Robert J. Waldinger Quotes

  1. Pictures of entire lives, of the choices that people make and how those choices work out for them, those pictures are almost impossible to get.
  2. Sibling relationships have been underemphasised in learning about child development.
  3. Our kind of research might be one of the first projects to go. Our work is not urgent; it’s not the cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s. But we have a way of understanding human life that you can’t get anywhere else, and it lays the foundation for important, actionable things.
  4. As we grow up, we’re constantly defining ourselves. In my case: Caucasian, male, born in Iowa, live in Boston, Zen Buddhist, good at learning languages. With countless labels, I build up this creation I call my self.
  5. In medicine, we spend billions each year on doing and a fraction of that amount on listening and reflecting.
  6. Putting labels on entire groups of people makes things much simpler. If all New Yorkers are pushy, or all politicians are dishonest, we don’t have to do the hard work of figuring out who’s who.
  7. Once you’ve taken account of the quality of sibling relationships, knowing about the quality of parenting doesn’t add much information.
  8. Insurance companies, government agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry all push for mental health care that is brief, intermittent, and focused on quick fixes, despite the fact that many people struggle with emotional difficulties that can only be addressed over time using special psychodynamic skills.
  9. The good life is built with good relationships.
  10. When it comes to health care policy, we keep failing to take seriously the value of human relationships. The cost of this oversight is staggering.
  11. It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.
  12. Being human means there’s a wall-builder in each of us. Our minds naturally divide the world into me and not-me, us and them. For thousands of years, our sages have taught that we’re all one, yet we still divide wherever we look.
  13. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected.
  14. Marriage is actually one of the things that keeps you happy.
  15. Most of what we know about human life we know from asking people to remember the past, and as we know, hindsight is anything but 20/20. We forget vast amounts of what happens to us in life, and sometimes memory is downright creative.
  16. It’s the quality of your relationships that matters.
  17. It seems older people maximize their well-being more – they start to realize that life is short.
  18. Poor parenting may be reflected in poor sibling relationships.
  19. The fact remains that many of the most creative and innovative hypotheses that are eventually verified by empirical research are born in the consulting room out of practitioners’ work with individual patients.
  20. Far from the stereotype that psychodynamic treatments are appropriate only for the ‘worried well,’ a growing body of evidence points to their efficacy in dealing with the most pressing mental health problems of our time.
  21. A troubled marriage can be as hazardous to physical health as cigarette smoking.
  22. More than half of the complaints that patients bring to their doctors are emotional in origin. Most often, they include troubled or absent connections with loved ones.
  23. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.
  24. An essential question regarding treatment is whether psychodynamic therapy is effective for specific disorders.
  25. We make artificial divisions everywhere: Democrats and Republicans, black and white, millennials and baby boomers. Even those of us who are against building walls find ourselves pointing accusing fingers at those wall-builders.

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