Life & Love,Relationships

Want & Need – The paradox

They say that “to be happy in life; you must learn the difference between what you WANT and what you NEED.’’

WANT is to have a desire or wish for something.

NEED is the urge to have something. . . to have it; to be obliged to. NEED expresses necessity, or something lacking.

Two friends were talking. ‘’Hey, I WANT to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids.’’ ‘A’ says.

‘’But the other day you WANTED to see the Great Wall of China’’. ‘B’ immediately corrected.

‘‘So what? I WANT to travel the world and visit all of these exotic places.’’

Suddenly there was a spasm, and ‘A’ went into asthmatic raptures. ‘B’ immediately suggested, “Friend, you NEED to see a doctor tomorrow.”

NEED becomes something essential for survival, something mandatory. WANTING to travel to Egypt is non-essential.

Non-fulfilment of the NEED may lead to adversity. ‘A’ needs to go to the doctor to ensure that he is healthy, or else his health will deteriorate. However, the non-fulfilment of his WANT to go to Egypt may cause temporary mental distress, but will not cost him his health or life.

NEED to go to the doctor for consultation will not change over time, but WANT to travel to Egypt may shift from China to TIMBUKTU.

There is a skinny line between  WANT and NEED. But it is separated by a powerful and profound word, SELF-CONTROL.

I WANTED to eat a sumptuous meal at the classy restaurant of a five-star hotel in my vicinity. I looked at the menu; a seafood dish costs 3000 bucks. My son immediately chuckles, ‘‘Dad, do we NEED this expensive dish? Let us order something else so our pocket can breathe.’’ SELF-CONTROL is triggered, and we settle for something affordable.

Just imagine how many times in the day we let the SELF-CONTROL supersede our Trivial WANT to become our NEED.

At school, my teacher asked, “What is the fastest thing in the world”? Many tiny hands were raised, including mine. ‘’Miss it is a jet.’’. . . ‘’NO, Miss it is the Concorde’’ . . . ‘‘No, Miss it is Apollo 11,’’ I jumped to reply.

The teacher smiled. ‘’No children, the fastest thing in the world is OUR MIND.’’ . . . ‘‘Our mind travels too fast because we WANT to do so much more. But do we NEED to do whatever our mind WANTS to do? NO, because our minds have the power to control our desires. We don’t get upset because it makes us evaluate rationally and logically.’’

The childhood discourse stuck in my head, and I exasperated myself in my sixties to pamper SELF-CONTROL conveniently between my WANTS and NEEDS.


Every living thing on the planet has three basic NEEDS, ‘Vital for their survival.’

*FOOD. . . Essential for life is a NEED. The WANT may be to eat several goodies. But the NEED is to get enough calories to make your life go on, healthy and happy.

*SHELTER . . . Protection, security and safety primes to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, ‘Survival of the fittest. To save yourself from disease, calamity, mishaps and accidents is a NEED, not a WANT.

*SEX. . . Sex or Reproduction is the NEED for Procreation. Nature forces hormones into Living Things because of the Urge and NEED to mate. However, Nature faltered and became partial [for unknown reasons] towards the Homosapiens who have sex, more for pleasure, than the NEED to raise a baby. Humans WANT it more, more than they NEED it. They can perform sex 24/7, all days, throughout the year, while the animals have a fixed period of sexual activity.

Between the jugglery of WANT and NEED, there’s another word: DESIRE. Besides Physical Benefits and Functional Needs, DESIRE stands for Emotional Satisfaction.

“I WANT to meet her because I NEED that hug to gratify my physical DESIRE.” Does it make sense? Pretty close, right?. A Physical WANT leads to a Functional NEED that quenches a carnal DESIRE.

We WANT the person because he makes us feel good. . . . We NEED the person because he completes us.

OK, another try!

We love those we WANT . . . We depend on those we NEED.

Someone who is overflowing in love, and sees love in everything, WANTS to be with another person. BUT, when he is in ‘true love, he NEEDS that one person.

In different situations we often say,

‘I MISS YOU . . . ‘I WANT YOU . . . ‘I LOVE YOU. . . ‘I NEED YOU.’

The first three phrases are WIDE-RANGING and can be said in general to parents, children, spouses, friends, colleagues, etc.

BUT, ‘I NEED YOU’ is said only to the person who completes that eternal love.

MARRIAGE – The Paradox of WANT and NEED

‘‘I WANT to marry.’’ . . . ‘‘Do you WANT to marry?’’ Does anyone ever say, ‘‘I NEED to marry?’’

Entering into matrimony is always a WANT, not a NEED. Yes! the NEED to marry may arise when two people are in love and have to consummate the relationship for different reasons.

Unfortunately, a simple BIOLOGY that should adapt to soothing PHYSICS and CHEMISTRY falters, and the relationship is lost in the MATHEMATICS of  WANT and NEED.

‘ Why Men WANT sex and Women NEED Love.’’ ALLAN and BARBARA PEASE.

The question arises and tickles the funny bone – In an ideal marriage, is SEX a NEED or a WANT?

Men WANT sex because they NEED to have it released. Women NEED love because they WANT to feel cared for, pampered and respected by men. In women, the NEED for sexual release is superseded by their WANT for that special and meaningful caress.

Most marriages tend to fall apart [after some years of harmony] because of the misunderstanding between what one WANTS and what the other NEEDS.

X lamented to his wife, ‘Darling, I am providing everything that you WANT. We travel, shop, socialise and have ample sex, but still, you are never happy. God knows what to do.’ The wife looked into his eyes and said, ‘The day you understand my NEEDS, I will be happy and satisfied.’

The poor guy failed to understand that his WANTS were physical, while his wife’s NEEDS were emotional.


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  1. Harsh Vardhan says:


    That’s a good analysis of the needs and wants. Said out loud what goes on constantly in every ones mind. Actually the whole lifestyle is set on this basis. Good one Anuj, you have put in lot of words.

    True, It is the wisdom or thinking power of each person which decides what is a need and what is a want.Intuitively and compulsively we work to fulfill only our needs or wants turned into needs.

    If we reflect our life we realise we have worked more to fulfill others needs and wants than ours. May be because that gave more pleasure or was more satisfying.

    1. Dr. Anuj says:

      Harsh thank you so much for the perfect analysis of the subject. i totally agree with your views.

  2. Harsh Vardhan says:

    You have done a good analysis of wants and needs. True we keep getting into its mathematics by default. Discretion is needed to decide on which of our wants should become needs. In fact this tug of war is quite positive. Needs can become desperation and the next step would be determination. This can lead to wonders

    1. Dr. Anuj says:

      yes, dear, there is a very thin but significant line between the Need and Want….. I WANT to be with you, and I NEED to talk with you….

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