Reflect on this question for a second: What do you need in your life? You are probably thinking: I need good friends, family and basic amenities.
You probably aren't thinking about all the other things you NEED in your day: your phone, one or more social media applications, a TV, coffee (I can relate), that leather handbag you had your eye on for a while. But think about if you actually NEED that.
We tend to use the word "need" to justify a purchase that might not have otherwise been necessary. I am not saying it is not okay to have things that make you happy, but I think it is important to keep in mind how much you actually need something.
I was recently reading an article called lowering your life's requirements from the website mnmlist by Leo Babauta, and it made me realize how much weight our life's requirements carry. He goes on to say:
When something becomes a need, a requirement, it locks us in. We have to have it, which means we start structuring our lives around it.
Coincidentally enough, I just had a conversation with a coworker while writing this post (yes, I am writing this at work) and we spoke about how much clutter people keep in their lives, let alone on their desks. He asked "How much do people really need?"
The truth is, we don't need very much in our lives. We need food, water, shelter, and some type of human connection. The rest are just wants. We don't need wifi, we don't need frappucinos, we don't need overpriced clothing or cars.
This is not to say that we should denounce all of the things that bring us joy in our lives. However, the weight of these little joys over time could have heavy consequences. We start to grow attached to them and we start depending on them as a crutch. We become a society that is in the pursuit of more.
However, if we decide to live with even a little less, we can realize that our lives become richer. We start focusing more on the things and people in front of us that we do have, instead of focusing on what we don't. When we lower our life requirements, we inevitably become more grateful for the world around us and we can even start using what have in more creative ways.
I would not say I am the biggest minimalist in the world, and I am guilty of "needing" my one coffee a day. However, I know that I could also do without it, and I think that is the lesson we should get from this: Do not let your needs interrupt your life. If you don't get a coffee today, it is okay to have one tomorrow. You may even realize you didn't need it in the first place.
So in the end, we should all be able to indulge every once in a while. However, we must be mindful of these needs and not let them control us and start to crowd our lives. To some degree, they must serve us and we should start to see them as a conscious option, rather than an absolute requirement.