Posted by: grantahelms | February 21, 2014

Needs, Wants and Desires

Have you ever wondered about these three words? What is the difference? What are the implications? According to Webster’s the definitions are as follows:

Need: a)A situation in which someone or something must do or have something

b)Something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy

c)A strong feeling that you must have or do something

Want: To desire or wish for something or someone.

Desire: a)To want or wish for something

b)To want to have sex with someone or something

c)To express a wish for something

They all seem to be intertwined. At least according to the definitions. But what if your girlfriend told you that she doesn’t need you? What would that do to you emotionally? I recently faced this dilemma and I was devastated. How could she not need me? Wasn’t I good enough for her? Then, being the wonderful person that she is, she continued on with the explanation. While she did not need me, she wanted and desired to be with me. Now I felt better, but was still somewhat confused. So I did what all good primates would do…Research.

Angry animal ... a monkey in India.research2


“Needs are things which we require to live.”

I had never thought of it like this before. Needs are things that we absolutely have to have to survive. In one point of my research I found these statistics. Though this list is not exclusive, they are a basis to live by.

You can survive:

3 minutes without oxygen                                                       (death by asphyxiation)

3 hours without shelter from the extreme elements   (death by hypothermia or heat stroke)

3 days without water                                                                 (death by dehydration)

3 weeks without food                                                                (death by starvation)

Wow! No wonder she said she didn’t need me. Before I came along she was providing these things for herself and her two children all by herself. And to be honest, she was doing it better than I ever had. No matter how much I made, $16.00 per hour at one point, I struggled from check to check. I never had anything left over, and I definitely couldn’t put any away for a rainy day. That was a real wake up call for me. She was making 50-75% less than me yearly, and could still take the children on vacations and buy new shoes every month. I want that kind of lifestyle.

“Wants are something that we have a desire for.”

I wanted that lifestyle. To work smart and not hard. To spend smart and not let someone else squander what you have worked hard for. So how do we get what we want? Do you work overtime? Do you just make a complete 360 degree change from what you were doing? This is what I have chosen to do. After a heart event in April of 2013, and months of contemplation and trying to talk to my wife, I left home. It was not sudden. It was not crazy. It was not irresponsible. It was survival! I wanted to live. I wanted to be happy. But most of all I wanted to be free to be me. And now I found someone who said she wanted me also. She didn’t say she wanted what I could do for her. She didn’t say she wanted what I could give her. She said she wanted me. The real me. The one who was repressed. The one who was depressed. And this wasn’t news to her. She had been my friend for years. She knew my inabilities and limitations, and she still wanted me. She wanted me to find happiness. With or without her. What a concept. And I couldn’t grasp it. So, I did some more of this:Thinking

“Desires are things that we want or wish for.”

What did I desire? What would it take to make me truly happy? To be rich? No. To have a good marriage? No. To find a better job? Maybe. Maybe I could use a new car or a boat. Could these make me happy? Many other men have gotten these things when experiencing a mid-life crisis. But then again, this wasn’t a mid-life crisis. This was survival. And it finally dawned on me that all these things were merely patches to a problem that hadn’t been repaired. To repair the damage that was done, I needed to dig deep. This is the list that I came up with:

a) I desire to find who I truly am. Not who I have been taught to be. Not who others think I should be. Not who, or what, I have been molded into by those in my life since birth.

b) I desire to be happy with myself. Not to be happy because of anyone else. Or what they have done, or will do for me. Only when I become happy with myself can I learn to love myself.

c) I desire to love myself. Only when I love myself, in a true non-vain kind of way, can I truly love anyone else.

d) I desire to have someone in my life who will be real with me. If I have misinterpreted something, guide me. Spend time talking to me, not at me. Spend time holding me when words are useless. If you have an issue that you need help with, talk to me. Don’t expect me to fix it.

All these things seem so simple, but they are not. Not for most at least. Why are we so repressed that we can’t truly open ourselves up to others? Are we afraid of pain? Hurt? Rejection? Don’t ask me. If I had all the answers I wouldn’t be trying to find myself now. So I guess until I have more answers I will continue to be like my furry friends.


“Do you know how to truly love yourself? If so, guide the rest of us.”

“Have you ever taken the time to contemplate your desires? Or have you just rolled with the punches?”

“What would you do if a significant other said they didn’t need you? Would you blow a gasket or try to understand what they meant?”



  1. I do know. The simplest way to love yourself is to assess what you do not like about yourself and change it. When you are someone you can love, you will be surprised how many there are who will love you as a result.

    Yes and no.

    I would do neither because I do not enter relationships based on need with the sole exception of giving birth. Other than that, I want my relationships to be with those who are self-sufficient.

  2. Very deep and well researched, by a well respected friend.

  3. I did, then I didn’t, now I am relearning.


    They have, I was happy about it. When they said they didn’t want anything I had to offer though, I was crushed. Still am.

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