Make ideals flexible

There is a quip that if you scratch a cynic, you will find a disappointed idealist.

An idealist is someone who aspires towards a better world and someone who aims for perfection and seeks to improve the status quo.

Many of us could be driven by our ideals instead of practical considerations.

Ideals are like stars as you don’t get to reach them but they definitely serve as guides so that you can get closer to your destiny.

An idealist can be a revolutionary too like any of the freedom fighters of a country say India who envisioned an independent country free from colonialism.

Being an idealist is not impractical as long as it gives room for change and reformation of thoughts.

Being rigid about one’s ideals could rather be counter productive.

Non-violence was an ideal that worked within a certain setting and context. But it may not work when a country has to defend itself on the borders during a war. Sometimes you have to retaliate with aggression towards an enemy.

You can’t always show the other cheek to an enemy like Mahatma Gandhi who was a staunch believer of non-violence. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind is applicable in certain situation where conflict can be avoided by being the more humble person. Sometimes aggression is also called for when there is explicit injustice and non-violence would only mean condoning the mistreatment. The law of the jungle works in many cases and though violence need to be the last resort but it can’t be completely overlooked at the cost of inflicting harm on yourself.

Ideals have to be logical too and give space for progressive variations in their approach. Fraternity is an ideal and it is quite easy to practice it considering anyone you meet as a part of your extended family. Sometimes you have to make an effort while other times it comes quite easily to us if we really like someone.

Idealism can be moulded into reality without making it seem like an escapist’s fantasy.

An idea by itself is of no use but for it to become an ideal, it needs willpower. The will to transform an idea into action creates an ideal.

Ideals provide meaning for contemplation and form a pillar of support during trying times that keep you going. You can always keep them as a rebound to bounce back in life when you feel everything is slipping away.

They provide some solace in our otherwise uncertain life.

Ideals light the first fires in our adolescent years that will impel us into the world of action. But later life with its demands, repetitions and disillusionment, would do its work of erasing those ideals. As we grow up we want to integrate those ideals into more practical and realistic systems.

There is no ideal family in this world. There is inherent dysfunction within every family but it aims for a harmonious interaction between all its members. If it weren’t for ideals, we wouldn’t aspire to live better or be better or improve the status quo. Joint family was an ideal in some cultures but as we became more globalised and exposed to different workings of the society and our personal needs changed, nuclear family started gaining predominance as the ideal way of living for modern day couples.

Some try to combine both the joint and nuclear family set-up by maintaining a healthy distance with their in-laws. By not sharing the same living space but yet staying emotionally connected to the elders in the family gives many the moral support they need. In many families, the couple and their in-laws live in proximity yet don’t invade each other’s private space.

The idea is to respect individual choices and personal growth of each member within a family. So whether it is a joint or a nuclear family it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether there is love at the end of the day among the family members. If a joint family is going to lead to contempt for each other, it is not worth it.

At the same time, if a nuclear family is going to make people feel isolated and disconnected from the essence of fundamental love from elders then it is time to keep a balance between the need for personal space and connecting with one’s in-laws.

Everything starts with an ideal then undergoes changes depending on what works and what doesn’t. Ideals cannot impede progress.

That ideal which becomes worn out bears the mark of the fallible within itself. So let us not break our heads when they perish. Let us try to preserve what we know can be a treasure and support for the whole of our life.

Ask yourself everyday how solid your experiences really are and also figure out how to strengthen things that nourish you spiritually.

If an ideal gets lost before the onslaughts of time, then it was more of a mirage that you were clinging onto in the ignorance of a moment. It is just a passing illusion that got shattered when it clashed with disappointment.

Always remember nothing valuable is achieved without effort and no feeling or idea which is valid enough to direct the whole of our path in life can come to us ready-made. There has to be some conquest or struggle in upholding ideals.

Even love is an ideal in the abstract sense. What we practice is our interpretation of it which is usually less than perfect.

Focus on building ideas and thoughts that can remain with you for all of your time perhaps even longer. When you re-encounter those ideals whenever time allows for it to happen, you can begin again and recognise for yourself it is a worthwhile ideal to be cherished.


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