Meaning of Longing


Before entering fully into the establishment of the meaning of the term longing, let us proceed to determine its etymological origin. In this case, we can say that it is a word that derives from Latin, specifically, from the verb “anhelare”, which can be translated as “breathe with difficulty”.

A longing is something that is intensely desired. It is about what you intend to enjoy. For example: “My desire is to finish my degree next year and then take a trip”, “You cannot live without yearning: you need a goal that justifies your efforts”, “Having your own home is everyone’s desire”.

The longing can be directed to material or symbolic questions. A home, a car, certain clothes or a mobile (cell) phone are some of the most frequent longings. People who have these longings strive to raise the necessary money and purchase these products that they believe will bring them satisfaction.

Living certain experiences is also a desire of many individuals. Spending the holidays in a heavenly place, obtaining an academic degree and growing professionally are among the most common wishes.

The deepest or most intense longings, however, are usually associated with the affective. For parents, the main desire is that their children grow up healthy and happy. A loving couple can long to spend life together.

In the same way, we cannot ignore the fact that, on some occasions and depending on the type of desire it is, it is easier to achieve or less. So, for example, when we are talking about yearning for something material, it is likely that it can be achieved, because, after all, it is getting money to be able to buy it.

However, when you long for feelings or something immaterial it is difficult to achieve them. And it is that longing, for example, to have a partner and live a love “in a movie” does not depend only on yourself but on many factors.

A human being begins to yearn for something when he believes that once he achieves what he yearns for, he will experience great satisfaction. What is desired, in this way, is not had, at least in the present. For this reason, efforts are directed towards achieving this. Once the longing is fulfilled, it becomes an achievement. The person who yearned to buy a house and succeeds in doing so will feel enormous joy and that goal will cease to be a longing.

Many are the artists who have used the word in question to give their different works a title. An example of this is the Canadian novelist, poet and singer Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016). And it is that in 2006 he published a collection of poems under the title “Book of longing”. In it he came to collect a series of poems that he wrote for two decades. In them he addresses from his fears and longings to his doubts or his ideas about issues such as youth, old age, love, passion…