Idealists, are you pissed off all the time?

Do you get pissed off at the state of the world?

What are you doing with that energy?

Do you rant to the first person who crosses your path? Do you go down a k-hole of clicks to try to see just how pissed off you can get? Or do you dismiss it as "just another f'd up day" as you bitterly laugh your feelings away?

Maybe you tell yourself to "stop being so sensitive" or "so naive" then take a deep breath and hope that by the time you open your eyes again, you care a little bit less.

Guess what? Every time you do that, you die a little bit inside.

And I mean that literally. You become less and less alive over time. You become drained by your angst. You get listless and lethargic. Apathetic and avoidant. You start dreaming of escape. Pretty soon, you're not even here anymore. You're off in your fantasies 24-7. You've passed away.

But there is another way to be with your idealism.

Instead of waiting until you see something terrible in the news to let yourself feel something about the state of the world, look around you.

There are people around you everywhere doing amazing things. All you have to do is see them.

Because cynicism is a form of ignorance, too.

Did you see that BART passenger just hand a dollar to the musician on the street? Did you catch that mom melt a little as she holds her baby on the bus? Did you see how that barista shared a laugh with a customer and how their eyes are shining now? And do you see how you wake up every day, able to breathe, see, smell, and touch this world around you as the miracle of life and consciousness courses through your very being?

My idealist friend, there are terrible, horrific, amazing, beautiful, boring, silly things happening everywhere, all the time.

And to survive in today's hyperbolic world we need to pace ourselves. We need to reframe our idealism as a pathway to joy.  As the rose-colored glasses we choose to put on to bring reality into balance.

Because you aren't helping anyone if you're pissed off all the time.

The world needs you to NOT be a living dead person. To NOT resist your tender heart. Know what gives you life and fill yourself up with it sometimes. Because the world needs you to thrive and feel and be your full, complex self.

And so do you.

Eddie Shieh, PCC, MFA