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Wants and Needs: How Validation Kills Us


You bought a handbag recently. It looks nice.
It sits beside your 20 others.
While window-shopping, you see a BUY 1 FREE 1 sale happening.
It’s an amazing deal, you think to yourself.
You fumble through your wallet full of cards. You wonder which ones have not maxed out yet. You forgot. It doesn’t matter.
Now you think.

It looks SOO good. But, is it necessary? Do I need another 2 bags?

Do you really need to have an extra 2 handbags, on top of your collection of 20?


You buy it anyway.
You didn’t answer your own question.
20 becomes 22.
I can now measure your impulse by your closet.

Validation is a hell of a drug.

New phone? New shoes? New clothes? New car? New house?
Is it necessary to buy these all the time? When you already have functioning (and good-looking) clothes you can use, why would you buy more?
We all have been victims of it. Validation is addictive: the need to follow trends correlates with the need to belong. For societies, trends give the impression that you won’t be isolated if you blindly follow them.

I’m following what the world likes, there are other people like me.

It’s a bit like Moral Outrage: speaking about a global issue not because it concerns you, but you can make people turn heads towards you by stating your opinion. Meh. Never liked that. It adds so much noise. We have enough already.
Anyway, back to validation.
If everyone acted the same, I won’t know who you are. If you have a need to validate yourself with society all the time, it’s going to hurt. You might lose yourself.
What do you like? How do you express yourself?
Don’t talk about trends. I’m asking about you. I want to hear your story.

I want to celebrate you as an individual.

That is not validation. That is gratitude.
By the way, here’s a tip: It’s better to purchase timeless pieces – items that will last so long and can stand the test of time. You spend more money in the beginning for something that lasts a long time. In the end, you don’t spend so much later. We all like more money after all, right?
How did validation exist in the first place? Let’s start with the basics – our wants and needs.

Let’s define our wants.

Before we attack what everybody likes, let’s take a look at what we want.
I’ll start off:
I want a billion dollars, a converted warehouse, a giant portfolio that pays for my expenses yearly, and a lot of time.
Yeah. I have a lot of wants.
A want, is a feeling of desire for an object, whether material or immaterial. There needs to be no reason to incur a desire. You may just ‘want’. There CAN be one though.
If you trace back to where this feeling comes from, we tend to associate it with the sins of lust and greed. You know, like Dante going through the 9 Circles of Hell in Inferno.
It’s alright if you haven’t read the book, me too. I played the PS3 game, it was alright. Makes me want to buy the book…soon!
We’re not here to talk about religion though, we’re here to talk about distinguishing reason from desire.

What we want fills what we don’t have.

The wants I want to highlight are those with a lack of reasoning. They come out of instinct, the need to fill a certain void in our hearts.
I want to be rich.
If you ask them why, most people might give a general reason.
To help my family! To live comfortably! To help the poor!
Well, being rich is a different story.
For example, if your phone broke, and you need it for work, then it’s justified.

I use my phone to pay my bills. I do my work on mobile.
I want this device because it helps me make more money.

There is a reason. You can feel it.
By the way, there’s been a growing number of workers who do work solely from their phones – I highly respect them. Trying to be one myself too, so far the transition is going alright.
It’s cool stuff. Try it. Unless you have very special software, then good luck 😉
If you’re getting the new iPhone X (pronounced ‘Ten’ like the Roman numeral, though the masses ignore still) over your fully-functioning iPhone 7s because of how pretty it looks, well.
What’s wrong with yours? What are you missing? You must have felt the exact same thing when the 7s came out. What happened in between?
Buying something for aesthetics can be a justified reason, but if that is your ONLY reason every time, things start to get a little complicated. What does it help you with?
What do you not have that it can provide?
Better check where you’re throwing that money.

What we need, is what helps us live.

A need, however, is different.
Picture yourself lost in a desert. Thirsty already?
Let’s pretend I’m the desert genie as I always wished to be. As I’m such an amazing (self-proclaimed) genie, I present to you two things:

  1. A flask of water that never runs out.
  2. A Macbook that stays up-to-date with specs, updates and all that stuff.

Chances are, you might be an Apple fan. You breathe Apple.
If Apple was a singer, you would swoon over his sexy voice.
He could say something dumb like

Dogs lay eggs.

And you would believe him.
You can do just about anything you can imagine a laptop can do with this Macbook. It’s lightweight, ultra-fast, and works like a dream.
Do you want it?
You take the Macbook. It works, except that there’s no internet in the desert. You can’t contact help. You still wander. You play with it for 10 hours, or 12 or however much amount they can last for.
The Macbook provides no nourishment for your body. It’ll run out of battery. It will become a burden once you don’t need it anymore.
There was no need for it.
It’s a crude example, but ah well.
But water. Water is water is water.
We all love water, especially in the desert. Unless you’re allergic to water. In that case, I apologize for any offense caused.
It is a need. It keeps you alive. You wouldn’t function without water. It’s a huge part of your life.
Why do we do this all the time?

Living is the most important want of all.

We need to live. Therefore, we want to.
Our perception of living had evolved over time: The need to live started to mix with the ‘need’ for material items.
You need to breathe. You need to eat. You need to drink (water). You need to move.
Where do new laptops, phones, clothes, etc. come into all this?
None. None at all.
They are just wants. They are all wants.
Except maybe if they help you earn money, which in turn lets you eat/drink. Which is great.
We just need to live, that is all. There’s no guidebook on that, is there? No Wiki for ‘how to live a good life’? How to distinguish between want or need?
I need that. I want to buy that. It helps me live better.
See, it’s hard for me too.

The world became bigger, and us, smaller.

Vanity, status, power. These are immaterial concepts that influenced us as humanity advanced. I’m guessing that with the advent of technology and the likes, the world just became bigger.
We are becoming borderless.  It’s easier to connect with people around the world. It’s easier to travel there. It’s easier to hear about what is happening in this world.
Plenty of good things come with it. But here’s the thing:
You are not just a citizen of your nation. You are now a citizen of your nation, of your region, of this world.
Humanity became so advanced that it had made us all smaller in the end. Hence, the need for validation.
The meaning became lost in translation. Let’s find it again.
Oh right, I forgot to add one more thing to that list of ‘needs’.
You need to experience.
Because! With new experiences, we become more human.
When we are more human, we live more. Living is a need after all.