Craving is a dissatisfied state that is attached to the object it wants. It is a state that feels ungrounded and makes one feel incomplete. It is the negative side of the spectrum of wanting. On the opposite side is the want of the heart. This is the way of true fulfillment. Following your heart brings harmony and fulfillment because the heart is the intelligence of harmony and fulfillment. When we experience craving, for example in addiction, it is an invitation to our inevitable downfall. When we follow our heart's want, however, we achieve our true bliss. What is most destructive is when we have such strong craving that we go against our true heart's wishes, denying family and friends, even love for ourselves and our own safety. Craving makes us serve some outside temporary thing, whereas the heart's want allows us to serve the ground of our inner being.
Craving can lead to selfish and destructive behavior, whereas the heart's want can lead to the fulfillment of everybody around you. From craving people can be motivated to steal, and from the heart they can be motivated to give. From craving people may feel motivated to get what they want at the expense of others, and from the heart they can be motivated to sacrifice their own needs to help others. In craving people may feel like they just want what they crave and do it because its easy, even though it may eventually kill them. From the heart they may be motivated to do the right things, even though at first it was harder or they didn't feel like it, and from that their life was saved.
Using meditation and mindfulness is an invaluable tool. Mindfulness allows us to be more present to our experience so we notice when our thoughts go in a direction that does not serve us and we let it go. Meditation strengthens our sense of centeredness, allowing us to feel a complete place in us that is always there, from which we can live our lives more fully and more resilient against craving. Both cultivate a sense of self-discipline, which is invaluable in being able to say no to craving. May you know the difference between craving and the heart's want and learn to choose the path of true fulfillment.