Is DESIRE camouflaged as FALSE NEED?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

Often we do not know how to distinguish between false and true needs.  We tend to feel an impulse and we follow it.  Over the Christmas or New Year celebrations, I see a huge number of advertisements on the TV that invite you to buy perfume, with the lure of seducing others, or buying certain things as an expression of love for your relatives, or buying a car to feel fulfilled and carry out your dreams and many more.  They tell you: buy this thing to gain some other wonderful thing that will make you feel happy and successful.

On seeing these advertisements we probably realise the underlying intention and it even makes us laugh, because we understand that by buying the item, we are not going to gain the perfect partner, or the whitest teeth on the planet, the perfect figure or a marvellous family.  They are fairly obvious.  However, we project this type of advertisement to ourselves but without being aware of what underlies it.  We convince ourselves that by doing a certain thing we are going to be happy or we will feel safe.  For example: by being submissive or appearing tolerant, we make the effort to be a perfect being, transforming ourselves into a very capable professional, exerting ourselves to be at the height of fashion, or doing the latest courses on something.  But none of this guarantees us peace or happiness.  

Possibly I confuse my real needs with the achievement of a certain type of success.  Maybe I look for people to love me unconditionally, to be able to express my feelings without fear, without feeling that others will judge me…But I am not normally conscious of it, which is fundamental. 

It is hard for us to see what we really need and we become confused with the desire for empty success.  Could it be that we believe that acknowledging what we feel will make us appear weak?  However, that confusion makes us miserable.  If we could be honest and kind to ourselves we would dare to accept with our whole body, the need to feel loved or accepted as we are, without having to be a fantastic, perfect being who knows everything, or is slim and incredibly good-looking or a superb professional who can deal with any kind of setback of their own or others.  We use the desire for perfection as currency for being accepted, without realising it perhaps we feel that way because the main person who does not accept themselves as they are is me, and I project my fears on to others. 

If you have ever felt an inner emptiness or anxiety and, instead of heeding the warning you feel, you have launched into buying a new blender that you do not need, invited a friend to go to the cinema or things like that, the next time it happens to you, stop, observe what you feel and ask yourself kindly about what you feel and need before disguising the sensation as something else (by eating, going partying, talking on the telephone for hours…).

Dare to pay attention to your real needs, as it is only in this way that the inner peace you need will appear.  False needs just wear us out, they use up our energy without providing anything real in return.  We become more and more grumpy, more demanding or more depressed or anxious.  Look at how little your peace demands: that you pay sincere attention to your real needs.  To do this you have to be brave, but no doubt with a sincere intention you will manage it.