People often think being idealistic is impractical, that it’s either one of the two; idealism or realism. Very few things are that black and white, if any. Why can’t we be idealistic and realistic? Dream big, keep our hopes high and work towards making them a material reality?
Often the biggest hard core ‘realists’ were once in fact idealists. They did hope. They did dream. But when they were laughed at and mocked for their ideas they gave up. They didn’t try, they didn’t work. They accepted people’s words as the truth and joined their ranks; battering and tearing down those who still had the audacity to hope and dream. These new recruits can be an idealist’s biggest obstacle. These people never got the chance to realize their own dreams and seeing yours makes them feel like an even bigger failure. They see you, with ideas for a brighter future and envy your carefreeness. They see their past selves in you and wish they could still have hope in the word too. They point out flaws and setbacks, laugh at your naivety and try to make you be realistic so that they can validate themselves. If you fall off the bandwagon it affirms their belief that yes, there is no hope and they were right to give up.
Hopes and dreams are one thing. Basic human decency is another. We are the product of our experiences. You don’t get a say in the hand destiny deals you, but you do get a say in how you react to it. Our choices are always our own, as are the consequences. Some people who get hurt repeatedly become frustrated. They see the world going about as though nothing had happened, no one caring about their pain and wonder if maybe they’re too emotional. They vow to not let anything get to them and grow cold and insensitive to the pain of other people too.
People who once trusted other people too easily and were betrayed begin abusing other people’s trust reasoning that that is simply how the world works. People who try to live honestly see their corrupt coworkers earning more, getting promoted and getting away with it and wonder why they’re even trying to be honest. Their colleagues come to the office late, waste time and no one says anything to them. They live comfortable lives while you’re putting yourself through hell and for what? No one’s watching, no one says anything, everyone does it. With this reasoning the honest forego their ideals and resign themselves to the status quo.
Now, change frames. Before, it was you who was getting mocked for your ideas, now you’re doing it to the next person. If the person gives up it was because of you. You were the representative of the world to that person. When someone is hurt and you see them going through the same thing you went through once, you have a choice, you can be cold and insensitive, like people were to you, or you can empathize and make sure the person knows they’re not alone. Again, you represent the world.
You betray someone’s trust; you teach them that the world doesn’t hold trust sacred, just like someone once did to you and someone may have done to them. Each person in the chain, changing the world forever through their actions. Same goes for corruption. Each person in that office thought they were making a decision for themselves, that it was normal. The fact is, they normalized it by accepting it; paving the way for all those to come.
There was a nice analogy of the world in a book I read. It went something like: ‘The world is like a cauldron and your actions, thoughts and ideas are the ingredients you get to add.’ –Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak.
Your actions and choices are your contributions to the lives of all the people you ever meet, even for a second. People make up the world. The world is made up of people. You are people to people just as they are people to you. Know this. A friendly wave, a smile, genuine concern, every minute small thing you do is how the world looks through someone else’s eyes. Know your power.
Don’t lose complete faith in the world, it’s the equivalent of losing faith in yourself. Use your struggles as fuel for hope; if you can stay a dreamer, emotional, trusting and honest, so can other people.
Have faith in yourself.
You are the world.
I used to see posts with people appreciating Teuchi, the owner of Ichiraku Ramen and I would think it’s people being overly dramatic over such a side character in Naruto. Only now with the new theme ending in season 20 am I comprehending how completely amazing he was!
He was probably one of the first people who was actually compassionate towards Naruto. Naruto, whose childhood is heart breaking. An orphan who never knew his parents and was shunned by the village people because of the Nine Tails power inside him. The people of Konaha had lost many loved ones to the Nine Tails rampage and had associated the pain, fear and anger to Naruto, the child who merely carried the Nine Tails.
People would give him a wide berth on the streets, teach their kids not to talk or play or with him, chase him out of their shops and as if that wasn’t enough they would glare at him, sneer, call him a monster. The kid faced all this since he was born. Imagine it, a three year old, a four year old, running into a park to play with the other kids only to have their parents whisk them away. To see families walking around, mothers and fathers treating their kids, worrying about them, carrying them on their shoulders or swinging from their arms and all he could do was look on and wonder why he didn’t have parents. Naruto grew up confused and lonely, yearning for people to see him, acknowledge him, to be his friends.
When you watch the closing clip and see young three year old Naruto peeking into Ichiraku from behind the wall and jumping up in fear when Teuchi spots him, it breaks your heart. To see such fear in his eyes because he’s so used to being shunned haunts you. No child should be made to feel like that. An outsider to the world with no claims to love and compassion from people.
Teuchi invited Naruto inside and gave him a bowl of hot ramen. It became the first place Naruto could go to and feel welcome. A place where people smiled at him, greeted him when he came in. Teuchi would often treat Naruto to free meals on special occasions, share his sorrows and success, ask him about his day.
People like this are the unsung heroes in this world. Their kindness is truly something to aspire to. He gave Naruto the love every kid deserves when no one else could care less. I cannot begin to explain how much I admire him. You can see how surprised Naruto is that the ramen is actually for him and then the smile that lights up his face is priceless. Children should always be smiling like that.
We need to be people like Teuchi from Ichiraku Ramen. Who see and help the people who need it most despite the prejudice around us. They’re the true warriors, the heroes that don’t get enough appreciation for what they do. It doesn’t take much. A kind word, a listening ear and some sincerity. Sincerity and love are all that people want, and orphans deserve it the most. You have no idea how it is to live without parents. To think you’re all alone in the world. Love isn’t confined for family, it’s for every one.
Understand people’s situation and don’t just feel bad for them. Share their pain. Do something, however small. It makes a huge difference.
A setback is nothing
With the wind on your face
With the smell of rain
With your eyes to the sky
With your heart alight
Tears brushed away
With a hysterical laugh
With a unbodied mind
Life less daunting
With thoughts of some things
With thoughts of everything
With a soul full of love
With a soul ready
Bring it on