I mentioned in a post a while back that I keep posting about the dating series events that I run at the moment. In Dating 1 (of 3) I talked about the exploration of why we date and the limiting beliefs that get in the way. In the next installment of the series I am talking with everybody about needs, wants and desires and about preferences and how they limit us.
Needs, Wants and Desires
Needs, Wants and Desires are the recipe and shopping list for whatever kind of relationships you want to build. Roll with me on the cake example I am giving: Imagine you are going to bake a cake. You NEED flour, butter, eggs, sugar, an oven, a baking tray and a multitude of other things. That is your recipe. Now, if you are new to this particular cake you want to stick strictly to the recipe. But if you are good at baking and you have made that cake before you are able to experiment and replace certain ingredients with others. You will still have your cake but it might taste, smell or look different.
Once your cake is baked, you WANT to decorate it. You might want to put strawberries on top or a white chocolate glaze or cream cheese frosting or whatever you feel would make your very good cake amazing.
And finally you are eating the cake. And you realize why you baked it in the first place. Because there was a desire to eat a piece of that delicious cake because you know, when you taste it, it reminds you of a place in your past, a day at the beach or coffee with grandma. And you want to relive this moment and feel the feelings you were feeling then. And then you might want to invite friends over and share a piece of cake and the feelings will be different but you want to feel them. You might serve the cake on a rainy day because you feel different than you would on a sunny day.
Okay, I think I took this far enough. The point I am rambling on about is that needs are the core requirements of the relationship. They are the non-negotiables. When they are not met, then the relationship will probably not work either. And needs can be anything that is non-negotiable for you. If you need 3 hours of alone time every day to stay sane, then that is a need. If you need sex every 2nd day to be even keel, it is a need. If you need to be spanked at least twice a month to feel grounded, it is a need. And similar to the example, needs can change. Maybe 2 hours of alone time, combined with sex every third day but a spanking every week might work just as well for your cake. Just keep in mind that you might have to start over when the flavor of your cake is off.
Wants are something that makes the relationship better. That can mean better for you or just better in general. Wants can be negotiated. They are, like in the cake story, the icing on top of everything. So if I want to go hiking every now and then because I love the smell of the woods, the fresh air, being outside and I would like you to come with me to share it with you, then we can negotiate that. It is not a make or break scenario. I don’t need you to come with me but I would like to share it with you.
And finally desires. In my book (and the desire.guru book for that matter) they are the driving component, because our emotions drive our actions. So in the desire arena we are looking at what we actually want to feel in the relationship and what thought and experience will make us feel that way. And they are completely about the emotion. For example, you could say: I desire to travel to Japan because I want to feel adventurous, excited, worldly, etc. That gives you a great starting pad. And now you run into the problem that your partner might not be able to take time off to go to Japan and you don’t want to go alone. Bummer. However, are their other things you can do to feel these things? Go to Mexico instead of Japan? Hike to feel adventurous, rock climb for the excitement, go to a travel meetup to learn about the world?
I suggest looking at this and create your own relationship recipe. You might be surprised what cake you actually want to bake.
Now this is a nasty one. Preferences are the things that get in the way of us having what we want because there is an attachment to something in our mind. Preferences are often value seeking mechanisms. When we want to be seen in a certain way by others or even ourselves, then there is usually preference at work. And it can get really convoluted: We might use preferences to improve what we think another person will think about us. WoW! That’s some serious mental Chess-Kung-Fu right there. Preferences are also used to control or manipulate. And often enough preferences are, at least partially, unconscious.
Let’s look at some obvious and less obvious ones. An obvious one that I hear often from men is that they want their partner to be physically attractive – to increase the status they have among other men. That’s preference. I want my partners to be smart. Because I want to have a conversation with them where I learn. (That’s a need for me.) But there is also preference in that because I want to take them to meet friends (that are smart) and I want them to think of me as ‘the guy with the smart girl’. Yep, that is a preference. And knowing it, I can let go of it. Because that is my own work to do.
Preferences can come in all kinds of ways: Physical appearance (including things like height, size, eye or hair color), age, smarts, dialects or slang, health status, possessions, and a gazillion other things. And because they can be unconscious or be disguised as needs or wants, they are often hard to pin down.
Getting rid of them isn’t a necessity either. While they might get in the way they usually don’t harm anybody (but yourself). So if you are okay with them, keep them. If, however, you feel they aren’t in alignment with who you are, then they might push you out of integrity. And then it becomes time to nail ‘em down and throw ‘em out.
This post has again gotten way longer than anticipated. I promise, there will be a day where I manage to write posts between 600 and 800 words consistently. Stay tuned for that. Also stay tuned for the 3rd article on dating where I will talk a little bit more about the logistics of dating, you in the eyes of your date and attractiveness.