“Wishful thinkers” always get a bad rap, and idealism is so often considered to be an Achilles’ heel that we overlook all of the ways it’s actually a profound strength. Sure, nobody’s denying that ungrounded, whimsical ideology isn’t effective, but it does serve a purpose. To illustrate, here are all the strengths (even occasionally) idealistic people have over everyone else:
1. They seek the best in others. Because they immediately see the humanity in everyone, they are able to love others unconditionally. They are more forgiving, accepting and open-minded.
2. They are constantly working on themselves. They see themselves as the people they hope to become, and everything else is simply a product of the work-in-progress.
3. Their perpetual disappointment with less-than-perfect outcomes leads them to find a sense of inner control. The downside of being an idealist is feeling as though dreams are often dashed – yet this usually leads to discerning what is and isn’t within your control.
4. They’re the most effective problem solvers. They are able to imagine an outcome that is better than anything otherwise conceived of. That doesn’t mean it’s always practical, but the ability to even fathom it is the first step to making it possible.
5. They are the most romantic people alive. Romance is all about seeing an imperfect person perfectly, so to say, and idealists who channel that perspective often have happier relationships.
6. They see the world as it is and still hope for the best, which is nothing short of a gift. They don’t become jaded by all of the horror that exists, they see it mostly as a pathway to deeper compassion and understanding. They recognize that to see how far we are from an ideal is to also know there is an ideal to aspire to.
7. They are the only people who actually have a chance of living out their dreams. Anybody can work hard. Not everybody has the ability to imagine what they want to work toward, or to believe in it enough that they won’t give up.
8. They don’t lose hope. It doesn’t mean life doesn’t try to knock it out of them now and again, it just means they persevere regardless. Their baseline is hopefulness, and it’s that attitude that gets them through the worst, and moves them forward to the best.