Idealism and the People Pleaser
May 29, 2007, 5:40 am
Filed under: the purple door

Idealism is a really great trait to have . . . except when it comes time for getting work done. This is one of the things I struggle with. I dream. Sometimes I dream big. Mostly I dream small to medium. But always when I dream, I dream the perfect, idealistic vision kind of dream. In other words, the kind of dream that is usually impossible to fully attain.

In fact, one of the reasons I don’t dream really big more often is that I know from the get go that really big dreams have almost no shot at reality. Politics is a good example – at various times in my life, I’ve followed political goings-on, and thought about getting involved in local/naitonal causes. But I have always been quick to remind myself that many thousands have gone before me with the best of ideals and intentions, and gotten sucked into the corrupt game that politics often is. What makes me think I could outdo all those people?

I’m at a point in life and work where some of my dreams, while still very much in process, are conceivably within reach. But now is when the really hard work of bringing them to fruition is critical. And if I’m not willing to get some serious work done, the dreams just won’t happen. Oh, and now is the time when I need to be willing to set some of that idealism aside. There have been times when fear of not measuring up to the ideal has frozen me into not doing anything. I have to let it be o.k. for the dreams to not be perfect. Knowing that I put my best into something and trusted God and others more has to be o.k., even if it could have been better.

Some people allow failure to be perfect to kill their spirits. Others use the failure to drive their quest for improvement and perfection. Idealism is a tricky thing – which side of failure would I rather call home?

In my present scenario, pursuing the dreams also includes making some decisions that are making life significantly harder on other people. That sucks. It just does. I hate confrontation, and being the bearer of bad news . . . I just want to run away and hide from it. But that’s part of the deal. Personal integrity, respect for others, and most important, love, require that I tell the truth, and let it be o.k. for people to be pissed off at me . . . hopefully only for a little while, but maybe forever. I’m a people pleaser to the extreme, so that’s a tough one, indeed. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve failed to do the right thing, in favor of not upsetting others. The times I’ve held the line have produced what was needed, but have often been miserably stressful. It’s still worth it, though.

Sorry for the lack of direction here, and the lack of specificity in what these “dreams” are . . . I’ll share more in the weeks to come. But sometimes it’s good to take a peek behind the surface, where conflicted feelings (and the dreams themselves) reside.


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