what do you really need?

wax crayon and collage art journal spread

Yesterday I suggested that only you know what you really need. But do you know? I mean – have you ever consciously thought about what you really need?

Some people talk about needs and wants in terms of basic necessities and frills. Shelter, food, and the clothes on your back are needs. 6,000 square foot mansions, caviar and designer duds are wants. But what if you thought about it a different way? What if you tried to figure out which particular need you were actually trying to meet, when you pay too much for expensive evening wear that you’re only going to use once?

Gwen Bell introduced me to a communication process called Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and the list of needs that NVC has identified. Go ahead – click through that last link, and have a look at the list of needs right now. I always feel a profound sense of calmness and aliveness after I’ve finished reading it. When you’re looking at the list, ask yourself: Which of these am I needing to fill right now?

You may realize that your expensive evening wear is actually filling your need for belonging, or beauty, or security, or participation. And maybe, after giving it some more thought, you might realize that you could meet those needs in other, less expensive ways. If you wanted to.

So what are you really needing right now? If you’d like to learn more about NVC, you might also be interested in this book.

Art journal spread, September 2005. Wax crayon and collage on paper.