A friend of mine once asked me what kind of person I was, how I’d describe myself. The phrase that popped into my head was “idealistic realist”. It seemed odd yet natural to combine those two together, considering that they’re usually at opposite ends of the spectrum.
I say I’m an idealistic realist because while I automatically expect the best of people and always give them the benefit of the doubt, I’m aware that not everyone chooses to be good all the time. Human beings act out their choices, and those choices will not always coincide with mine. I used to torture myself thinking about it, ask questions like “But why would he be so cruel or inconsiderate?” “How could she possibly do such a thing?” These days though, I don’t bother anymore. Why? Because regardless of how I feel, whatever I may say or do, other people will follow the paths they choose. My values/ideals differ from theirs, so of course our lifestyles can’t very well be similar. Or can they?
Ideally, the world would be a perfect place. We would all look out for each other and exist in harmony, safe in the knowledge that everyone has his/her neighbour’s best interests at heart and so would do nothing to jeopardise the delicate balance of perfection.
Reality, though, is a different story. You look out for you, I look out for me, and we all get ahead the best way we see fit. To do otherwise is to risk criticism, being used, abuse, neglect. To actually live your life trying to adhere to your ideals can go one of two ways: you’re either admired or mocked. Whichever way it is, people still try to take advantage of you whenever possible. Goodwill seems restricted to certain circles: a family unit, a group of friends, a particular network. We’re only prepared to be good to others if they in turn can be good to us. That’s not right. It shouldn’t be that way. You can give without expecting an exchange.
I don’t know, though. I don’t know how well I’m getting my point across, if I’m actually making a point or just rambling. I just think that life could be so much simpler than it is. I think that interpersonal interactions shouldn’t be ruled by power plays and mind games. I think it’s sad that as we grow older, we lose the innocence and idealism of youth because the world forces us to do so. We become jaded, and the lines between right and wrong blur. We’re introduced to the “grey” areas that exist between black and white, and we find that in the real world, there is no place for starry-eyed ideals. I wish it could be different. But hey, that’s just me.