How to Be an Idealist

Anyone could have some strongly held ideals, without being an idealist all the time. Ideals are not just rules to be broken. The idealist almost all of the time has strong beliefs or character even if not expressed and probably lives by holding definite ways, perhaps some like absolutes, laws. "One could be willing to fight and die for important ideals". Such a person would neither like to, nor often easily, compromise strong political or religious beliefs, morals, laws, etc. If most beliefs are not definite and persistent, then the person is not an idealist as meant here.

Agreeing with the idealistic person's ideals could bring calm and happy agreement -- but opposite answers may bring some level of diplomatic persuasion, discussion or even real disagreement whether that disagreement is expressed or not.

Compare to the "opportunist" who may say or do anything for personal gain, i.e.: like "winning at all costs" to seek a perceived advantage with "the outcome justifies the means". That is not even close to ideal.

The habitual "optimist" is hopeful and usually looking on the bright side, but idealism is not necessarily positive at all. Sometimes the idealist may see no hope in accepting the other side's demands or purposes, and then that idealism may become "fatalistic" -- like fighting or going to war -- but "consistent to certain strongly held ideals". Here are some ways to be an idealist.


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    Believe in some form of definite way of doing or understanding things. Determine your personal standards of accuracy and consider whether they are rather absolute. This can help assemble your strong concepts and idealized feelings as clearly as possible.
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    Be dependable in your efforts to reach your goals on your principles.
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    Avoid depending upon doing or accepting favors like buying a resistant opponents help. In the long run you can not depend on such persons.
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    Try not to compromise your ideals with opponents who will not accept your strong belief. Do not trade your real beliefs lightly (Do not give up your ideals/idealism.) to get concessions.
    • Do not accept views that you find to be wrong and therefore probably unacceptable, and so do not "give something important to get things that are less important."
      • In politics, for example to get, or to attempt to get, what you want by "any means" possible is not acceptable, as that implies lack of honest principles.
    • Do not accept the middle of the road compromise, which is an incorrect way -- but instead maintain your definite principles and morals without hypocrisy.
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    Be well-mannered, patient and sensitive to other people's feelings and opinions/beliefs: Saying, "You have a right to your own opinion." will often lower the harshness of the argument of the two sides.
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    Avoid wasting time arguing with people of strong opposite views.
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    Defend your beliefs especially if they are absolutes, i.e.: possibly this involves religious absolutes or political principles.
    • The other side may try to wear you down, such as trying to get you to give up and quit trying.
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    Be very persistent in presenting your "facts" without becoming angry and upset.
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    Be fair and balanced by treating everybody the same: and as much as possible accept individual differences of opinion and belief.
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    Realize that you may be enough of an idealist to see the opposite view as not worth much consideration, and though that seems harsh, you as an idealist will probably be quite persistent, not wishy-washy.
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    Be kind and loving, when you must disagree, though you may feel that agreeing is not at all "practical" in your understanding of the facts.
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    Refine your efforts and come back to try again on another day, if necessary.


  • Understand that it takes strength and may be difficult, but it is well worth living your convictions.
  • If your opponent is a not an idealist, then you are likely up against someone who insists upon what they call "practical considerations", but you will not give in just "to get something done."


  • To the pragmatic/practical person you, the idealist, are "impractical". Such people may rudely call you an ideologue, ignorant or childish because they have no absolutes, and probably cannot understand your views.
  • Do not be flexible or adaptable to the broad view, but maintain your narrower view based on truth, and absolutes.
  • Some people will seem to use propaganda techniques like saying that "morals have no place in politics..." -- i.e.: you may hear that: "You cannot legislate morals." Some may say "there are no absolutes, no normal, no right or wrong...", but consider whether legislation in a representative democracy generally requires the loser to have the "morality of accepting majority decisions" (like: 50.1% wins), and so the losing side (49.9% or such) accepts the other side's winning without a rebellion or violence; that is based on a strong morality to never stop trying for your ideals.

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Categories: Faith and Belief