I came across an article recently that caused my head to turn. It’s been running in the back of my mind to share with you, and now it’s time.
It’s time because it’s so much of what I offer people in working with me, and may speak volumes to each of you who are running on the treadmill of life, not taking a breath to slow down and ask “What really matters to me?”
It’s an article titled, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”
The article is written by Bonnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse who recorded their dying epiphanies in their last 12 weeks of life. And she noticed some themes. Over and over and over again.
Sounds scary I know, but all of us can learn a whole bunch from listening to people at the end of their life. To the wisdom they have gained and how it can make our life more vibrant and fulfilling.
So what I’m going do is mostly quote it verbatim because it’s so well said, and no need to re-invent the wheel. I will add a few questions to help engage you in this conversation and get clarity of what matters to you in your life.
So here we go.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
Are you being 100% true to yourself? If not, why? And when will you be?
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
How much of your time is spent doing a job you don’t enjoy? When will you change this?
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
Are you 100% authentic with your feelings? If not, why not? When will you begin to be?
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
How can you be more connecting with your friends? What action can you take today?
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being more happy than you can imagine, what number are you? Do you want to change this to be closer to a 10? It is possible!
Enough said. Take a breath. Reflect. Take action. Live with no regrets.
Categories: Heart Centered Living