Are you happy with the life you have lived? “The Top Five Regrets of The Dying” is a book written by Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse. She counseled the dying during their last days and questioned them on their regrets in life. According to Ware, people gained clarity of vision during their last days. They had things they wished they had done differently and she documented them.
1. I wish I had courageously lived a life true to myself and not one that others expected of me.
This was a common regret for all the dying. They had time to look back on their lives and see how many of their dreams went unfulfilled because they had lived according to the expectations of others. This had led to the lack of fulfillment of most of their dreams. Being healthy presents a freedom very few realize exist until it’s taken away. We should, therefore, try to honor some of our dreams in our lifetime before the loss of good health takes that opportunity away.
2. I wish I had not spent all my life working
This was most common with the male patients who had missed time with their children and companions. Few of the women who had been breadwinners also had this regret. They wished they had not spent most of their time at work. Making conscious choices and having a simple lifestyle opens up new opportunities, happiness, and space for the most important things in life.
3. If only I had gained the courage to express how I felt.
In order to maintain peace with others, most people suppress their feelings. This leads to a mediocre life that denies them an opportunity to become the people they were truly destined to be. Bitterness and resentment led to some of the illnesses developed. It’s impossible to control how other people react especially when we start talking honestly but if we do, the result is either a relationship elevated to a whole new level or the release of an unhealthy relationship from your life.
4. I wish I had remained in touch with my friends
The dying realized the full benefits of having old friends during their dying weeks. Getting caught up in their lives had led to the loss of golden friendships over the years. When dying, everyone misses their friends and they regretted not giving friendship the time and effort deserved. Our busy lifestyles sometimes lead to the loss of our friendship but when faced with imminent death, reality hits us. We should not let financial status or money dictate our lives; love and relationships should.
5. If only I had allowed happiness into my life
Happiness is a choice and most people realize this when it’s too late. Old patterns and habits held them back and they were afraid to get out of the familiar comfort zone which hurt both their emotional and physical lives. Fear of change made them pretend to be content while deep within they longed to laugh and be silly again. What others think of you loses significance when on your deathbed. Learn to let go and smile again before you die.
This list shows how important small things in life we take for granted are important. They can either pull you away from what matters most or bring you closer. Regret only brings misery to your life, therefore we should use our past as reference points to making adjustments in our lives leading to a better life. By learning to be at peace with our past we can make better choices in life. The wise thing to do is choose wisely, consciously, honestly and choose to be happy.