3. Distinguish between wants and needs:
Advertising seeks to make our wants appear to be needs. Our needs are actually few: food and water, air, shelter and meaningful relationships. Most things beyond that are wants which we can actually do without.
If we know that we have our actual needs met, and that our wants are actually optional, then we should be able to be more content with what we have–unlike the eager eaters in the picture below: they never have enough, always wanting more.
A sign that we have confused needs with wants is the often-used statement to justify an unwise decision, “I had no choice,” (for instance, “I had to buy a new car because it’s expected of me by my neighbors”). This is rarely true; this is the cry of the victim. It shows I tell myself that I had to do it but actually just wanted to.
This attitude makes us a slave to the opinions of those around us rather than looking at things objectively, biblically.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Ps. 23:1 He will give us what we need.
So reject thinking your wants are needs. Make yourself happy: be thankful your needs are met and be grateful for whatever else you are able to have, rather than being greedy for more and more.
4. Do what you should:
When we avoid responsibility, we may gain temporary happiness, but get long-term unhappiness. The person who does what he should, even though he feels like doing the opposite, is much happier than the person who indulges himself in some momentary pleasure while avoiding a responsibility.
Avoidance of responsibility is often seen in the phrase, “I wasn’t able to get it done,” while actually the truth is, “I chose not to do it.” I remember one student telling me, “I was unable to do my homework.” When I asked why he replied, “I had to go to a football game!”
Do the basics in life: make your bed, clear the table, mow the lawn, wash the dishes and spend time with your children and grandchildren. Such things will make your happier than pursuing your own irresponsible desires.