3 Soulful Ways To Overcoming Unnecessary Wants

“Stop chasing what your mind wants and you’ll get what your soul needs.”

When my daughter was 4 years old, she loved ice cream. She still does. One night when she was 4, on a very cold rainy night, she kept pulling me to the fridge to ask me for ice cream. Now there is nothing wrong with ice cream, is there? But at 11 p.m. (well past bedtime) on a cold rainy night, it is potentially disastrous. Now we grown ups know that, but for a child its still the best thing in the world and not getting what she wanted at the time made her cranky and irritable. I tried hard to distract her attention from it, but all in vain. I actually had to drag her to bed…and even then she kept at it. She couldn’t stop giving me logical reasons for why ice cream was so necessary for her at that hour. Finally after much ado she did fall asleep. What she needed was to go to sleep, but what she wanted was ice cream!

Wants and needs are a funny thing. All our lives we are battling in our heads between these too facts. How often have we gone to a store and looked at something and thought “oh I want that, its gorgeous!”? And, How often have we gone to a store and thought “Oh I need that!”? Sometimes it’s a wonder, we have actually grown up, because our thinking patterns are still mostly childish when it comes to the fine things we want. If you notice your thinking pattern, you will realize that your mind first always tricks you into thinking about your Wants and then your Needs. Whereas, your needs are more important than your wants.

You need water, but you want a soft drink instead.

You need food, but you want pizza instead.

You need air, but you want air conditioning instead.

The Soul Needs Less

There is nothing wrong with wants, cause to some extent they are the driving force for which we might be working so hard. But here I am talking about unnecessary, unhealthy, and self indulgent wants which left unchecked could lead to a very selfish and materially indulgent soul. Our goal is to attain spiritual growth and self improvement…which is very hard if we are all caught up in the unnecessary indulgences of this temporary life.

Think of it this way, your soul, which is eternal needs nothing except to give and receive love. But your body, which is temporary, wants and wants and wants.

Since starting my spiritual journey, I have been drawn to minimalism. The lesser I have, the happier I am. But I couldn’t have reached that ‘less is happy’ stage till I went through ‘the more I have the happier I am’ stage.

The internal conflict between our needs and wants is a never ending process. So, how do we think above it? Is there a way?

Ofcourse there is.

There is always a way if we choose to find it. Below are three steps I have found work like a charm. These steps have been tried on a group of individuals, and all came out with flying colors. But of course, practice is the key.

Small steps towards self improvement with huge benefits.

3 Soulful Ways To Overcoming Unnecessary Wants

1. Consciously know what it is that you truly need: Here I urge you to be mindful of your thought patterns with regards to buying, spending, storing and wasting. I know a friend who decided with her husband that they would not buy any groceries for a month and only survive on what was already in their pantry. This led them to discover how many things they could make with whatever was already available to them, rather than running to the store for little things on a daily basis. Which translated into less spending and more mindful living. Happy soul  zone 🙂

2. Think twice (maybe more) before you act on your wants: Since we are not all in that super controlled zone(myself included), those pesky unnecessary wants will come up. The monkey mind loves to jump. Let it and then don’t act on it. You must understand, that when your monkey mind is working in hyper drive, nothing great is going to come out of it.

3. Ask yourself this: “Is this purchase/want good for my soul?”: Asking this imperative question, will immediately make your mind understand what decision to take. 

MOST IMPORTANTLY-

Always remember- Your Needs Acted Upon Will NOT Give You A Guilty Conscience! But your wants on the other hand…might just creep up on you…

Attaining selflessness and rising above trivial wants is never easy, but its the need  of the soul to do so that makes it so attainable. We need to be able to look within ourselves and put ON the light of the heart for the right path.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you been able to rise above your unnecessary wants? Share your thoughts in the comments and lets learn from each other.

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16 thoughts on “3 Soulful Ways To Overcoming Unnecessary Wants

  1. Lore (like "story") Raymond

    Dear Zeenat,
    Enjoyed all of your blog post especially, “3. Ask yourself this: “Is this purchase/want good for my soul?”: Asking this imperative question, will immediately make your mind understand what decision to take.”

    I look around and see so much visual clutter from purchases like books. Heaven knows I do not need ANY MORE BOOKS–I’m writing one right now! lol

    Appreciating your clear defininitions of wants and needs.
    Namaste and Happy Diwali!

  2. Dear Zeenat, Once again, I feel so in sync with you! These days I’m all about simplifying and identifying what is truly MINE, and what is not. I believe you are writing about the same thing – the difference between what is truly important, and what is simply a ‘shiny object’ of our momentary affections. As always, kudos to you for sharing your message in such a beautiful way! xo

  3. Zeenat, I love your distinction between a want and a need, in addition to a healthy vs. unhealthy want. I agree some wanting is good to grow our soul yet much of what we desire is from the ego. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Your example with your daughter speaks to this concept clearly. Blessings Lisa xx

  4. ckkochis2017

    This article resonates with me on so many levels, Zeenat. I recently downsized and purged a lifetime of stuff. I love how you show the difference between wants and needs with ice cream. Great example. As always, thanks for the pearls of wisdom.

  5. cathytaugh

    Great reminder here, Zeenat. I love your example with your daughter. Even as adults we can become unconscious about our wants, and can easily mistake them for needs. I have found it helpful to focus on fewer things and more on experiences.

  6. Dear Zeenat,

    Like you, I try to live a relatively simple lifestyle. But I can’t say I’ve conquered my “wants” when it comes to food in particular. 🙂 That’s a hard one for most of us because there are so many deeper emotional issues tied into it. These are excellent questions, and I think we would all be better off if we asked them routinely, and that planet would be too! I hadn’t thought about this point before, and I think it’s an important one: “Always remember- Your Needs Acted Upon Will NOT Give You A Guilty Conscience! But your wants on the other hand…might just creep up on you…”

  7. Great post Zeenat, I am in the process for awhile now to simplify my life and minimalise it. It feels so good and I am happier with it too. You are so right that we really do not need so much. I keep on it!

  8. I love this post Zeenat! Of necessity, my lifestyle is fairly minimal. This is in contrast to the constant bombardment that I receive of messages to have more, in order to be more. Your reflection is a useful reminder of the difference, and the ability that we all have to be more conscious in our choice-making. Thank you!

  9. Indeed the Soul will ensure that we get what we need. The body I have found is a beautiful intuitive instrument and like any instrument, when played correctly, delivers amazing and transformative ‘music’. Many people are disconnected from their body’s sensuality and allow the mind sole authority, rather than a dance between the two allowing for soul authority. There are many techniques to communicate with the body’s knowing that help us fulfil the Soul’s needs.
    Great blog and food for thought. Thank you.

  10. I like the idea of waiting a certain period of time, like a week, before acting on something I think I want. It never means that I can’t have what I want but it helps me to assess how that want lines up with my values – the true test. If it doesn’t align with your core values, is it the highest and best use of your time, money and energy? Great article Zeenat!

  11. Elle Sommer

    Years ago I gave up smoking by deciding to go and do something else before filling the ‘need’ for a cigarette. By the time I’d done the task I’d forgotten about the desire to smoke for a while. And after a week I was well on the way to living in the smokeless zone I’ve followed for the best part of my life.

    Same with food…when I want to eat something…the question I ask is could I eat a chicken dinner and if the answer is no…then clearly I’m not actually hungry! Though sometimes, like your daughter, I just want a little sugar! lol.

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