How many times have you said, “I need that?” People use the words I need a lot more often then they probably realize… and definitely more often then they should be saying things like, “I need to buy a new purse,” “I need to buy new furniture,” or “I need some new golf clubs.” All the time, right? Let’s look at the word need, it is defined in Webster’s as “to be logically necessary.” Is it crucial, essential and necessary to buy a new purse, to buy new furniture, or to have new golf clubs? Probably not. During a time in which many people are tightening their grip on their wallets, it seems to also be a perfect opportunity to recognize Needs vs. Wants. When you catch yourself saying, I need…, ask yourself this question, “Do I already have one/some or something similar that functions and serves the purpose? If the answer is yes, then maybe it is time to get creative so as to spice it up and make it feel new again. Clean your purse, rearrange your furniture, shine your golf clubs… think back and recall when you were excited to receive or purchase these items.
What you really need to be doing is cleaning your mind of the negative thoughts that have accumulated about the items, and then renew your positive thoughts about them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to buy a new purse, new furniture, or golf clubs. But aren’t these truly Wants?
I have two children. My oldest (11 years old) is a daughter and since the day she could speak she started to make demands. My son (9 years old) rarely asks for anything and when he does he will precede it with a thought-out explanation of why it is necessary. It’s funny to watch them this time of year, my daughter starts making her Christmas requests months in advance (typically large ticket items she feels she just has to have) while my son makes an occasional small request with his explanation of need. This year my son’s teacher asked her students to write a wish list for Santa as homework. My son followed his typically behavior – asking Santa for only 3 items (one being a new 3 ring binder for school). Funny thing, his teacher asked him to write it again but to actually make a list.
Many of us fall into the trap of running into the store for one item we need, but end up with a cart of things we think we need. From now on, when you pick up an item at the store, ask yourself, “Do I need this or do I want this?” You can decide to purchase it either way, but at least be honest with yourself in the reason why you are spending your money. Or, if you recognize it as just “a want,” you may choose to set the item down so you can save that money for some of the things you truly need. And, believe me… a vacation is something we can truly need!
Whether you are raising children or raising yourself, take a close look at your thoughts and statements. Make sure you teach yourself and your kids that needs are very different from wants.
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