Nearly 20 years ago a friend called me an "Idealist." She meant it as a compliment, but also as a warning. She was trying to deflect me from what she though was a potentially hazardous path. She was right, and fortunately I took heed of her sage wisdom. I confess, I had to look up the word Idealist to really grasp what it was she was accusing me of.
Idealist: A person who is guided more by ideals than by practical considerations (synonyms: visionary, wishful thinker, romantic, dreamer, Don Quixote) example: an idealist believes the best in everyone, regardless of how they behave.
Damn. She was right. Guilty on all charges.
Not only am I an idealist, I am gullible and naive as well. I joke that if you look up the word "gullible" in the dictionary, you will find my picture there. I will believe what you tell me, until you give me reason to think otherwise.
Oddly, these traits have led me down the wrong path on more than a few occasions. I am trusting, to the point of idiocy sometimes. But for all the times these tendencies have left me burned and ragged, I have yet to reach the point of being jaded, or suspicious.
I was once told that life would beat these weaknesses out of me. I do not find them to be weaknesses. They are a foundation of my strength. The ability to believe in the good of the people around me lets me see the world with loving eyes. It helps me be brave and bold, to not hide cowering in fear of what might happen. It lets me meet strangers and think of them as potential friends, instead of a threat or an enemy. This give me power over fear. It gives me a loyal heart that is strong and true, even in the face of adversity.
Yes, I have been led down the garden path and had the shit stomped out of me, metaphorically speaking. But all it has done is made me stronger.
I am, and always will be an Idealist. Despite, or maybe because of, the people in the world who are not who I wish they could be. I chose to see the best in people. And if they let me down, I chose to walk away. The world is full of good, we just have to see it. And if all else fails, I always have my dogs.