Is It Okay To Want Things? The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Desire
Have you noticed that most of, if not all the time, you want something? When you're hungry, you want food. When you're full, you want to get comfortable. When you're bored, you want to do something. When you're in pain, you want relief. When you're having fun, you want it to last.
At the end of the day, it's human nature to want things. But at what point does this become detrimental to our well-being?
There are very few moments in our lives when we are fully satisfied, without a single desire. When these moments do arise, they don't last.
Some will argue that wanting things leads us to take action. It leads us on adventures. It propels us to make positive change in our lives and for those around us. But on the other side of that coin is the suffering that results from a constant need for reality to be different.
So what is the line between meaningful action versus constant suffering?
Healthy wanting versus unhealthy wanting
First, let's talk about unhealthy wanting. The wanting that keeps us restless. The wanting that makes us miserable.
We're all familiar with this type of wanting, even if we don't want to admit it.
Just ask yourself the question right now, "Do I want something?"
If I had to guess, something came to mind. And if nothing immediately came to mind, then ask yourself the question in five minutes.
Once you have an answer to that question, pay attention to how your mind and body react to the answer.
Did you start fantasizing about the thing you want? Did your thoughts tell you that the future will be better than the present? Did your body tense up and create a sense of restlessness? Perhaps depression about your current state?
Whatever your answer was, it's likely that the wanting created a sense of unease inside of you.
When your wanting creates a sense of disturbance inside, it means you're not grounded in the present moment. It means you're resisting the reality happening in and around you, and instead are counting on the future to be happier.
This is unhealthy wanting. But with this exercise, you now see how easy it is to detect it within yourself.
Being consciously aware of this pattern while it happens is more than half the battle. Once you're aware, you have the power to let that pattern play out without your involvement.