Friday, February 14, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Wants vs. Needs

Part of the Deliberate Living lifestyle is to live simply. Without a lot of excess. For many this would be hard. If those people cleared out their homes, what is being perceived as a 'need' for material items, would cause them to fill those houses up again. When in actuality their perceived need is only a want.

We are bombarded daily by advertising. And in those ads are the messages that if we own this (insert product), then that (insert positive activity/feeling) will occur. These messages are driven by industries who want to fatten their wallets. And they couldn't be more wrong! Yet, people continue to buy into these messages, these advertisements. Why? Well...that's a topic for another post. Today we're talking about want vs. need.

Needs are things which are crucial to a person's existence - food, water, air, shelter, rest, love. If these needs are being met, then a person is okay. Anything above and beyond those needs are simply wants. It is very important to learn to differentiate between the two. If needs go unmet, then a person can face disastrous consequences. But if a person's wants are not met then that person is still okay and can function. On occasion a person can want something so very badly, that the want can become to feel like a need. But, despite that yearning feeling, the want is still just that - a want.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's okay to want something, just don't get carried away. Learn how advertising and media can affect your desires. Then take action to prevent from "falling under the spell of the media". Find other things, other activities that make you happy. 
Next week I will continue this discussion. I will write about endorphins, society and Maslow's Hierarchy.


the dogs' mother said...

I found the 'wish list' function on so easy to order Amazon a very handy way to put some thinking time for want vs need. A lot of stuff stays on the wish list :-)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

When I started university so many years ago, I studied political theory including the role that advertising plays in a consumer society. Thank goodness for that course! A seminal book taught me that consumer society depends for its very existence on people who cannot distinguish wants from needs. It is the social function of advertising to create those people. Being taught this has made a profound difference in my life and saved me from mindless consumerism.