Wired to Desire

Have you been reading a lot of blogs lately telling you to be happy with what you already have? That wanting more is selfish and flies in the face of the “giving” mindset?

I’ve come across my share of blog posts that seem to be aiming to make me feel like the devil’s spawn for wanting anything materialistic (okay, maybe an over exaggeration but you get my drift 😉 ) .

Now, before I go any further, I have to qualify what I’m saying with this fact: I love minimalism. I love the idea of clearing anything out of my life that doesn’t bring me absolute joy.

Whether this be my own junk that I’ve accumulated over the years, my kids’ toys, or even simplifying my daily routine, I’m into making things easier for myself. However, the more I read about minimalism, the more the guilt piled on my shoulders, weighing me down.

Is this really what minimalism is about? Is it so wrong to want something that I may not necessarily need?

When I first started The Unblogger, I saw blogging as an opportunity to express myself and perhaps help others along my way. The problem is, this blog quickly became a burden in itself.

I felt compelled to provide content for my awesome readers at least 3 times a week, even though my first post clearly states that I planned on writing primarily to suit myself.

I also wrote a post about wanting to quit blogging and set some guidelines for myself–but, in the end, I still felt obligated. I still felt overwhelmed. I was surrounded by virtual, mental clutter.

So, I stopped writing for 6 weeks. I knew this went against everything I’d learned concerning successful blogging, but I needed to take a step back and evaluate the “why’s” of my blogging.

I thought if I stopped writing I’d have time to do the other chores plaguing my mind–the main one being minimizing.

But, the more I thought about minimalism and how I could adapt some of its principles, the more that ever-haunting guilt crept back into my life.

This guilt seeped into every crack and every pore, telling me I wasn’t good enough because I still had a house full of stuff and I still wanted more for myself than I already had.

“Why aren’t you grateful for what you have?” Guilt would ask me.

“You’re right,” I’d answer. “I should be grateful. I have a job that I think most people would agree is a pretty good gig; two beautiful, healthy daughters; and a husband who adores me.”

“But imagine what you could do with more free time!” Selfish Me would nudge. “Imagine what you could do with more money! You wouldn’t have to spend your winters in this God-forsaken cold climate…just imagine your life with more!”

How could I explain to Selfish Me that wanting more is wrong?

I recently came across a blog post by my new idol Marie Forleo that made me wonder if perhaps Selfish Me was onto something. What if I’m actually meant to want more? What if all human beings are wired for desire?

Think about it. What happens as soon as we accept what we have as “it”? Life becomes stale. Boring. And we stop growing as individuals.

I realized after reading Marie’s post that as human beings we’re actually wired to want the best for ourselves and those around us. Because much of the time, achieving more for ourselves helps others as well.

If I had more money, I’d have more money to tithe. If I didn’t get down in the dumps every winter, I’d be a better wife and mother.

If I better myself, aren’t I in turn giving more to the world? I would argue a resounding, “Yes”.

Don’t get me wrong, reading about minimalism has taught me a ton. For example, I now think before I buy. Do I really want (notice I’m not using need) that new shirt or will it just make my closet more cramped and create more laundry? Maybe the answer is yes and maybe it’s no. It’s up to me to decide. Not Guilt.

Minimalism has made me more aware. I look around my house now and wonder what I actually want to keep.

As for my blogging, I want to continue. Eventually I’d like to create a product for my readers that could help them in some way.

I no longer feel guilty for actually wanting to make money from my blogging efforts–someday.

But right now I’m just glad to be back, and happy to admit that I’m “wired to desire”. What about you? Have you ever felt guilty for wanting more out of life? Let me know in the comments below!

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