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Being an Idealist or a Realist in 2021


An Idealist finding her place amid covid chaos. This is a post showcasing the difference between an idealist & a realist

If you are wondering, this is a post showcasing the difference between an idealist and a realist. You are right! Covid changed my perception of this world, and it made me see people and their perceptions differently.

A few days ago when someone in my family passed away, I don’t know why this question was stuck in my mind. Probably it was my defense mechanism or my mind trying to make sense of a chaotic situation. And as more time passed and the covid second wave situation unfolded, I started seeing people in the defined terms of an Idealist and a realist. Either I saw people cursing our leaders internally and accepting the situation; making their own arrangements for oxygen cylinder and medicine or people going ahead and rebuking the leaders in open and accepting the consequences for it while doing whatever they can to help the society.

  • Idealist (me)
  • Realist


Webster’s dictionary defines a realist as a person who understands what is real and possible in a particular situation or a person who accepts and deals with things as they really are. Most of the world comprises of a realist. They accept the situation as it is and are often left feeling helpless and frustrated with the system.

Or as a good friend of mine who is a realist explained to me that realists are a bit more pessimistic than Idealists. They are more critical, and also more accepting of the fact that things seldom go according to what they perceived previously. Of course this also means that they always see the glass a half empty, but it also let's them adapt to situations easier

There is nothing wrong with being a realist - a Realist thinker gets things done, as he is more accepting of the situation.

A realist act as a voice of reason for an Idealist.


Who is an Idealist?

I am not going to get into Plato’s view of an Idealist - the father of the world philosophy.

In my research, I came across many definitions for an idealist thinker like

“a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc.”


“a visionary”


an “impractical person.”

But the definition that I agree with or is stuck with me is “a person who represents things as they should be rather than as they are. This definition is more home than other definitions according to me, as it perfectly describes at least my headspace.

An idealist according to me is the right person to point out things that are wrong with the society like patriarchy, corruption, racism, environmental degradation, animal abuse, etc, and do not accept the situation as it is. Just cause the world says this is how things are. They refuse to mold themselves if the situation demands.

They somehow bring change to society.

Some of the famous idealists on top of my head are Princess Diana, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mohandas Gandhi.

Princess Diana refused to accept the chains that royalty bought and did what she knew her heart to be right. She stood amid land mines even after knowing the danger, just to bring in the awareness.

Eleanor Roosevelt - the longest-serving First Lady fought for Human rights with no one’s support. After the 2nd World War ended, Roosevelt saw the need to support refugees and affirm the right to education, shelter, and medical care. And she did!

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, fought against civil rights in Africa and bought freedom to India - and all with non-violence.

So, if you are an Idealist feeling alone. Don't!

You are not alone!

An Idealist is a perfect problem solver. As an idealist thinker, they refuse to accept the situation for what it is, but it can be a burden too.Feeling agitated on seeing dreams, the world being dashed again and again by authority or society, but this is what drives them to bring in the much-needed change.

The world cannot just function with either idealist or a realist. While one directs the path of walking, the other actually walks the path. As I said earlier, realist acts as a voice of reason for idealist, but they can also become a factor that pulls them back.

Because of the second wave and our healthcare system not being prepared for the situation lot of people lost their life. My own aunt died because of the unavailability of oxygen cylinders.

Many people accepted the situation for what it is, and others like me started working on ways to bring in change and help others.

A revolution happens only when the whole society refuses the situation for what it is and becomes an idealist. It is time to say enough is enough!

Pinarayi Vijayan, the CM of Kerala is the perfect combination of an Idealist and a Realist, let’s call this group of people Reidlist. He understood the situation for what it is and initiated the work that would help society.

It’s time to be a Reidlist and bring the change the society needs to survive!

© 2021 Aarti Nair

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