Have you ever come across a person without any ideals or dreams? I highly doubt it. We all have some sort of perfect example worthy of imitation or something that we dream of, whether feasible or not. Yet, is there a difference between these two?
An ideal is an idea of a perfect or complete state of something, an individual touchstone if you wish. We may often have plenty of different ideals regarding personal characteristics or abilities, but only just a few dreams. An ideal is feasible – it’s possible and it’s achievable. It exists. It is an example of a subjective sense of perfection. Yet it is very often imposed on us by mass culture.
A dream, on the other hand, is something that has a very high chance of never materialising. It is the most desirable of countless possibilities, while our ideals (and there might be a multitude of those) are merely examples of great possibilities. We may choose among many ideals, but we usually only have one dream in a particular aspect of our life. We only have one dream partner, one dream habitat, one dream job, but many possible ideal persons, houses and jobs may exist around us. They might not belong to us, but they exist. We do not have to imagine them. Very often, we do not possess them, but we will always make a mental note – yes, I would like one of those.
A dream is something far less tangible. It is very likely to never materialise, because a dream is what our mind sometimes produces of its own accord, without the direct mass culture standards applied to it and very often even despite them! This means that even if you fully realise that there is something ideal for particular circumstances and you would also get a lot of support from your peers if you achieve that specific ideal, you heart might not truly long for this ideal.
You’ll have a dream of its own, that few might even understand. Nonetheless, it is your dream.
Why do we invest so much time and energy in imitating the ideals that were imposed on us by someone else? Say, if no one ever told you that 90-60-90 were the perfect measurements of a female body as described by the public media, what kind of body would you personally find attractive?
Ideals in the general materialistic sense of the word do not concern just our looks. They might be the perfect images of families, work environments, relationships and more. While chasing these ideals, we so often forget what it was that we wanted to dream of in the first place before we got influenced by a multitude of movies, billboards and magazines. Then it all boils down to a general rule to being an ideal – to be of a conformist nature, as accepted by the majority. After all, ideals are merely ideas that are most likely put into our mind by someone else. Otherwise, how would we know what is perfect if no one ever told us so?
All ideals apart, when was the last time you followed your dream, no matter how non-conformist, irrational, impractical or generally frowned upon it may be? Is the longing for public acceptance stopping you from doing what you want to do, looking the way you want to look, loving who you want to love?
Perhaps it’s time we stop treating someone else’s ideas as our own and let our imagination loose. After all, there’s nothing worse than being accepted by everyone else in the world except for yourself.