There’s a very big difference between what we need and what we want.
When I was begging for something as a kid, my mom would always ask, “Now, do you really need it? Or do you just want it?”
Obviously, I didn’t actually need that new toy or snack from the grocery store, but as a 10-year-old, it sure felt like I did.
That feeling still exists. As an adult, there are things I think I need, and I have to ask myself that question: “Do I need it, or do I just want it?”
I still internally battle myself when it comes to food choices or that new dress in the window, but a lot of time, it’s in terms of a relationship.
That probably sounds a little ridiculous, so I’ll explain:
Every human likes to feel needed, and anyone who claims otherwise is lying. There’s something to be said for knowing another person is so drawn to you that he or she needs you as a part of his or her formula for self-satisfaction.
However, many times, we don't distinguish between our wants and our needs in relationships when we really should.
Wanting to be involved with other people — physically or emotionally — is positive.
It tells us that they are important, and we should pay attention to that desire. But, the thing is, we shouldn’t ever really need love or attention from another person to make us feel whole.
Basing our happiness and sense of fulfillment on another’s actions means we are never truly in control of our emotional states of mind.
When we put all of our mental eggs in someone else’s life basket, we give up our ability to self-preserve. The only person we truly need love from is our own selves.
Don’t get me wrong, this is all much easier said than done for most people (myself included).
There have been times I got so wrapped up in other people that I lost sight of why I wanted them in my life in the first place. I had just subconsciously decided I needed them.
It’s taken me many years to learn that deriving pleasure from being around other people and needing company to feel happy are two very different things.
I’ve discovered that complete self-love is the only way I will ever feel truly fulfilled.
Self-love comes in different forms. There’s taking some "me time" to relax and recharge, and there's splurging on something pretty just because it makes you feel good.
The most important kind, however, is the one that ensures your security and confidence as a person.
Why is self-love so important?
1. If you only rely on yourself for love, then you will always be fulfilled.
I’m not saying you won’t still have those rough days, but rather, you’ll know that you can get through them regardless of who is around you.
It’s easier to get through the tough times when you’re not waiting for someone else to make you feel better.
2. Heartbreak won’t feel as bad because you won’t actually be alone.
Your heart will always remain intact. Even when someone tries to break it, the pain won’t feel so overwhelming.
That empty hole will close even faster when you know that you’ll be okay because all you really need in life is yourself.
3. Your relationships will be healthier because you want to be with them instead of needing to be with them.
Need creates clinginess and jealousy. Want creates passion and desire. Which sounds better to you? No one wants to be a stage-five clinger.
4. Love from others feels extra satisfying.
Love from others is like that super satisfying feeling you get after having a really healthy and fulfilling meal and then having a bowl of ice cream. Your heart (like your belly) will just say, “Yaaaaas.”
5. Success will feel even better because you won’t need to look to others for approval.
You don’t need someone else to tell you that you can do something; you already know you can.
So, when someone does say so, the extra vote of confidence will be even more gratifying.
I’m not saying you have to be an island or you should always be arrogant; wanting another human and feeling wanted by him or her in return can be such a delightful feeling. Enjoy it, but don’t require it. There’s a difference.