the practice of forming or pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically.“the idealism of youth”
PHILOSOPHYany of various systems of thought in which the objects of knowledge are held to be in some way dependent on the activity of mind.
Ideally, we would be able to master any skill or talent we so choose and then go forth to create a life where we can use those talents and skills to create a fulfilling and meaningful life. However, the reality of this life rarely plays out that way, and when it does, one becomes a famous pseudo-hero for achieving the impossible. This is due to the dichotomy of idealism and realism manifesting in life’s happenings. Idealists tend to go for their dreams and persevere no matter what; however, most, but not all, of those successful idealists have some sort of boost to help them a long the way. They come from rich and powerful families or just so happen to have the right look that appealed to someone with power. Others who achieve the dream come form harsh backgrounds, from poverty to authoritarian governments, and they played the dirty game in order to get ahead and never have to go back to where they came from. It seems that there is a real benefit to being an idealist; however, there is just as much benefit to being a realist. The realist understands the corruption of the world or the disadvantageous position he or she is in. The realist is cognizant of life’s trials and tribulations and prepares for the inevitable downfall. So which is the better outlook on life? Which view holds the most value and yields the most results? Both, combined together, are most likely to yield results and help one maintain some sense of sanity.
Dealing with disappointment
Life is full of disappointments. From failed relationships to job layoffs or business failures, everyone experiences some form of failure in life. This is where realism is beneficial. Being realistic allows one to be aware to the possibility that one will fail. This keeps one on an even keel, so that hopes don’t get too high, which then leads to the pendulum swinging to the end of deep depression when things don’t go as planned. For example, in success circles, entrepreneurs are well known for saying, “You have to fail in order to succeed!” Many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t readily digest the wisdom in that statement, as they are only focused on the ideal lifestyle they want to have or the grandeur of being a successful businessperson. Yet, starting your own business is wrought with failures, from learning the best way to pitch your product from being told, “no” a million times to learning the best way to balance your budget by taking out loans and making expensive investments in order to keep up with explosive growth.
Another example is in dealing with relationships and knowing beforehand that there will be disagreements. From friendships to marriages, everyone has the ideal relationship in mind; however, life rarely plays out the way we imagined. Friends drift apart, relationships die, and marriages end in divorces. How about parenting? Everyone has the image of what their perfect parenting will look like, and then they have children. Everything changes once things get real. We often let ourselves down, and with the inner disappointment — and sometimes outer — we find ourselves disappointing others.
One way to positively spin reality is to realize and accept that all things are temporary. From jobs to personal relationships, everything has its season. One can read Ecclesiastes 3 of the Holy Bible to experience how scripture addresses and acknowledges the temporal reality of this life and all that takes place within it. According to The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, everything in the universe is a series of marriages and divorces, from the movements of protons and electrons in atoms to personal relationships and life experiences. Everything is temporary; nothing is permanent — even our idealistic dreams and harsh realities.
Being positive or being negative
Most times people view being realistic as being negative. I believe this is simply a naive and futile way to attempt to escape the harsh realities of life. We all encounter unpleasant experiences, there is no doubting that, but does that mean we should delude ourselves with unrealistic expectations? Not in the slightest! How many times have you told yourself something was going to be an ideal version that you desired, just to experience the opposite of said ideal and then be sent into an existential crisis? How many times have you gotten your hopes up and been let down drastically? Remaining realistic means that you are able to hope for the best while being aware of the worst. I emphasize “being aware” of the worst because expecting the worst is a strong thought vibration that usually brings the worst into manifestation; however, being aware of what could happen allows the mind to be less surprised when the opposite of our desires comes to pass. Being idealistic can be dangerously delusional. Realistic — not fatalistic –thoughts can help balance that out, allowing us to have better control over our emotions.
What it all means
Idealism often manifests itself as gross naiveté. Realism often manifests with life experience. However the combination of the two, in perfect balance, only manifests with the gaining of wisdom and discipline. It takes a tempered mind and a strong soul to be able to see the good in all things, including and especially unhappy endings. The ability to understand the reality of temporal life is a mental skill that only comes with maturity. However, in America especially, maturity is lacking, and there is an abundance of naive idealistic minds seeking personal satisfaction. Unfortunately, those same souls find great depression in the moments of defeat and disappointment by the reality of life taking a turn for the worse — or what is perceived as worse.
Let us all take time to meditate on the scriptures and teachings that help us understand that the temporal world is temporary. Let us gain better understanding of the fact that all things in this life are transient. Let us find peace in endings and new beginnings. Let us find wisdom in our minds and hearts that guide us on this path of illumination, taking us back to the everlasting Light of the cosmos and beyond.
So Mote It Be!