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The Idealist

February 22, 2010

My personality type, INFP, is commonly referred to as the Idealist. In an effort to understand what this actually means I have come up with the following post.

Definition  of An Idealist :-  an impractical person: a perfectionist who rejects practical considerations -  somebody with high ideals: somebody who aspires to or abides by high standards or principles

The Impractical / optimistic Idealist

When the idealist seeks perfection, they are seeking what is comfortable and natural for them and that is considered by most people as "idealistic" because:

a) Sometimes those Ideals are impractical and far-fetched

b) What is comfortable for the Idealists is a world tailored to satisfying the needs of their Deeper feeling and higher meanings. The majority of the population wants a world tailored to other needs. What others want is perceived by the idealists differently as the following:

  • Useless Traditions: Formal education, thought control
  • Unappealing goals: Excessive materialism, goal-oriented mind-set, consumerism
  • overwhelming world: over-stimulation, hedonic, thrill-seeking , fast-moving, urban, dazzling, sensory overload
  • Social hypocrisy: social graces, social norms, group-think, mindless sheep, moral corruption

The majority of the population is already living in their "ideal" world except it’s called reality. Idealist are rare and their needs are not shared by the majority. The world of the Idealist, is not comfortable and does not makes sense to most people.

Idealist, when optimistic, have a tendency to be self-righteous. They adhere to high-standards which they don’t expect everyone to understand or follow. The reason is, the Idealist in their own minds are convinced that they are more well-informed and hard-working then the "average" ignorant common person.

Idealist is governed by "Deeper Feelings". they seek rewards that satisfy those "deeper feelings" and  try to avoid anything that disrupts those feelings. Those Deeper Feelings are unique in that they circulate around ideals, principles, higher motives rather than instant pleasure, emotional stimulation or hedonic gratification. Idealist, are not the doers or movers, they are not the ones shaping the present,they are the ones who can imagine a better future.It is that  vivid imagination, that allows Idealists to picture a more favorable situation.

What idealists usually want does not always exist in the current reality and a lot of times is unattainable. Most Idealist eventually realize the huge gap between what they consider rewarding and what is considered by society as useful or commendable and what is practical and achievable. They realize that a lot of their dreams are either unattainable or are considered pointless.

image  Link: The Logical Song by Supertramp

The cynical Idealist / self-destructive Idealist

“Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist” -George Carlin

The first defense mechanism against the realization of the gap between an Idealists dreams and reality is a pessimistic attitude. It doesn’t take very long for most idealist to become cynical . Early on they are labeled as "impractical" and "unreasonable" and are urged to become more logical. To the idealist this means lowering their standards, accepting mediocrity and giving up on their ideals.

Idealists are very hard on themselves. They consider their true-selves to be their masterpiece. They  are constantly evolving  in order to get closer to their ideal self. This can be very difficult to do when their external environment does not allow them to achieve their personal goals. In the pursuit of happiness the Idealists seeks self-actualization, in reality, this is a project that has to be repeatedly postponed in order to pursue more "realistic" goals. In reality, some of the goals that Idealist set out to achieve can even be damaging to themselves and everyone they are involved with.

If an idealist is not allowed to pursue the dream of being their "ideal" self, or if they fail to see the absurdity of some of their pursuits, they tend to self-destruct. Along with the lost sense of wonder, and a victim mentality, mixed with a bit of paranoia, anarchist views possibly some extreme fanatic tendencies, an Idealist has the perfect mind-set to fall for mind-control by others, or can develop very twisted thoughts of their own. Cynicism in Idealist can manifest itself in different forms such as:

  • Low self esteem, poor self image, lack of confidence, feeling unfit or inferior, self- loathing, self-defeating thoughts,
  • Lack of trust of others such as parents, potential partners, peers, the system, the government,
  • Isolation, reclusive tendencies and excessive self-absorption,
  • susceptibility to depression and anxiety
  • Extreme thoughts and behavior, bizarre appearance and weird ideas

The realistic Idealist

The idealist needs to respect the present and fully live each moment. Idealists need to realize that in order to reach future goals they have to take care of themselves today. In order to fulfill higher motives and ideals, like taking care of others in need or fighting for a worthy cause, they must first pay attention to their own needs. In order to truly love others, they must truly love themselves and not judge themselves too harshly.

In order to be truly content idealists need to have a sense of wonder but remain firmly grounded in reality. They need to learn to evaluate themselves and the world more objectively. They need to overcome obstacles and short-comings  without being sensitive and feeling like a failure. They need to develop thick-skin without becoming too harsh and bitter.

Idealists need to lighten up and not take everything in life too seriously. They would benefit from understanding the importance of the "other" needs that others seek, like enjoying simple transient experiences, and being aware of the moment and being completely carried away with the present.

Idealist need to apply themselves in causes and associate with people that allow them to develop their talents. The must allow themselves to feel a sense of deeper meaning but without pushing themselves too hard.

The question is, am I an Idealist or are we living in a mediocre world?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 3:17 pm

    nice blog. you remind of myself sometimes…

    Try this link: http://similarminds.com/jung.html

    It’s a really cool personality test. It will change your world

    Tell me your results, I’m guessing your an INFP …

    zkairos – December 29, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Thank you, sorry I haven’t noticed the comment since I don’t login that much lately ,
    Actually I took this test a while ago and i’m an INTP ( The Thinker) 🙂

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