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Quotations: Expectations & Suffering

expect the worst


How to Understand Expectations in Relation to Suffering

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“Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.” —Virginia Satir

“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” —Alan Saporta


Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“All earthly delights are sweeter in expectation than in enjoyment; but all spiritual pleasures more in fruition than in expectation.” —Francois Fenelon

“As long as I focus on what I feel and don’t worry about where I’m going, it works out. Having no expectations but being open to everything is what makes wonderful things happen. If I don’t worry, there’s no obstruction and life flows easily. It sounds impractical, but ‘Expect nothing; be open to everything’ is really all it is.” —Marketa Irglova

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” —Marilu Henner

“Buddhism teaches that desire is the cause of suffering. However, desire is not the cause; expectations are the cause of suffering.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Building up expectations, creating unrealistic time frames, feeling like our end goal is the end all, be all can all lead to frustration or anxiety. We end up feeling as though we have to power through what we want rather than enjoy the process and just let the result come as it may.” —Gretchen Bleiler

“But I think it is always difficult to have high expectations of yourself or anyone else.” —Uma Thurman

“By not having to live up to people’s expectations, I was somehow free.” —Kris Kristofferson

“Death, after all, is the common expectation from birth. Neither heroes nor cowards can escape it.” —Ellis Peters

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” —Willian Shakespeare

“I always love to be careful with my expectations so that life has pleasant surprises for me.” —Sebastian Thrun

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” —Bruce Lee

“I am happy with what comes, I don’t have expectations of any stature.” —Leon Russell

“I can’t think of anything worse, really, than to try to live up to someone else’s expectations of what you should be. You don’t make art by consensus.” —Tracy Chapman

“I had no dreams of such economic success. You should have fun and not be so weighed down by expectations.” —Sergey Brin

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” —Michelle Obama

“It’s a good place when all you have is hope and no expectations.” —Danny Boyle

“I think there comes a time when you start dropping expectations. Because the world doesn’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe the world anything in return. Things, feelings, are a very simple transaction. If you get it, be grateful. If you don’t, be alright with it.” —Fawad Khan

“Life is largely a matter of expectation.” —Horace

“Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.” —Charlotte Bronte

“Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.” —Joyce Meyer

“More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it’s bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions.” —Simon Sinek

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” —Michael J. Fox

“My life motto is basically to lower your standards and expectations so you’re never disappointed and never put any trust in anything, and I try to prepare for the day that I wake up, and everyone I know is like, ‘LOL JK best long-running practical joke ever,’ so I’ve never really let myself freak out or get too excited about anything.” —Tavi Gevinson

“Patients who trust their doctors and have a psychological expectation of getting better could trigger a reaction in their body.” —Irving Kirsch

“Peace begins when expectation ends.” —Sri Chinmoy

“People win Oscars, and then it seems like they fall off the planet. And that’s partly because a huge expectation walks in the room and sits right down on top of your head. The moment I won the Oscar, I felt the teardown the very next day.” —Halle Berry

“REBT teaches that demands are the cause of suffering. However, demands are not the cause; expectations are the cause of suffering.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” —Steve Jobs

“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.” —Paul Rand

“Social media, unfortunately, just makes it a lot easier to be jealous. It sets up false expectations of reality, so it’s really easy to look at someone else’s life online and assume that they have everything going great for them and that their life is perfect.” —Franchesca Ramsey

“The American dream has now morphed into an expectation. And if it isn’t provided, or if it doesn’t happen, then people feel cheated.” —Rush Limbaugh

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” —Confucius

“The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea.” —Agnes Martin

“The origin of sorrow is this: to wish for something that does not come to pass.” —Epictetus, Discourses

“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.” —Joan Didion

“To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.” —Ramakrishna

“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.” —Suze Orman

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” —Voltaire

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” —Stephen Hawking

“When we are fully conscious and aware, we actually know when we are about to overreact. When we are mindful, we have the mental space and are aware of when our moods change. When we are mindful, we are aware of when our mental models are being challenged and when expectation does not meet with reality, which can trigger an emotional response.” —Elizabeth Thornton

“You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.” —Stevie Wonder

“You can’t live someone else’s expectations in life. It’s a recipe for disaster.” —Bear Grylls


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