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April 17, 2014
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The need to want


The next day my body ached. Nothing serious, just all those tensed and twisted muscles reporting in. But it got me thinking. Before my fall at the mall, my husband and I had a talk. Our new home was (almost) fully furnished and our American Express bill was reaching new heights every month. It was time to distinguish between “need” and “want.” That’s a rational thought. But was my shopping rational? I knew it wasn’t only that. Some of my wants were based on unfulfilled needs of another kind. (Hey, psychotherapy wasn’t wasted on me!) It was based on the primal fear of not having enough. A fear passed down from a family of the Great Depression. Maybe even before that, from An Gorta Mor, the Irish Famine of the 1840s.

Feelings of deprivation can be powerful motivators that can lead to all kinds of destructive behaviors. Addictions like gambling, alcoholism and drug use, or overeating can all be traced back to early deprivation, either emotional or physical.

The holiday season can be a great excuse to overdo it, with drinking, or eating, or shopping. But being honest with yourself and someone close to you can put a damper on those urges. Believe me.