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When Needs and Desires Collide

Photo by Pixabay/congerdesign

During the holiday season, desires and needs become conflated as I rush to meet the expectations of the season. Desires and needs, in fact, collide for me. I can’t seem to gauge when I’ve baked enough cookies or crafted enough goodies to give away. Despite the fact that I carefully budget and shop for loved ones, I’m left dissatisfied — or at least anxious — even as the last preparations pile up in the fridge. While my stomach lets me know that I’ve sated my need for food, the conviviality of the season leaves me desirous, wanting just one more homemade dessert, one more drink. I experience different feelings when I’m sated and when I’m satisfied. Determining what I need versus what I think I want helps me satiate the basics, while leaving room to appreciate my desires; an aesthetic and spiritual layer that, though secondary, sometimes feels equally important. I know these more nuanced feelings are met when I feel satisfaction.

This year, I’m going to pay attention to the difference between these two feelings. I hope to pause as I eat, as I shop, as I create, and ask myself whether what I’m doing responds to a need or a desire. Six different batches of cookies aren’t needed, but what if one recipe makes me nostalgic, and another is my kids’ favorite, and the smell and taste of each brings us all comfort? Here, I’m most interested in experiencing satisfaction, and realize that two batches might just be enough.

I see potential for new compromise in terms of gift-giving, too. My desire for less waste may mean that I choose to shop at resale stores (see Retail Resale) or make a gift at home. I feel fulfilled making a sustainable purchase or investing personal creativity in a project that the receiver will hopefully cherish. I’m more likely than not to use wish lists as my map for fun, turning my quest for satisfaction into an adventure.

As for overindulging? Well, I don’t have a solution, other than forgiving myself and truly indulging in the satisfaction. If something is delicious, I promise to savor it, and enjoy the memory of the deliciousness once my stomach is full. I’ll also amplify my satisfaction and express it by exclaiming out loud, “Oh, how delightful!” for the benefit — and satisfaction — of the cook.

Do you have any tips for staying satiated and satisfied during this hectic season? Email me at JDenney@MotherEarthLiving.com. From our pages to your homes, happy holidays!

Published on Sep 30, 2019

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