Last week in Manage Your Expectations Part 1 I wrote about how we develop our expectations and how to counteract some of the unrealistic expectations we acquire throughout our lives.
This week in Part 2 I want to talk about realistic expectations. Some of these may sound negative, some positive, and some neutral, but such is life. You can expect a mixed bag. Don’t fall into the trap of expecting everything will be wonderful or everything will be awful. In singleness, as in all of life, there will be some of each.
So, here are a few things you can expect.
You May Be Single Longer Than You Would Hope
That’s just reality. The truth is that you could end up being single longer than you would hope. It seems easy for some people. It seems like everything just falls into place and they meet someone and get married with minimal effort. That’s not how it worked for me and it may not be how it works for you.
You may see other people, people younger than you or single for less time than you, get married before you. You may see a few cases like that before it’s your turn. Expect it. Be prepared for it. Don’t freak out about it. If you really want to get married and you do singleness well, your turn will more than likely come around.
Guys, You Probably Won’t Marry a Supermodel
Gentlemen, I hate to burst your bubble and ruin your fantasy, but supermodels are in pretty short supply. In fact, demand outpaces supply by such a staggering amount, that you have approximately the same odds of winning the lottery and being struck by lightning as marrying a supermodel.
And besides, they tend to end up with professional athletes, actors, or other such men with chiseled good looks who make more in a week than you make all year.
So, when it comes to physical attractiveness, I’m not saying you should completely abandon your standards, just make sure your expectations are realistic.
Also, if by some miracle it works out that you do marry a supermodel, don’t expect them to perpetually look twenty-three years old. Even supermodels age. You can expect that.
Ladies, You Probably Won’t Marry Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt
Yes, they and other hunky actors do come on the market from time to time, but they tend to marry the supermodels the guys you know were expecting to marry. And, besides that, if their last two marriages ‘didn’t work out’, why should you expect it to work out with you?
Like I told the guys, that doesn’t mean that you abandon your standards completely, just make sure your expectations are realistic.
As a single person, even if you do all the right things, develop friendships, get out and talk to people, and the like, there will still be times when you get lonely. It is easier to deal with if you expect it. You have been warned. Don’t let it catch you by surprise one night. Have measures in place to deal with it.
And, conversely, don’t expect single life to be lonely all the time. To a large extent, it will be what you make of it.
No matter how emotionally healthy and spiritually strong you become, you can expect to run into disappointments, setbacks, and heartbreaks. They are a part of life whether you are single are married. So, as I said about loneliness, don’t let them catch you off guard. Expect them to come up from time to time and be ready to deal with them.
Moments of Weakness and Self-Doubt
Moments of weakness and self-doubt are just part of the human condition. You can expect them whether you are single or married. As I said with loneliness, disappointments, setbacks, and heartbreaks, expect these from time to time and be ready to deal with them.
But, you can also expect to bounce back stronger if you fight your way through them and learn something along the way.
Moments of Clarity and Purpose
Don’t expect only bad things. Amongst all the things you can realistically expect, expect to have moments of extreme clarity and purpose. There will be times when it all seems to make sense and all seems right with the world. But, you will need to do some work to get there and take some time to stop and reflect. The work involves building yourself up with lots of good input.
Joy in the Journey
You should not have to wait until some future time to enjoy life. You should expect to find joy now, in the midst of the journey. As you do one right thing and then the next right thing expect joy to find you.
You can expect God, in His love and wisdom, to send the right help at the right moment. It never seems to come when we expect it or in the form we expect it, but it does seem to show up in the right form at the right time. Whether it is a financial blessing, a visit from a friend, a good word, a helping hand, or the bit of knowledge we need, expect it to show up when it is most needed.
Contentment and Fulfillment
Yes, you can expect, while you are single, to be content and fulfilled. Contentment and fulfillment are not the byproducts of marriage, they are prerequisites. Here again, it takes a little work. You work at learning to be content and finding things to do that are fulfilling. If you do the work, you can expect contentment and fulfillment.
Change and Growth
The only thing constant is change. You can absolutely expect things to change. Over time, you can expect you to change. It is as inevitable as the sun rising and setting. If you do the right things and feed your brain good things, you can expect to change for the better. You can expect to grow.
Always expect the unexpected. Things could always turn out better or worse than you think. Either way, don’t let it catch you off guard. You are not guaranteed the best, but don’t always expect the worst either.
Managing Your Expectations
Here are a few things you can do that will help you manage your expectations.
Strive Toward Realistic Expectations
Most people’s expectations tend toward the unrealistic. Either they end up too optimistic or too pessimistic. Strive to have expectations that are realistic. Best-case and worst-case scenarios are outliers. Reality is usually somewhere in the muddled middle. Prepare for the worst case, be able to accept the best case, but expect things to end up somewhere in between.
Stay away from exaggerating. Unless you have literally failed at every single thing you have ever attempted in your entire life or things have literally never in your entire life ever worked out well for you, stop using the words never and always. Using those words indicates a tendency towards exaggeration and perhaps fatalism.
Instead, try to see things accurately and realistically. Then start speaking about things in more accurate, realistic terms. That sets the stage to set your expectations more realistically.
Don’t base your expectations on assumptions. You probably don’t know everything. Don’t assume you know people’s motives or all the facts. More realistic expectations begin with facts, not with exaggerations or assumptions.
So, all that being said…
- How would you evaluate your expectations?
- Are they overly optimistic? Overly pessimistic? Realistic?
- How are your expectations affecting your life as a single person?
- How can you adjust them to be more truth based and more in line with reality?
Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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