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Relying on Your Personal Ideals for Self-support in Hard Times

Tuesday November 2, 2021

As we hurtle through this combinatoric universe we call “life”, circumstances which add up to daunting personal challenges seem to be a given.

In these events, self-support is really important. I wrote about the SCUBA model before, and let’s just say—if you don’t have the right metaphorical gear, you may not make it through!

You will also become more resilient over time as you apply various tools and systems that are designed to support who you are, and who you can be.

But let’s stick with the big picture: In order to support yourself, it’s important to be able to believe in this “big picture” concept, and to have a set of ideals to believe in.

This may even feel more true, the more you yourself are, and have always been, a natural big-picture thinker—but it’s really true for everybody.

Discovering Your Big-picture Ideals

You may not feel like an idealist, but you probably have some big-picture ideals. Here are some aspects that can help you identify an ideal:

  • Ideals may be described as: Hopes, beliefs, dreams, expectations.
  • Ideals are sets of conditions you want to look forward to seeing in the future.
  • An ideal outcome may not seem probable, but it will at least seem possible.
  • You may not be able to describe all of your ideals, but you can feel them or identify with them when they are brought up.
  • A rewarding feeling is attached to planning for, or expecting, the ideal outcomes.

One way I know my ideals are being supported is when I feel positive emotion. I may also feel more freedom to be creative, or to brainstorm new ideas.

Examples of Ideals

Here are some examples of ideals:

  • I know we can work out our disagreements over time in a productive way, if we can be gentle and respectful.
  • If we try to set a reasonably good example, this will often influence the people around us for the better.
  • Exploring new phenomenon in life and in our universe can be a positive and energy-generating experience.
  • We can work together as a group, team, or gathering and make big, positive changes.
  • If we can reach win-win outcomes more often, we can be happier about the future of our civilization.
  • We can search out, and find, people like ourselves who want to be creative, productive, and open-minded.
  • If I keep learning, I’ll be able to give back to society in generous ways.
  • Sometimes a pause in life can help us explore and rest, and find new creativity.

How to Put Your Ideals to Work for You

If you haven’t already, try to write down some of your own ideals. Keep them in a file, if you can.

Keep a list of media, such as music, paintings, movies, books, and video games, that instantly seem to teleport you into the world of those ideals.

For example, perhaps watching a Star Trek film really helps you feel optimistic about your life again, or a book like Scaramouche reignites your passion for life. Maybe the music of Daði Freyr helps you feel like your desire for creativity and life-exploration is part of a normal evolutionary path that humans often take.

Keeping a list like this can create a very powerful parachute-like resource for you, should you find yourself hurtling toward very hard ground—so to speak.

You may also wish to write down a list of friends, celebrities, or fictional people who bring the same types of ideals to mind.

Then, at the beginning of the next day, or even just the next time life gets tough, try this:

  • Refer to your list of ideals, and the associated media.
  • Directly experience at least some of the media—watch it, read it, play it, etc.
  • If you have a list of people as well, review those people. See if you can metaphorically step into their shoes and experience the current events in your life as they would. What would they say, and do?
  • Ask yourself how you can respect those thoughts, themes, and ideals, and live them, during this difficult time.

Additionally, you can try:

  • Asking if it may help to re-phrase, or change the way you communicate or think about your ideals.
  • Checking in later to reflect on what you’ve learned about living those ideals, including tips for respecting them in the future.
  • If you have the energy: You may wish to try sharing what you’ve learned with others.

How The Results Should Look

As a result of this activity:

  • Your own deeply-held interpretation of the beauty of life, or meaning of life, should feel like it is supporting you directly.
  • You should feel more respect for yourself and your viewpoints.
  • You should feel like you’ve learned more about your ideals.
  • You should feel like you can put your own ideals into effect directly, rather than just waiting for them to show up someday!

You should also feel better about your beneficial role and position in life, and more secure in your ideals.

Congratulations, you are making the world a better place.

Notes On Going the Other Way

Sometimes we can get angry or upset when we feel like our ideals are being disrespected. To a big-picture thinker, it may seem like common sense to live based on a set of high ideals. But not everyone thinks the same way.

You may have found that you reacted to such a disappointment automatically, with negative results. This could be even more true, the more you feel like your ideals are disregarded by society at large.

However, quite a lot of people haven’t been trained or raised to put their ideals first, in the way that big-picture thinkers do. Some have even been raised to equate big-picture thinking with naivete, or gullibility.

If you’re in such a situation, here it can ALSO help to refer to the steps above and put your ideals to work.

You can remain resilient and reinforce a healthy life by continuing to live your ideals, even if you do have to work to improve the way you communicate them.

If you do let your ideals fall through, and you “sink to their level,” please be very careful. This will not be a comfortable way to think for big-picture thinkers. So there may be a tendency to overdo it—to get really nasty or to take revenge for example. It may be important to buy yourself time or distance to think or plan.


I hope this gives you some food for thought regarding ideals. In my opinion they are one of the least-discussed, but most powerful tools we have in supporting ourselves as we build a healthy life.

Above: Foster The People – Sit Next to Me on Youtube

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