Growth & Change: Managing Expectations

11:14 AM

Photo by: CreateHer Stock

I've been having a lot of conversations about expectations in my relationships recently. It seems like many of us are in a place where we are reflecting on where we are at this moment in our lives. For some of us, that has been satisfying. For others, it has been challenging. For example, one of my friends feels like her life isn't where she thought it would be right now, but in a good way. In a short time, she has gotten her dream job, a new romantic relationship, a new home, and has created a killer financial plan. When she looks back over the last few years, she says that this is what she prayed for, but didn't expect it to happen this quickly. Another friend has been in a job that she doesn't enjoy for going on a few years. She thought that after the first year, she would find other work. She hasn't been able to secure that new job yet. When she and I talked about expectations, she admitted that she is a little disappointed that her life isn't where she expected it to be right now.

My husband and I have been talking about expectations a lot, too. We are coming up on our first wedding anniversary. While we are SO excited to celebrate, we are also reflecting on this last year. Has it gone as expected? What goals did we accomplish? What setbacks did we see?

I was watching Jada Pinkett Smith's new Facebook series "Red Table Talk" and she said something profound:

"Expectations will steal the gifts that are sitting right there in front of you...Because you're so concerned about creating this picture that you have in your mind that you can't even see the blessing that is standing right there in front of you."
-Jada Pinkett Smith

It hit me so deep. Especially because recently, one of my dear friends said something similar. I was going through a difficult time and I was complaining about how frustrated I felt. I was looking to the left and to the right for a sign or for confirmation. And she said , "Don't forget to see the beauty in this moment." At first I was like HUH? She then gave insight into her own similar story and how when she looks back at that time in her life now, she remembers that she was happy despite the stress. That she had more time to do things she loved. That she filled that time with people and things that matter to her. And that helped her build a foundation for where she is now.

Because of our conversation, I sat back and took inventory of my life. Yes, I was struggling and it was hard. BUT, in that struggle, my husband I were getting closer. We spent more time snuggling and watching movies. And I had more mental space! I was meditating more. I was drinking more water. I was going to therapy. I was singing in the choir. I was doing things that genuinely brought me joy. She was right.

There is beauty in struggle. 

Since then, I have been working really hard to be present and manage my expectations. Sure, I have a dream, an ideal picture of things I want to be doing. But, while I'm working towards those things, I don't want to miss out on what's right in front of me. I am seeking the small miracles while working towards the bigger picture.

I encourage you to manage your expectations. Aim high! Dream! And while the dream is working itself to reality be present with the people and things that will feed your soul right now, in this moment.

One disclaimer: As I know some of my readers have experienced trauma, I just want to give this helpful tip. If the struggle you are experiencing involves abuse or harm, now is not the time to seek beauty. Now is the time to seek help and find your way out of that situation. After you are physically safe, I encourage you to consider therapy. Then, as you heal, I encourage you to look back to see the beauty that may have been present during this time: a friend who encouraged you or a neighbor who was kind to you. I believe in you.


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