Why We Want What We Can't Have | Teen Ink

Why We Want What We Can't Have

May 24, 2021
By KlodinN SILVER, Tirana, Other
KlodinN SILVER, Tirana, Other
9 articles 1 photo 0 comments

“Mom I want that LOL doll Eloise has,” I overheard a young pretty blonde girl, looking around the age of six, talking to her Mom. I was with my mom and brother at the toy shop that day. My brother is seven and he wanted to buy the Star Wars limited edition Monopoly he had seen at his friend’s house. That came with four different Star Wars figures, all the main characters in a very fun form. I noticed how on both cases the young kids wanted to buy what their friends had. Then I started remembering how when I was little, it would always be more fun playing with others’ toys rather than my own. I always wanted what I didn’t have. Going into deeper thoughts, that phrase applies to so many more things and in all ages. Just like that expression says, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  Us as humans, we always want what we can’t or don’t have. People base their pleasure on comparison and want things that are scarce and rare, and the scarcer and rarer they become, the more people want them.  

People usually get pleasure from sources such as love, money, power and success. But why it is that? Is it because we are egocentric? Is it because we live in a materialistic society which is becoming more and more materialistic? The bottom line of all of that is our persisting endeavors in the pursuit of happiness. In this society that we live, the expectation is that having more makes us happier. Life seems like a constant competition, and we base everything on pleasure. When we see another person with bigger amounts of the things we have, we instantly want that, and feel like we need that, having more than the other person.   

Furthermore, the scarcer we perceive something to be, the more we desire it. To make choices, the brain utilizes heuristics, also known as shortcuts. The brains’ ability to validate something's worth based on how uncommon it is, is one of these shortcuts. Twinkies are a spongy cake, which could be found in convenient stores. In 2012, the company who owned Twinkies went bankrupt and shut down its factories for a period of time. Then Twinkies surely became much more limited and its price for auctions on eBay went up to 100$. Companies always want to sell more and more of their products. However sometimes, limiting the number of products you put out there, can result in selling more. When you create a sense of scarcity to your audience, one that infers those products will be gone if you wait. When introducing a new product to the market, instead of spreading the message and wanting to please every potential customer, try limiting access instead. You may gain more interest, and more of those important early sales, then from just following through with the traditional methods. 

The more we focus on wanting the rare and special materialistic things, the less we appreciate what we have. Sometimes we should just be happy and glad of what we already have, have gratitude and be grateful towards it. Being with our loved ones, with our family and friends is what makes us truly happy. It fills us up with emotions, feelings and colors up our lives. Spending time with them and creating memories are the things that fill our hearts. As we are social human beings, we want to share our joy with others. Happiness starts within us and then we give it to the people we love. Seeing them happy makes us happy too.  

There is a positive side to the idea of always wanting more, what we don’t and can’t have. Achieving for more, having big dreams and goals is what pushes us through in life by giving us a meaning and motivation. Through wanting to figure out what we don’t know, scientists have made many discoveries in all sorts of fields. Through wanting things we didn’t have, inventors have created new machineries and inventions that have helped us massively on our daily lives.   
As a result, wanting what we can’t have can be a major source of unhappiness on our lives. If we constantly want what we don’t' have, and at a point we don’t reach that, our lives are full of desperation and negativity. While we should strive for more, it’s important we find that balance of being grateful and happy with what we already have, but also wanting to achieve more, since that’s what keeps us active in life. True happiness doesn’t come from materialistic things, but from feelings and emotions that we get from memories and good times spent with the people we love. And always remember, choose to be happy.  

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