1. a conception of something in its perfection.
2.a standard of perfection or excellence.
3.a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation:
4.an ultimate object or aim of endeavor, especially one of high or noble character:
5.something that exists only in the imagination:
6.Mathematics. a subring of a ring, any element of which when multiplied by any element of the ring results in an element of the subring.
7.conceived as constituting a standard of perfection or excellence:
8.regarded as perfect of its kind:
9.existing only in the imagination; not real or actual:
10.advantageous; excellent; best:
11.based upon an ideal or ideals:
pertaining to a possible state of affairs considered as highly desirable.
pertaining to or of the nature of idealism
Wow! The word “ideal” has 12 different definitions on dictionary.com. As you read through them, you may have noticed that the word itself has a few slightly different tones. For example, definition #1 is “a standard of perfection”. That definition is not very comforting to me, it’s very rigid and absolute and assumes that there is perfection available. Next!
Number 9, “existing only in the imagination” has a much softer, comforting tone. This let’s me believe that ideality is like a fairy tale, and I shouldn’t worry too much about it. Hmmm… That’s not quite right for me either.
My favorite part of this definition is the last one, specifically #12a, “Pertaining to a possible state of affairs considered highly desireable” I like this definition because of the POSITIVITY!
YES, there IS a highly desirable state of affairs that is personal to ME and my life. That is my ideal. I believe that each person has potential to move toward that possible highly desirable state. I believe that I have made great strides in working toward mine, and that there is constantly more that can be done to get there.
Do I believe that any person can reach an absolute ideal? No. By definition is isn’t really possible to BE ideal. But we can use the goal of the ideal to help us push forward. We can visualize what our ideal self will look like, and make goals to get there!
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