Be honest with yourself: Could there be more fire in your relationships (even if they’re already great)?
Being honest about your needs and wants is a leap toward maximizing the pleasure and joy in your life.
Imagine you’re sitting in a restaurant. The waiter arrives for your order, but you don’t say what you want. Maybe you haven’t decided or you’re reluctant to say. Regardless, if you don’t order, you’re unlikely to receive any food!
It’s similar in the realm of intimacy. Our partners can’t read our minds. If we’re uncertain about our wants or reluctant to express them, we’ll get the luck of the draw — which is not always what we’re hungry for. This can lead to resentment and blame in relationships.
Needs and Wants: What’s the Difference?
Let’s look at needs, wants, and desires. The space between minimum standards of satisfaction (needs) and ecstatic fulfillment (desires) is vast.
A need is something you can’t live without: Food, clothing, shelter, air, water, sunlight. We need touch and movement.
A want is something you don’t currently have, but would like to have. As soon as your “want” is fulfilled, you don’t have that want anymore. Continuing to “want” means you haven’t taken enough steps to “have.”
Building on this, you need food to live — but you may want pizza. This is an upgrade to “need,” because you’re making distinctions beyond survival.
Beyond Need and Want Is Desire
The realm of desire is elevated. It’s elaborate. Beyond filling your belly, it’s nurturing your being. Elaborate on your “want” for pizza, and you arrive at desire.
Desire has a feel to it. It involves your senses. It’s rich, textured, and sensual. Desire is both the stimulus and response to feeling: It both arouses, and arises, from feeling.
What Makes Your Mouth Water?
Desire applied to pizza feels like this: I desire thin crust that’s still bready and toppings to make my mouth water. Bubbling hot, browned mozzarella oozing between sliced tomatoes and chicken sausage. Mildly spicy marinara. Cheese stretchy and stringy, lifting from the pie.
Feel the difference?
An individual must aspire higher than her simple wants to grow. Without desire, people don’t thrive, relationships don’t blossom, and society doesn’t advance. We invented the vacuum tube because we wanted radio. But we desired to go to the moon, so we invented solid state electronics, replacing vacuum tubes.
Buddhism and other spiritual paths advocate getting rid of desire. Yet the way to be fully alive and improve your life is to desire more.
How to Identify Your Desires
What about you? What do you really want out of life?
Follow these steps to help you identify what you truly desire.
1. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen.
2. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
Choose any area of your life wherein you long for more. Write it down. Is it family? Body? Spirituality? Sex? Friendship? Money? Any area will do if it’s an area where you desire more.
4. Get specific about your desires.
If the waiter is standing nearby, what would you order? Go into detail. Details are vital because desire lives in the specifics. Let yourself imagine — and admit — what you desire.
5. Involve your senses.
What will you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell when your desire is fulfilled? What will you, and others, say? The more detail you imagine, the more likely you’ll obtain it. The universe operates like a restaurant — only we forget to order!
6. When your timer buzzes, decide.
Are you done? If not, set the timer for another 15 minutes. Continue expressing. Feel complete with your first area? Choose another.
7. When you’re done, share aloud with someone you know, like, and trust.
Ask for partnership to achieve this result. Sharing with others expands your chance of receiving. The more people you share with, the more chance you’ll fulfill your desires.
Remember, our partners aren’t mind-readers. When you identify and express your personal desires in juicy detail, your partner has a roadmap to satisfy you. Making it easy on them so you can finally be satisfied, even fulfilled and ecstatic. Honestly admitting your desires is a path to an overflowing, rich life.
Share your desires with anyone who will listen… especially your partner!