yourself and others?

 

Any comments on the topic would be appreciated, you don’t need to answer the question but only if you want to!!

Leah

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Janet

Aug. 26, 2022, 5:18 a.m.

This is astonishing Leah - you have no idea how incredibly timely this is. I have just spent 3 days with my sister’s grandchildren and seen in full technicolour exactly what you talk about in your post!! As I am childless, I don’t often get to see these things so vividly! It also throws into much needed relief my own “wanting” and “needing”. Thank you!

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The Gardener

Aug. 26, 2022, 7:56 a.m.

Janet, you take me back to my childhood, and my father's favourite. i would say 'Can i have/do/ go/whatever'. His maddening but correct answer, 'You CAN, because it is possible, but you MAY not because of x,y,and z, and I say NO'.

Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:15 a.m.

Janet It is amazing how you read something that is relevant to your life. When you observe things happening in gives you a chance to reflect. Thanks for your comment.

Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:16 a.m.

TG My parents had the abbreviated version You can but you may not.

Isabella

Aug. 26, 2022, 5:35 a.m.

Morning Leah, I’m still trying to sort years of possessions after my husband, mum and father-in-law’s deaths + my own stuff and my son’s growing up stuff… I’m telling myself I do not need anything else - what I have is enough - I can only spend to replace like for like if I need it!! I think it’s more important to need friends and experiences and not want material things. I have to break years of habit though - I’m trying… Your blog has reminded me that I must remind my son too. Thank you. X

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:21 a.m.

Isabella What a hard task you have. Sometimes it is easier with material things to decide what we don’t need but with abstract feelings it is very difficult. Do I need for everyone to like me..?

Teg

Aug. 26, 2022, 5:42 p.m.

Hi Leah Your final question is interesting. When I was younger I hoped everyone I knew liked me. During my working career I began to realise that it was unrealistic to expect everybody to like me. In a management role the best I could hope for was that everybody respected me. Nowadays I realise it doesn't matter if some people do not like me. As long as they treat me with respect that is all I need. I am sure there are some people in your life that you don't particularly like. Try to make more connections with those you like and who seem to appreciate you. Txx

Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:52 a.m.

Teg I am a people pleaser so I won’t all to like me.

Sally

Aug. 26, 2022, 6:22 a.m.

Like Janet,for me it’s timely! I’m having a conversation with myself which goes “ Stop being impulsive ! Do you want it or NEED it? And this taps into today’s world topic of thinking of the disadvantaged and needy, or even those really struggling to make ends meet. Whilst you can’t help everyone , you can help some. This year, as we go into a new academic year, I’m determined to 1) underplay Christmas, reducing unnecessary gifts,2) reduce what we have and take to charity shops or give away, 3) help alleviate poverty by regular gifts . This is going to need a huge effort of self-discipline on my part. And a proper written down budget. That’s the one huge challenge for someone very impulsive. Thank you for this great blog, I will try my very best to heed your words! Go well, Leah, and everyone else out there in the Moodscope community today.

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The Gardener

Aug. 26, 2022, 7:59 a.m.

Good to follow, Sally. I am finishing sponsorship of my third Indian girl - now must see if the money would still be useful for a fourth, or whether there is somewhere it could be put to more use. I know the world is clamouring for help, often under our very noses, so investigation coming up.

Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:27 a.m.

Sally I admire your organisation and plan ahead,.i am impulsive with shopping so I make myself wait a few days d then reflect if I need it. Thanks for sharing.

Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:28 a.m.

TG There are so many worthy causes it is hard to work out the ones who need most help.

Sally

Aug. 26, 2022, 10:15 a.m.

That’s a really good idea/ piece of advice. Leah, waiting a few days.

Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:53 a.m.

Sally that’s the plan but sometimes it does not work.

Mortimer

Aug. 26, 2022, 6:47 a.m.

Great blog Leah. For more years than I care to remember my partner and I have played the “need” game when one states the overwhelming need for something clearly desired rather than actually needed - usually something very shiny, expensive and possibly even impractical.

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

Mortimer Sometimes we may think we need but others want. Are there any winners or losers in the need game.

Teg

Aug. 26, 2022, 6:58 a.m.

Hi Leah I want and need to belong to this Moodscope family. But like you and your parents I can tell the difference. If I need something it must have a purpose/function. For example, improve my health. If I simply want something it seems more extravagant. I might like to have it but is it really helping me? Needs and wants can become blurred and sometimes we should take a step back and give them a little more thought. Txx

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:33 a.m.

Teg, I think advertising really encourages we need things and if we do not buy them we will miss out.

Teg

Aug. 26, 2022, 5:45 p.m.

Hi Leah I try to ignore most adverts. When they appear on TV I press the mute button. Txx

Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:55 a.m.

Teg so do I but is everywhere you tube and train stations etc.

Orangeblossom

Aug. 26, 2022, 7:37 a.m.

Thanks for the blog Leah. I do sometimes find it difficult to differentiate between wanting & needing things. Maybe even get them mixed up.I may compulsively want to buy yet another book but I definitely need to take a afternoon rest at this time & to stop pushing myself. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:36 a.m.

OB When it comes to books I feel I need them as so many were destroyed but it will it make me happier maybe, I feel books are my therapy, I like that you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone . I keep trying get others approval and I don’t need to,

The Gardener

Aug. 26, 2022, 8:07 a.m.

Leah, your blog has brought out one of my worst faults, pedantry. I never use the word 'want' too peremptory - also literary 'for want of a nail' etc. I say 'I would like to do, buy but do not need to'. Conversely I 'need' to go shopping or starve, but I do not 'want' to as I hate it. But people for supper before a concert tomorrow, so more interesting than just keeping me alive. I know many people whose great desire is to spend the week-end 'shopping', mooching round horrible 'malls' drinking horrible coffee, buying what you don't need. But whisk me to Commercial Road in Bangalore, India, where I want, more, driven, to buy presents for people. Leah, your blogs always thought provoking, but drive me to flights of fancy! xx

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:39 a.m.

TG I think we all have different needs and things we like doing. Your comments are always interesting.

Oli

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:32 a.m.

The feeling of need is a mental pressure. It’s a demand, a craving, a nagging. We create stories to convince ourselves. Someone was telling that she had just been bidding on eight pairs of shoes on ebay before she realised that what she was doing was bananas. Her story was that she was starting a new job, she’d need new clothes, the new clothes were such-and-such, and the job was in London, and therefore the shoes were needed. “How many pairs of shoes do you already own?” “You don’t want to know.” What’s going on with the feeling of needing? I wish I knew! I don’t reckon it’s anything to do with the items. It’s not about the shoes. I wonder if it’s something to do with the feeling of what life will be like with that extra something? What kind of a need is that? And how does it end up on shoes? (Or books?, *cough*) Thank you Leah. I enjoyed your blog.

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 9:44 a.m.

Oli, I do my shopping at charity shops so I justify my purchases and that helps me. I like the delight of the discovery. I know I compensate for things that were destroyed and cluttering up my place won’t help. As usual Oli I will thank about your answer for a while .

Sue

Aug. 26, 2022, 10:30 a.m.

Great blog again Leah. Since I retired I have found I need a lot less, but sometimes it doesn't stop me wanting. I used to enjoy pottering round the shops on holiday but now if I do, I keep telling myself I don't need this or that and go home empty handed. I volunteer in a charity shop though, and find myself saying 'it's for charity' as I buy yet another top. Definitely a want and not a need! I find online adverts really irritating too. One just has to look at an item and then gets lots of adverts for the same thing. We rceently bought a new sofa (Yes, a real need!) now i am bombarded with furniture adverts from shops I didn't even know existed. Thanks Leah, I must apply the test to the goodies I buy in Sainsbury's! No, I don't need a chocolate cake!

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Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 26, 2022, 2:50 p.m.

Hi Sue - you ‘need’ to put your Google searches into private-mode so you don’t get bombarded with adverts! ;-)*. Bear xx

Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 8:46 p.m.

Thanks Sue, I too volunteer in a charity shop and just icy as prices are cheap.

Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:56 a.m.

Bear thanks for the advice.

Alison

Aug. 26, 2022, 10:33 a.m.

Thank you Leah! Your blog was very thought-provoking. Rather than dwell on material needs vs wants. I am intrigued about needing or wanting emotional support or validation. I have been thrust back into full-time caring for my young person who is struggling with their mental health and it has been extremely challenging to put aside my own emotional needs while coping with theirs. However I have learnt that is ok, if not necessary, to have my own needs and to express them. It has made me better able to meet other people’s needs and has helped me feel happier even through difficult times.

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Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:49 a.m.

Alison What you have done is very hard. I think when caring for another you need to look after yourself son you can keep caring. Is there some support you can get.

the room above the garage

Aug. 26, 2022, 1:35 p.m.

Leah thank you, it’s something I need to remind my children of right now. Very apt!

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Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:50 a.m.

Thanks Ratg. Yes it is lesson we need to learn at all ages.

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 26, 2022, 3:07 p.m.

Hmm….Leah - good blog - interesting subject of needs vs. wants. When with friends or family browsing or shopping for clothes, I look at the item and think - do I ‘want’ it or do I really ‘need’ it? A lot depends on how much money I have - especially for anything frivolous. This plays a huge part in decision making and also, if it is fashionable clothing, I don’t always like cheap that won’t wear/wash well, plus I add in the wear/cost ratio factor if it’s something more expensive to justify a purchase!! However, if I know I really need a new waterproof coat because I’m getting soaked because a current coat is letting the water through, then it’s a no-brainer! Occasionally there will be a splurge on something that takes my eye - but I still go through a few processes before I take the plunge! The other way I look at Need vs Want is this: if I want Mr. Bear/Baby Bear to help with something in the house that I know they avoid, I will say: "I ‘need’ you to do….(fill in the blanks)…would you help now please?" They invariably come almost straight away. If I say ‘I want you to ….’ It can take several requests and there is always a grumble or I am told they’ll do it later! The word NEED seems to supersede the word WANT. Try it out!! Many thanks Leah and I hope you can always justify your need for a good book! Love and Bear hugs x x x

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Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:58 a.m.

Bear I have tried to ask by saying I need to have many times being told you want that request but do t need it.

RC

Aug. 26, 2022, 3:48 p.m.

Books are my weakness too Leah! Reading is a way of transporting yourself to another place and fires up the imagination so that can’t be bad surely? Take care of you RC xx

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Leah

Aug. 27, 2022, 12:59 a.m.

RC when you have a garage full of books that are untidily organised, it I seen as bad,,!!!

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