If you’re an idealist, you feel more than you can sometimes handle, all at once, filling you up so full you might burst at the world’s beauty, at how grateful you are to be this small, insignificant thing in this big world where everything is moving so fast. You’re alive in a way that many don’t make themselves aware enough to be, that those who go through their days complaining about the most trivial of things won’t think to be.
If you’re an idealist – if you feel everything so strongly – you care strongly. Your whole world hinges on an edge where you wonder how it could be possible to love this much, to love this hard, to be so very there, to always be entirely in.
If you’re an idealist, you look for possibility everywhere. You choose optimism during those times when your pesky default tells you to be annoyed or impatient or downright angry. You work to turn the most bothersome, most mundane of situations into something positive, always sifting for silver linings, always searching for the magic.
If you’re an idealist, you’re open, seeing vulnerability as the truest and most liberating of risks, the only way to authenticity, to genuine joy. You want only to live by kindness and compassion, to push fear aside and leap into the most terrifying of unknowns.
But if you’re an idealist – if you feel too much; if you care so strongly; if you urge for optimism; if you make yourself open – there is something else that lives inside of you, that is built into your being.
I don’t know that it’s coincidence that idealists tend to have some of the highest suicide rates. Because on the other side of idealism is something dark and battered and broken. Perhaps the idealist learned to choose optimism because boundless cynicism, eternal disappointment, painful heartbreak and a supreme emptiness are the defaults that constantly claw at the corners of their brain. Perhaps the idealist learned to feel a jarringly euphoric sense of love and compassion because the idealist has understood the most haunting kind of isolation. Perhaps the idealist works so hard to see life as beautiful because the idealist knows life to be a cry in a freefall.
And it’s for that reason that, more so than others, the idealist must work at creating a sense of resilience. Because the idealist is constantly two different people, paradoxical and yet existing alongside each other, only one able to live. And when the idealist experiences pain – the kind that throws them, that turns their world over like a top – they will become one of these two people.
Without resilience, the idealist will fall into seeing life as fractured, seeing themselves as alone, saying that this was the last straw, believing that things only get harder and harder, that to be kicked around time after time means they should give up completely. Without resilience, the idealist will get very close to the edge.
But if the idealist can cultivate resilience, the person inside them that’ll live will be the one who feels love and joy and gratitude and compassion and openness, that works through pain with an awareness that this sensation is temporary and beautiful in its own right. The one that finds the silver lining, that recognizes the opportunity in their hands to be better, to do better, to move more consciously through the day. The one that graciously collects the lesson laid at their feet and moves forward with an open heart rather than writing off vulnerability and numbing and shutting themselves down.
For the idealist who can cultivate resilience, they’ll walk around with a secret, their mouth curled up just slightly in a forever smile, their eyes alive in a way that makes people want to know what the hell it is they’re thinking about. For the idealist who can cultivate resilience, happiness will always trump darkness.