Risks of Putting Your Wants Before Your Needs

Physically, our basic needs are nourishment, hydration and sleep. But our basic needs also include mental and psychological well-being. Ignoring these psychological needs may lead to anxiety or depression, which can have negative repercussions for every aspect of your life.

Think of the old adage of the millionaire that has it all but still isn’t happy. This is because the basic psychological needs must be met before you can attain fulfilment. The happiest and most fulfilled people in the world are very rarely the people who have everything they could want; the happiest people are those who have prioritized their basic needs and fulfilled their psychological and emotional needs first.

Below are some very powerful emotions many people experience when they have been prioritizing their wants and forgetting about their basic psychological and emotional needs.

 Pressure and Anxiety

Many of us don’t realize the level of pressure we put on ourselves by focusing on our wants. This kind of pressure puts us in an ongoing state of tension and anxiety that can have profound negative effects on many other aspects of our lives. In doing this, we subject ourselves to self-inflicted pain. If you constantly worry about your future or your past, you will miss out on enjoyment and fulfillment in your present.

Frustration and Resentment

When you don’t obtain what you want, or you don’t achieve it as fast as you think you should, this can cause immense emotional pain and suffering, including feelings of frustration and resentment. As we get older and find that we still have not attained our “wants” of that cottage on the lake, that blue Corvette in the garage, etc., we feel defeated and perhaps hopeless at the unmet possibilities of life. This is a key example of why we have to weigh our wants lightly – the cottage on the lake may be a nice possibility to think about, but it may not be the most important thing in life.

Defeat and Disappointment

One of the most unexpected drawbacks of putting too much weight on our wants is the empty feeling of disappointment when you get what you want and it’s not what you expected. Maybe you achieve your dream of owning that cottage on the lake, but you suddenly realize you are too busy fixing it up or you live paycheque to paycheque just to afford it. This is a common repercussion of blindly putting emphasis on our wants. If we can learn to focus on the simple joys in life and our basic needs of healthy relationships, belonging, self-esteem, etc., we will find ourselves much happier with less.

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone, whether that’s your friends and family, or a trained therapist, about your wants and frustrations to help you find a more balanced perspective. If you are looking for an Ottawa therapist, contact us today.