What you expect tends to happen.

Therefore, we should always expect the absolute best from others, and ourselves… right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you want to have a different approach.

The issue arises when our own expectations — good or bad — turn into some form of control.

Rigid expectations vs the flow of life

We all fall into the trap of control at times. We have some type of fear, something we want to avoid, and the controlling part of the mind takes over.

Specifically when it comes to rigid expectations, we unconsciously try to control our reality, to impose our own view of “how things should be” on how things are.

Then reality, like a mirror, responds and reflects our attitude by giving us what we don’t want, by proving that control is mostly an illusion.

Because the truth is that unless in very specific circumstances, you have very little control on anything that’s external. Examples:

  • People’s behavior and what they think of you
  • Events or circumstances that can’t be foreseen
  • Change (things and people being “impermanent”)
  • The world being “fair” or “unfair”
  • Luck and chance

How unrealistic expectations ruin everything

We live in the age of unrealistic expectations — from toxic beauty standards, to social media, to the idea that any type of success must happen overnight.

Being exposed to all these things rarely “motivates” you. In fact, it usually leads to either demotivation or worse, loss of time and energy chasing the wrong things.

Combine the unrealistic standards we are bombarded with every day with our own tendency to control (e.g. perfectionism, rigidity) and you have the perfect recipe for unhappiness.

This is the power of lowering your expectations — it forces you to go back to a state where you no longer expect this or that and therefore you have a lot more freedom.

More freedom means more happiness. More happiness means more action toward the things that really matter.

If your unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, or tendency to control things haven’t worked so far, why not lower your expectations?

And trust life, and celebrate each victory rather than meticulously noting down all the things that don’t match your ideals?

Best “lower your expectations” quotes

The way of love is the way of no-expectation. Love exists only when there is a total acceptance and no desire to change anything.


Kindness is not a business. True kindness expects nothing in return, and should never act with conditions.

Roy T. Bennett

Life is an experiment in which you may fail or succeed. Explore more, expect less.

Santosh Kalwar

You don’t need to stress and strain to make things happen. If you try to control outcomes, you will miss what the universe sends your way.

James Van Praagh

Let go of perfectionism. Surrender to the flawed human messiness and do the things that your heart and soul desperately want to do.

Katherine Mackenzie Smith

It’s your own expectations that hurt you. Not the world you live in. Whatever happens in the world is real. What you think should happen is unreal.

Jacque Fresco

There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.

Jodi Picoult

More “lower your expectations” quotes

Remove expectations from people and you’ll remove their power to hurt your feelings.

Vex King

Holidays in general breed unrealistic expectations. The minute you start wondering — is it going to be wonderful enough? — it never will be.

Pepper Schwartz

Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. Don’t over-analyze your relationships. Stop playing games. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness.

Leo Buscaglia

You know what’s the one wrong thing we all do when we fall in love? We expect. And it just ruins everything.


You have power over your own mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Marcus Aurelius

Be okay with getting it wrong. Just keep getting it wrong until you get it right.

Eric Johnson

Girls see enough of this body that we can’t imitate, that we’ll never be able to obtain, these unrealistic expectations. It’s better to look strong and healthy.

Jennifer Lawrence

Short “lower your expectations” quotes

See the world as it is, not as you wish it would be.

Emily Jenkins

Once you give up expectations, you have learned to live.


It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations.

Danny Boyle

If you expect nothing from somebody, you are never disappointed.

Sylvia Plath

Don’t compare your real life to someone else’s controlled online content.

Laura Distin

Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dalí

The secret to happiness is having low expectations.

Warren Buffett

Keep low expectations and life gets pretty good.

Anthony Hopkins

Expect nothing; appreciate everything.