The 5 Stages of Coveting

I have always wanted nothing less than the world. I know, very greedy, selfish, and “millennial” of me. I have a deep desire to be successful, to be known, to see things, and to experience everything. How typical, right? I have always been able to value that over things. However, I have found that the more broke I become the more I want things. I don’t know if there it is because I suddenly can’t afford the things I used to be able to, or if I just want things because I can’t have them. This has got me thinking about the state of wanting. We have come to accept fairly easily that we all want for something. Rarely do you meet anyone anymore who wants for nothing, it’s the way our society has raised us to be.

Those of you who are familiar with the 10 Commandments know all too well that “thou shalt not covet” rounds out that list of things we are not supposed to do. If you are not guilty of coveting something at some point in your life I commend you, because I believe that we all want something in this world. Whether what you want is a love you can’t have, or a beautiful pair of shoes with cherry red soles the desire for what you cannot have feels the same.

Five stages of coveting:

  1. Discovery
    • In the first stage of coveting we go through the initial stages of discovery. This, as per it’s name, is when we first come to the realization that which we are about to covet. Whether or not we are actively seeking “it” once the realization happens, and attachments form we move on to stage two. This first stage can be brief, as it can only take a moment for someone to pass from realization to infatuation, but it can also been a long drawn out process in which you may have found that which would be your future desire
  2. Infatuation
    • After the discovery stage we enter into infatuation. This is when the tantalizing mental love affair begins. You have found the object of your desire, and you feel like it is within your reach. You may experience episodes of fantasizing and giddiness when thinking about “it” during this stage.
  3. Obsession
    • This stage is when you have left the phase of mere infatuation and you have entered into obsessive. It feels like your object of desire has passed beyond a mere want, you need it. It’s no longer a question of if and when, but rather an almost carnal desire to have it right this second. Once you have entered this stage you must be very careful as you may be experience momentary brain psychosis that could involve you sending that message that no one should ever read, or punching in those numbers racking up dollars on your Visa.
  4. Depression
    • Once the obsession has passed the point of rabidity you will enter into the next stage: depression. This is illustrated by the feeling of loss or hopelessness that comes with the inability to obtain your object of desire. You might feel like it’s lost to you, that it is better off without you, that you are not worth living without it.
  5. Acceptance
    • This is the final stage, in which you embrace the reality of not being able to obtain the object of your desire and being able to move on from it.

It is imperative to remember that there is indeed a stark difference between that which we are coveting out of want, and that which we covet out of need. While we may think we want something with all of our being, the difference between want and need is still present. What we need is ingrained into us, whether we want it or not. The necessity of water and air, for example, are things we do not necessarily desire, yet we need them to survive. Though I have likened coveting of all different things through the same light, and it is important to acknowledge that this may not be entirely accurate. When you need or love something the last stage may be one that you should forgo. If what you’re coveting is a Prada backpack then it might be love, but if it’s a pair of Sketchers it’s just want.


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