What would you consider more courageous, to adapt to your world or to set your own goals and do everything you can to reach them? Could you do it even if those around didn’t believe on you? This are more philosophical than a psychological questions and yet they serve to intuitively know a great truth: there are many ways to relate to our goals.
In this article we will see what are the habits and personality traits of those who put their visions and principles above anything else; those who are otherwise called “Idealistic”. Idealistic people are not always easy to recognize, specially in a world hell bent on mass producing obedient and dependent personalities. Our society and our own educational system does not encourage individual personality/character, instead it promotes a defeated attitude so we may not recognize our own power and exercise it. The majority of people look at the issues within our society and although frustrated, will tend to simply dismiss the dilemma of what to do next because they have been taught one person cannot make a difference.
Idealistic people are often considered misfits, troublemakers, weirdos, eccentric; among other adjectives commonly used. More often than not idealistic people are empathetic and battle with periods of depression; regardless they keep moving forward trying to make a difference in this world. Here are some of the traits idealistic people have in common:
THEY KNOW THEIR ETHICAL PRINCIPLES BETTER.- The vast majority of human beings have a moral code but not everyone knows it well. It is possible for part of our scale of values to only be revealed when we have to make a difficult decision; up to that moment that part of our identity tends to remain hidden.
We have all met people whose code of values is ever changing according to what is most convenient for them; I am not talking about evolvement of self–we all change overtime, as none us remain the same person we were even a year ago; for better or worst life is ever changing us. We all have the ability to understand and determine right from wrong, there are some things which remain as part of our code throughout life; the problem arises when we choose to dismiss our own convictions in an attempt to take advantage of something/someone, get sympathy, avoid conflict, etc.
Idealistic people tend to know better the ethical code by which they are guided. Idealistic people more often than not have experienced difficult lives which resulted in time devoted exclusively to establish their moral and practical values in life. They are more clear about what they want to achieve, although they do not have to know how they are going to achieve it.
IDEALISTIC PEOPLE WANT TO CHANGE SOCIETY.- Usually idealistic people are not limited to personal wants only, they tend to be considerate and their goals involve many more people or even the entire planet. This is why initiatives and projects trying to make a difference in others’ lives or within our environment, are considered very important to them. An idealistic person fully understands change starts at home, so although their desire is to help others is strong, they first focus on those closest to them… “Charity starts at home”.
THEY INVEST THEIR ALL ON THEIR PASSION.- By being relatively clear about what they want and what they do not want, idealists can afford to set goals which are by some considered ambitious and by others impossible. Idealistic people often have an extensive desire to do something meaningful and because they believe in it so intensely they do not have to struggle for something they do not really believe in. It is their deep belief in the saying “If I can change one life/one thing for the better…” which propels them forward, so although their progress towards their goals may be slow and challenging, they are not willing to quit.
THEY TEACH THROUGH EXAMPLE.- For idealistic people, the important thing is what is done more than what is said. That is why they do not limit themselves to simply defending their ideas about the type of society they would like to build, but also contribute to society through their actions. This means they act in a way which tries to conform to what you would expect from someone who is pursuing a clear goal.
THEY BELIEVE MORE IN LEGITIMACY THAN IN BEING LIKED.– As we have seen, idealistic people act as “ambassadors” of ideas and “essences”. This is why they will defend their actions regardless of any negative consequences these may cause. Idealistic people will not shy away from exposing their own mistakes in an effort to be transparent; this behavior many times will cause them to be judged erroneously and harshly. However, due to their deep belief in their goals, they tend to continue exposing themselves as they are.
THEY TRY TO APPLY THEIR IDEAS TO THE WORLD WITHOUT LETTING THE WORLD DEFEAT THEM.– They try to raise awareness about the imperfect reality which surrounds us all and the imperfections within our selves. For example, they will try to apply the principle of truth even in some situations in which telling the truth clearly does not benefit anyone, including themselves.
THEY HAVE SELF IMPOSED NORMS.– As they cling to their goals, they must create standards for several possible situations that can happen on a day-to-day basis. This means their repertoire of norms is quite varied and wide. This has positive consequences, such as the absence of opportunism; as well as negative ones, such as the risk of falling into dogmas and lack of strategic vision–Hence idealistic people really need to keep themselves in check.
INSPIRATION FOLLOWS THEM.- Idealistic people tend to find references on which to base themselves, since they exemplify the defense of certain values so it is easy to identify with them. They find inspiration everywhere; mostly their inspiration comes from within. People will either identify with them or reject them; it all comes down to each person’s inner development and how much one is willing to face self.
THEY WANT TO LEAVE A LEGACY.- For idealistic people their own life is a project oriented to leave a positive impact on the world. This is accomplished thanks to the defense of their ideals. That is why they like the idea of leaving a legacy which others can enjoy and which incidentally helps them feel they are transcending spiritually, in a way that is non religious.
We have erroneously learned idealistic people are dreamers; however, this isn’t accurate as they tend to back their goals with actions. Although it may take them a while, once they have managed to discover their gift and see its positive impact, they don’t let go.
At times it is sad to see our society try to hurt idealists because they are different than the norm. At the same time it is a pleasure to see more and more people awakening, realizing this world is and can be a beautiful place in a way that is REAL. Our imperfections and our mistakes bring wisdom with them; it is best to stand for something and be disliked for it than to be accepted and liked for whom one is not.
It is beautiful to see more and more people understand the real power within them, exposing themselves with all their quirks, faults, imperfections; learning from them, accepting, embracing them. In those wounds and imperfections, in our darkness, pain and demons lies life’s gift to us which is our real power. It is our responsibility and our right to accept that power and put it to use no matter what others may think or say.
Idealists have always been the ones who changed the world; sadly no matter how much idealists have given us– in small and big ways– they have been the ones rejected the most. Regardless, life’s gift to an idealist is strength; the strength to submerge one self in one’s dream because doing anything else is not an option.
As Charles Bukowski said “Find your gift and let it kill you”, a less dark way of saying it would be…find your gift and let it take over, let it guide you. It will transform your life, it will save you, it will reinvent you, it will help you find your essence…it will set your spirit free!