Why Bother About Differences Between Wants, Shoulds, And Needs?

What’s the difference between a pinot grigio and a pinot noir? They’re both wine, right?

Be a Connoisseur of Stressful Thoughts

A connoisseur is one who enjoys something with discrimination and appreciation of the subtleties. You can be a connoisseur of anything: wine, art, jewelry, detective novels, tea, cinema, ice cream, honey, etc.

Why not be a connoisseur of stressful thoughts?

This may sound strange at first. But if you’re familiar with The Work of Byron Katie (4 Questions and Turnarounds), you know that stressful thoughts are the entry points into freedom and peace.

A Stressful Thought Is a Doorway

When you identify a stressful thought and question it using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work, you open the door. And inside is often an amazing world that is both stranger than fiction and yet truer than truth.

Through the doorway of stressful thoughts, the mind can find what it’s really looking for: itself.

So Why Not Become a Connoisseur of these Doorways?

Of course, this is an art. Just as being a connoisseur of wine is an art. The connoisseur never thinks, “All wines are the same.” A connoisseur is fascinated with the subtle distinctions between one vintage and another.

Each one offers something different to the wine connoisseur. And each stressful thought offers something different to the connoisseur of The Work.

Here Are Some Subtle Flavors to Look For

When writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, there is a separate line for writing your “wants” and your “shoulds” and your “needs” in the same situation. At first, this may seem repetitive. But to the connoisseur, this the place to pause and savor the different aromas.

Wants – Line 2 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is where you list your wants. These stressful thoughts have the flavor of being driven by pure emotion. They have a strong body with a sharp nose.

Shoulds – Line 3 is a place to write advice for the person who offended you. This a very subtle flavor, easy to miss. These rarefied stressful thoughts are collected from a dew-kissed image of the offender seen nowhere else in the world but the mind of the victim. These projections of mixed understanding, when harvested with care, can provide deep insight and direction when turned around.

Needs – Line 4 is about looking for what you need to be happy again. These nectarine stressful thoughts hold the key to forgiveness and to unlocking the heart again. The mind believes that the other person holds the key. When you write these thoughts and question them, the spell is broken and the way to happiness opens.

Sure You Can Write the Same Thing on Each Line

Just as you can eat ice cream without noticing anything other than it is cold and sweet.

But if you have a connoisseur’s mind, you may enjoy reveling in the subtle distinctions between the wants, shoulds, and needs. I find that when I do pay attention these subtleties, my work is more satisfying to me, and I’m less likely to have to redo the work I’ve done before.

If you want to become a connoisseur of The Work, you are cordially invited to join us for a nine-week online “stress-tasting” course called The Work 101.

If you catch yourself thinking, "I want_____," write it down… Otherwise… prompt yourself by focusing on exactly how you would improve the situation or person. What would make it perfect for you? Write in the form “I want_____.” Play God and create your perfection…

Thoughts in the form of “So-and-so should or shouldn’t” [are next]. If you are unaware of any “shoulds,” think about what would restore to the situation your sense of justice and order. Write down all the “shoulds” that would make it “right.

"I need" [is] where you can bring the situation back in line with your sense of comfort and security. Write down your requirements for a happy life. Write down the adjustments that would make things be the way they are supposed to be…