Redefining the word “NEED”

“I need it”

A phrase many of us have said before without any real consideration of it’s true connotations. According to the Oxford Learners English Dictionary the word “Need” is defined as:

“To require something/somebody because they are essential or very important, not just because you would like to have them”

The word essential in that definition being the most crucial. However, in our modern society where we are used to having what we want, when we want it and the things we consider essential have shifted. How we determine what our essentials are, are mostly based on habit or desire rather than true necessity.

We re-purchase as soon as we finish, break or loose and item. We purchase things we have little use or interest for because of how it will represent us. We consider these things essential and exploit our money, time and natural resources to acquire them.

With the current COVID-19 outbreak we can see what people consider essential simply by looking at the empty toilet paper shelves in the supermarket. While the doomsayers stock up on their essentials, it is an important time to consider our own. This doesn’t mean food, water and shelter are the only essentials, but it is common to hear people saying “I need it” to every new bag, lipstick or tool released by their favourite companies. This is a time to reassess if what we have in our lives already and what we wish to bring in is what we truly need.

Three ways you can reassess what you have in your life or are bringing into your life is essential for you:

  1. When you finish a product/item reconsider before repurchasing. This is particularly relevant for beauty and hygiene products. Ask yourself is this really bring value to my life or can I save myself money, space and natural resources and not repurchase it.
  2. When you decide you want to purchase something new consider how it is bringing value into your life. Do you consider it a tool that you will use often or something that is linked to your aspirational self (blog post coming on this soon)? By taking the time to consider why this an important addition to your life you can ensure what you do purchase is feeling a need in your life.
  3. Try and avoid using the word need because even the things in your life that bring you joy and happiness you can survive without. Having a warped view of our relationship with our things sets us up for a life of spending money to try and achieve something that stuff can’t bring!

It is so important in this difficult time for us to put our energy and time into looking after ourselves and connecting to the people we love, not allowing our anxiety and fear to push us to consume.

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