Last week, I briefly explained something that I want to walk through in more detail with you now. I started a thought by saying, “here’s what I need to do.” I immediately realized I was contradicting myself from a conversation that I had had just a few days before writing that post. I am starting to feel very strongly about the way we as a collective use the word need.
The definition of need is to require (something) because it is essential or very important, expressing necessity or obligation.
When I used the word need, I was talking about uniting my sub-personalities. If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, go do it because what I just said will make more sense. I said, “here’s what I need to do.” I immediately realized that I didn’t need to, I wanted to. I feel there is a vast difference in the definition of these words and how we apply their meaning.
The definition of want is to have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.
I realize that so many of us use the word want for things we are interested in doing but that we apply no priority. In comparison, we use the word need for pretty much everything, which assigns a priority that might not be the proper priority.
The conversation that prompted me to analyze the use of need versus want was about hair donation. I had just announced on my Instagram that I had chopped my hair to donate. I received a message from a friend that said she needed to do the same. We had never talked about her wanting to do it, so I questioned why she needed to do it. This situation made me realize that I do the same thing: I use the word need where I should use the word want.
Why do I feel like this is something worth talking about? Because we assign a priority to so many things that we don’t truly make a priority. It would be like me saying that I need to watch the new season of Down to Earth on Netflix. No, I don’t need to watch it, I want to watch it. There is nothing about watching Down to Earth that is essential or important to my life. I want to watch it. I don’t need to.
Here’s another thing, I told myself that I needed to get enough posts written before leaving for my month-long work trip to cover not only that month but multiple weeks into the next month. Honestly, I didn’t need to, I wanted to. Why the difference here? Because I could have easily brought my laptop write as I usually do. I wanted to schedule enough episodes to cover this time, so I don’t miss an post because I’m working more hours since I’m in person with my boss and coworkers and because I want to take time to explore the area that I’m in. I wanted to remove my normal obligations that I have created for myself to allow for other activities.
There are far too many things that I say I need to do when I should be saying I want to do them because they do not need the priority of being referred to as essential or important to my life. Not everything is that important. I want to go to Ireland one day. I don’t need to. I want to walk more each day. I need to for my health. I want to grow my hair out again. I don’t need to. I want to unite my sub-personalities and improve my self-esteem and view of my self-worth. I don’t necessarily need to, I’m managing just the way I am today. I want to go camping and exploring more this summer. I don’t need to.
I would like to challenge you the same way I am challenging myself: take a look at how you use the word need in your life and determine if those things are actually needs or are they wants that don’t deserve to be classified as essential or essential. Where are you putting more pressure on yourself because you say need instead of want? Next, I challenge you to reframe how you use the word need. I’m betting it will assist in changing your stress level by removing the implied pressure.