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What do you really need?

We are constantly putting ourselves under enormous pressure and stress to ensure that we have the things we 'need' in life. We need a certain place to live, we need a particular car, we must bring our children on two holidays a year, we have to have our kids in three or four classes, it is essential to have membership at a certain gym or attend a particular club. Add to that stylish clothes, a modern phone, beauty products etc. The list seems rather endless once you begin to examine what we often think we need.

What might it be like to remove this pressure? Not even to say I won't have or don't 'want' these things, simply that I don't 'need' them. When it comes right down to it there is very little in life that we strictly need. We are lucky enough to live in a country where, for most of us (but not all), the basics of life are a given. Generally speaking, we have somewhere to live, food, water, clothes, families and friends.


If we take the perspective of what we would like or want as opposed to what we need, much of the pressure of life can be lifted. This simple shift of language can give a fresh perspective. Rather than feeling burdened by all the things we need, we can slow down, take stock, and focus on what we would like or maybe want. These are not things we must desperately claw for, we can strive towards them at whatever pace we would like, we can choose to have some but not all, we can forget them altogether. Its a personal choice what we add to our lives beyond what is essential. The 'choice' aspect of this often gets lost within all the consumerist lures of the modern world: advertising (on tv, on phones, on buses, in magazines), giant shopping centres,societal pressure.

By taking a step back and distinguishing what we want from what we really need, we can become clearer about life's priorities and maybe not feel so hard done by for what we don't have. Its refreshing to realise that what we really require in life is very often, already right there. In fact, more happiness might come from focusing more attention on the things you really need than on the things you simply want.


Ann Byrne, Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Appointments available in Dublin City Centre and Fairview.

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